[Callers] Genderless calling

Amy Wimmer via Callers callers at lists.sharedweight.net
Mon Jul 31 09:59:25 PDT 2017

Hi All,

I recently had the opportunity to call a contra to a group of rank
beginners in a difficult situation: outdoors, on sloping concrete, without
amplification for either myself or the band, to people not expecting a
dance, with a band mostly unfamiliar with either contra or fiddle tunes,
who had no opportunity to practice or choose tunes. It was a staff party
with a barnyard theme. Granted, this particular good of people is
accustomed to being spontaneous and silly at times, most are in their 20's,
and it's a liberal, accepting group.

The organizers wanted to use the terms "cows" and "chickens" instead of any
other usual terms for dancers. When they arrived at the party each person
chose a name tag with either a cow or a chicken on it. They didn't know it,
but this determined which role they'd play in the dance. I arbitrarily
chose to "put the chicken on the right, because the chicken is always
right." (I keep chickens, and they ARE always right)

There was not time for much of a lesson, either. It'd have been much easier
if everyone had joined the dance at the beginning. All said, just about
everyone had a really great time, myself included. The band was hyped up to
try another dance evening later in the week, though that never

I never mentioned gender in any way. That part just seemed to not matter.
They were dancing with their friends. It didn't matter that they weren't
experts or even very good.

I was heartened and encouraged to try something like this again, perhaps
with more widely used dancer terms.

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