[Callers] Gender free dances

Lindsay Morris lindsay at tsmworks.com
Sun Dec 5 12:43:10 PST 2010

I can't find Ivan Illich's quote (help, anyone?) but he said something like:

It's very good for industry to have men and women be "equal". ie,
interchangeable cogs in the machine.  But this destroys the cultural delight
of differing roles and gender celebration.

Lindsay Morris
CEO, TSMworks
Tel. 1-859-539-9900
lindsay at tsmworks.com

On Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 2:08 PM, Lewis Land <lewisland at windstream.net> wrote:

> 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
> because
> >the verbiage is less than euphonious to my ears. That said, I don't have
> any
> >better ideas .... yet. But I'm thinking, I'm thinking.
> >
> >In many dances the roles of the "gent" and "lady" are NOT the same -- one
> is
> >a little  more active, one is more reactive.
> >In any given pair of people, one PERson is often more active than the
> other.
> >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
> >yummy.
> >There must be a way to acknowledge and embrace this -- if we get too
> neutral
> >we'll lose the story lines that make some of our best dances come to life.
> >
> 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.
>> Jim
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