Re: [Callers] Gypsy Wrap-Up
by Winston, Alan P. via Callers
Very nicely done!
On 11/2/2015 3:31 PM, Amy Wimmer via Callers wrote:
> Hi All,
> 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):
> Hello Mr.__________,
> 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 vernacular.
> 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 callers themselves.
> Amy Wimmer
> Caller and ECCD Organizer
> His response:
> 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.
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