[Callers] Difficult dancers - Decision to ask not to return

Don Veino via Callers callers at lists.sharedweight.net
Wed Mar 8 14:34:49 PST 2017

On Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 1:26 PM, Mark Hillegonds via Callers <
callers at lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:

> Would you ever (or have you ever) asked someone not to return based on
> their inability to dance?

No. If we want to consider ourselves open and welcoming then, IMO, I
believe we need to model that. There are venues that have a different
mission and objective (the limited set of "experienced" dances) where this
might be appropriate but for a general dance I'm uncomfortable with the
idea of sending someone away because they struggle to perform as others
might expect.

In the dance series I help run we have several folks with challenges whom
dance with us regularly. These include blindness, some memory impairment,
perceptual/developmental issues, physical impairment and just plain slowing
down. They are all welcome, even though that may cause others to have to
adjust - and that's just what we do. Callers adjust their material and
timing/calls. Dancers find ways collaboratively to surpass the challenges

We strive to keep the hall well mixed, or the dancers will naturally
segment themselves such that the difficulties multiply rather than get
mitigated. A lot of that has to do with material selection - fidgety
fast-action dances will not encourage the mixing. Well constructed dances
with great flow (and some space for flourishes/recovery) will. We also have
generous experienced dancers who help in partnering.

Is it easy to continue this way? Maybe not. It may cost us attendance.
There are times I (and others) get frustrated. But then I take a deep
breath and move on from the temporary issue knowing the bigger goal. I feel
you need to set a view of what you want the culture of your series to be
and act in accord. My dance strives to be a real community where we dance
and engage *with* people and not just dance *next* to them.

Of course there's a difference between lesser capability and inappropriate
behavior. We don't tolerate the latter but fortunately we've had few issues
in that regard.

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