[Callers] Gender free dances
lewisland at windstream.net
Sun Dec 5 11:08:08 PST 2010
I feel compelled to comment on this very fascinating discussion about
calling gender-free dances, especially now that the subject of
eliminating "dominant/submissive" moves like the courtesy turn has come
up. I have a gay son, and one of my students once described me as the
most politically-correct person he'd ever met, but come on, people. One
of the things that adds zest to contra dancing, and in my opinion to
life in general, is the interplay of men's and women's roles... as one
of the earlier correspondents put it, "when do they match and support
each other? When do they work in opposition, it's what makes dances so
unexpectedly yummy. We have to acknowledge and embrace those issues,
because if we get too neutral we'll lose the story lines that make some
of our best dances come to life". I couldn't agree more. I am not sure
what new language could be developed to replace "ladies" and "gents".
Some of the suggestions seem valid. But when the discussion turns to
eliminating some of the most pleasurable aspects of contra dancing
simply to make the event more gender-neutral, I cannot help but think
we're becoming absurdly politically correct. -Lewis Land
As one who's life has been a little gender-role-freeish, I feel politically
>entitled to come out and say I DON't like the band/bare thing, just
>the verbiage is less than euphonious to my ears. That said, I don't
>better ideas .... yet. But I'm thinking, I'm thinking.
>In many dances the roles of the "gent" and "lady" are NOT the same --
>a little more active, one is more reactive.
>In any given pair of people, one PERson is often more active than the
>It's the interplay of these two things (when do they match, support each
>other? When do they work in opposition?) that make dances so unexpectedly
>There must be a way to acknowledge and embrace this -- if we get too
>we'll lose the story lines that make some of our best dances come to
On 12/4/2010 10:08 PM, Jim McKinney wrote:
> There's my inexperience showing. Beckett formation never even crossed
> my mind.
> Something I have been thinking about in regard to this gender free
> discussion is ladies chain with a courtesy turn. Having
> Evens/Ns/Bares chain removes gender from the language but the act of
> courtesy turn still seems very dominant/submissive to me. My wife and
> I tried walking through a couple options: a skater's/promenade
> hand-hold in front or a no hand-hold, kind of gypsy to maintain the
> interaction and still get turned around the right way. The thing we
> decided we liked best was evens chain across to an allemande left.
> That seemed to keep the roles more neutral no matter which part was
> danced by a man or woman and still get everyone into the right places.
> I love ladies chain with a courtesy turn and as a dancer would hate to
> give that up but as a caller I think I need to be prepared for the
> occasion when neutral is better.
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