Quick correction on timing:
David's Triplet #5 David Smuckler
A-1 1s cast down own side to bottom,
Back up ctr to cast w/ 2s
A-2 All do si do P 1 1/4 into way line of 6, balance
Balance & Al R w/ P 1/2 into new wave &
B-1 Bal, Pul by P by R into hey for 6
B-2 P Gypsy & Swing, face up
Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.
And Levi Jackson Rag is by Pat Shaw
Thanks to all for the great dance suggestions.
I finally composed a response to the original complainant. Here it is,
followed by an almost instant reply from him (yes, it is a male):
Thank you for letting us know about your experience at our dance. I am glad
our community was so welcoming and friendly to you. I hope you remember
that in the future.
As for the term "gypsy," it has been used in contra dancing for decades,
and is not my invention. I am sorry you were offended by my use and
description of it. It is my habit to let dancers know the name and author
of each dance I call, and "gypsy" is in the title of that dance. I regret
my description of the move as "flirty." I thank you for reminding me that
some people are uncomfortable with that, and I will no longer suggest it.
As for the name of the move itself, you are correct in that it has never
been meant as a pejorative. I cannot, however, change it on my own. Contra
is a folk dance and the folk process takes time. There is no governing body
in charge of naming the terms used in contra dancing. When someone invents
a new move they give it a name and it gradually works its way into the
I can assure you that callers nationwide are discussing this and other
terms we use which we are learning are offensive to others. We are
endeavoring to change what we can, but you might imagine that coming to a
consensus between many hundreds of callers is neither swift nor sure. This
is especially true, given the lack of a governing body.
For my part, I have decided to remove the term "gypsy" from my calling and
am searching for a substitute. It is not in my power to rename dances. At
Emerald City Contra Dance we book approximately 25 different callers every
year, from across the United States and beyond. I am just one. Please
understand that if you return to our dance you may hear that term used
again, until such time as awareness has spread as far and wide as the
Caller and ECCD Organizer
Thank you for your very thoughtful and informative response. I feel much
better about continuing to attend, hearing that there is an awareness of
this issue and conversations happening about it.
Just out of curiosity, since I had a gig scheduled while this discussion
was going on, I tried substituting the phrase "right/left shoulders
around" for "gypsy." I had not taught the move in the beginners
session. The first dance this came up in had a neighbors gypsy 1-1/2.
I said "neighbors right shoulders around once and a half," the dancers
all did it, easy peasy. It's not too hard to remember to substitute the
term, and will get easier as it goes along.
I called 2 dances today, the Sebastopol English dance and the Petaluma
contra. I had a few "gypsy halfway" moments at the English but no full
gypsies. Several at the contra and I found the different terminology to
cause not the tiniest ripple on the floor. It was seamless.
"who on this list believe that contra dancers have a negative view of the
Romani people because of the word gypsy?"
Over the last few days, as this conversation has spilled out onto a few
forms of social media, I have now heard specific stories about people who
are Roma and/or have Roma heritage who are folk dancers in dance forms that
use "gypsy" as a term, and are offended directly.
As to your question, do you consider "negative" to include "reinforcing
What if we had a dance move called "redneck". Sure, there's plenty of find
country folks in America who proudly self-describe as a "redneck". There
are songs written about them. There are people who dress up for Halloween
as them. etc. Does that mean that there aren't also plenty of people who
have been called "redneck" as a slur against the stereotype of "dumb,
rural, ignorant yokels"? I find the parallels compelling enough where I'm
now seriously leaning off the fence...
On Sat, Oct 31, 2015 at 10:37 AM, Tom Hinds via Callers <
> In my opinion the offended women actually helped spread a stereotype she
> didn't like. Who on this list knew that Romani women had a reputation for
> being (I can't remember, was it) sexual? Not me. Okay, it was the caller
> she complained to who put it out there, but she started it. Should the
> caller feel defensive or should the caller turn the issue around if it's
> I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY WANT TO KNOW, who on this list believe that
> contra dancers have a negative view of the Romani people because of the
> word gypsy? Anyone?
> For me the more important issue is education. I learned another tidbit
> about the Romani people. Yes I understand how people can be sensitive, but
> perhaps this woman needs to learn something about us before jumping to
> Callers mailing list
I agree entirely re "gypsy"!
But, please, not "Homo Sapien"!
"Homo Sapiens" is the singular. The "s" on the end does not
indicate plural. You can't take it off to make it singular.
The plural is "Homines Sapientes".
It hurts when I hear someone say it without the "s". :-(
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent
Brief Encounters for 5 couples longways proper. A total hoot. On Nov 1, 2015 8:12 AM, Donna Hunt via Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
> Thanks everyone for great ideas.
> It was late when I posted my request and I should mention that this is an English/Contra crossover weekend (Princeton Country Dancers Head for the Hills).
> I'm definitely looking for dances that don't fit a genre and appeal to contra dancers (ie swings and not too much inactivity). Am open to "barn" dances if there's something unusual (but not too much sashaying).
> Web Site: donnahuntcaller.com
> Email: dhuntdancer(a)aol.com
> Cell: 215-565-6050
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bree Kalb <bree(a)mindspring.com>
> To: Donna Hunt <dhuntdancer(a)aol.com>; callers <callers(a)sharedweight.net>
> Sent: Sun, Nov 1, 2015 7:18 am
> Subject: Re: [Callers] dances in unusual formations
> Levi Jackson Rag is a favorite of mine but not all bands know the tune.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Donna Hunt via Callers
>> Sent: Nov 1, 2015 12:10 AM
>> To: callers(a)sharedweight.net
>> Subject: [Callers] dances in unusual formations
>> I'm doing a workshop on dances "outside the box" (ie, no squares or contras).
>> Anyone have any interesting dances for contra dancers that fit the criteria?
You could try the contra modified version of Wendy Crouch's Winter Solstice
(square with an extra couple). Renamed Swinging Solstice for the other side
of the Pond. Features a grand square for 5 couples! Progression is
Although they do not feature swings she has Silver Thread ( 3 couples in a
line), which can be prove a challenge even for experienced ECD dancer; and
Sussex Martlets (3 couples in a delta formation).
Jeff's Gyre & Gimble DI
A-1 1s Gyre & Gimble (R Sh)
A-2 Down Hall Line of 4, 2s Hand Cast 1's (or trn as cpl), return
B-1 Circle L 1X (all are back to orig DI)
Pass N-1 by R and Gyre N-2 by L
B-2 N-1 Gire & Gimble (R Sh)
Notes: This dance needs room, so best to keep lines short. Using the hand
cast in A-2 means you will also need space width wise. The effect in the B
part is of sweeping figure 8s along the side of the set. Tunes w/ ECD
feeling work well.
The terms will need defining for the first or second time you use them w/ a
group, but I suspect people might willingly adopt them w/ a smile. Thanks
for suggesting this. Lovely.
This dance was written in honor of Jeff Ratch, a dear friend and dancer who
left us much too soon. Jeff was able to make me howl w/ laughter quicker
than anyone I've met. It was hard to explain to people as we danced back
in at the end of a line why I was so hysterical.
Jeff, if you've been keeping tabs on us, I hope you get a huge belly laugh.
Let us continue to revel in joyfulness, gentleness, and remain respectful
PS It felt appropriate to rephrase this dance, written as a memorial, on
the cusp of Halloween & All Souls Day, esp. w/ the extra hr thrown in to
help blur the lines a little more.
If you try it, please let me know how it was received.