[Callers] What to do with a really bad new dancer?

Marie-Michèle Fournier via Callers callers at lists.sharedweight.net
Mon Mar 6 14:57:59 PST 2017

Thanks April and everyone else, this is giving me a lot of ideas to think
To answer your question, he does not seem to understand the "damage" he's
sometimes leaving in his wake, he might not realize the importance of being
on time to help the other dancers. If anyone has a gentle way to suggest to
let him understand that it would be appreciated. But once we do that, I
like the suggestion to include him in discussions about how to help and
would like to do it.

Unfortunately, this is a fairly small community with lots of new dancers
every time, so I don't think we have 12 experienced female dancers, let
alone 12 willing to dance with him and I'm not sure he's willing to dance
with other men. I might not be the only one who is struggling to have
empathy because I do not want to dance with him twice (he also smells
really bad and doesn't always control the strength with which he grips my
hand, although that might be getting better). Do you think it's better to
concentrate our efforts at the beginning of the evening so new dancers can
get used to contra, or at the end of the evening when dances are usually a
little more complicated?

Also, trying to articulate the problem a little better: he can swing
reasonably, and I think circles and stars are ok if the music is not too
fast. But I think that sometimes he does the wrong thing with confidence
which throws people off if he doesn't have a firm, experienced partner to
hold him back.

Thanks all, I already have lots of material to think about, but keep it

On Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 5:30 PM, April Blum via Callers <
callers at lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:

> You want to avoid letting him pair up with a new dancer, so you might
> indeed want to have a confidential chat with the regular ladies who are
> also good leads, and see if they are willing to take turns dancing with him.
> Some techniques for his partners: Walk the swing and stop early to face
> in. Turn 1.5 allemandes into half allemandes or pull bys. Turn free moves
> into "with hands" moves where possible. Ask your caller to suggest that
> everyone try a hey with hands if the timing is tight. Or turn a hey for
> four into a hey for three, with you and he acting as a unit. That works for
> half heys as well. Just cross the set together, dodging the other two
> dancers. If he's hopelessly behind each time through, consider skipping B2
> and set up for the next repetition. Maybe concentrate on getting him
> comfortable with the first part of the sequence.
> Is he aware of his "rock in the stream of the dance" status? The answer to
> this might affect how much adaptation he will accept.
> Do keep in mind that it takes a certain amount of courage to try something
> new and challenging, particularly as an individual rather than a couple.
> And one or more of the organizers should chat with him at the break. It
> would be useful to find out if he has a physical challenge. On Mar 6, 2017
> 3:13 PM, Marie-Michèle Fournier via Callers <callers at lists.sharedweight.
> net> wrote:
> >
> > Hi everyone,
> >    Lately a new dancer has started coming to our dance and he is bad
> enough that he will often make the set break if the dance is moderately
> challenging. He seems to have some kind of impairment and walks very
> stiffly which means he will often not be on time for a figure and also
> often does not remember what is coming next.
> >   We want to be inclusive but at the same time his presence negatively
> impacts other dancers in his set and while some of the experienced dancers
> will take one for the team and dance with him, it is an unpleasant
> experience to be his partner. Unfortunately, we always have many new
> dancers and having one couple not be where they should be can really throw
> them off in some dances so I feel like I have to push and pull him around
> to be on time, despite the fact that it's a little rude.
> >    A recent caller to our dance called him a "speed bump" which was
> quite accurate. I'm sure other dances have had experience with similar
> troubles, does anyone have advice on how to deal with this so that other
> dancers still have a good time yet we are nice to this problematic dancer?
> > Thank you
> > Marie
> > ContraMontreal
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