[Callers] Questioning a sacred cow of contra dancing

Luke Donforth luke.donev at gmail.com
Tue Dec 11 09:15:02 PST 2012

It seems that one of the fundamental basics of contra dancing is that at
the end of a swing, the lady (or person dancing the traditional lady's
role) ends on the right.

I've been thinking about calling in situations with a high percentage of
new dancers, especially where gender ratios are off or deliberately being

I'm wondering about dances that still have the form of a longways contra
but where it doesn't matter who ends the swing where.

For instance:
Long Lines Yearn to the Left
With Neighbor across from you, DSD 1x
Circle L
Circle R
Star L
Star R
Partner DSD on side
Partner swing (or two hand turn), end facing across

If you and your partner switch who is on the right at the end of the swing,
it doesn't matter. You won't have to do any different moves, or
accidentally lose your partner.

It seems like if you want to avoid gendered rolls, you lose access to a
bunch of moves (chains and Neighbor swings coming to mind). The moves above
are valid, as are petronellas, allemandes, and promenades (R&L and heys
might technically work, but they're not ones I would shoot for in the
hypothetical situations I'm envisioning).

Does anyone out there have a collection of dances like this that they like?

Just a few months ago there was a discussion of some circle mixers for new
dancers (
which I found really useful; but I'd like to flesh out options for that
level of crowd that aren't mixers and are swing forgiving.


Luke Donforth
Luke.Donforth at gmail.com <Luke.Donev at gmail.com>

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