[Callers] "improper"

Read Weaver rweaver at igc.org
Sun Oct 9 12:13:19 PDT 2011

A question about terminology (maybe two).

Does the term "improper" mean a formation, or a position? In other  
words, does that term mean a line of dancers that alternates gent/ 
lady/gent/lady down the right line and lady/gent/lady/gent down the  
left line, or does it mean gent in the right line, lady in the left  
line (all left/right designations based on facing the top of the set)?

What makes it two questions is whether there's a difference in how  
you, as a caller, think about it, and how you think your dancers  
think about it.

What I really want to know is whether there's regional variation, and  
whether it's different in English country dance and contra. And maybe  
whether it's changed over time.

Here in Boston, I'd say dancers think of it as a formation, and there  
seems to be variation in how callers think of it (e.g., some callers  
will say "end improper" to mean gent/right, lady/left whatever  
position you're in—it comes up more often in English country dance  
than contra, but sometimes in contra too).

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