These are good points, and they bring up a larger situation. Presumably, Tom accepted the gig months ahead of the date (like all of us). A few days before the gig, he receives the new "rule". Does anyone think that there might be a slight ethical problem here?

When we accept a gig, it's an agreement between two consenting parties. This is, in fact, a contract. I'm not talking about a long legal document with pages of small print in a sans serif font. That's not customary in our dance culture, although in other types of performances it may be the norm. In any case, in the contra dance world, nearly all the specifics are not in writing; they are just accepted behaviors and conventions. The artist (here, the caller) accepted the gig with certain expectations -- microphone, payment, times, etc. The organizers have expectations of quality, preparation, being on time, etc. These are all cultural norms. Every community has its own way of approaching this. After all, this is a community dance, and things are often pretty loose with lots of volunteer helpers, not a hard-knuckled bargaining dispute between unions and coal mine owners.

Here's the issue: Let's assume that the new terminology rule had been decided up by the organizing committee after Tom's gig date had been scheduled and finalized. But Tom didn't learn about this change until just before the gig. I think the organizers have a responsibility here to convey their decision to the caller in a timely manner and ask if the caller still wanted to do the gig with this new condition.

Alternatively, the organizers could set a future date when this rule would become a rigid part of the agreement, and any scheduling for gigs after that date would include that rule in the initial back-and-forth communications between the caller and the organizers. That gives both parties all the information they need to make their decisions.

The awkward period would be the transition period that Tom was caught in -- where the rule was conveyed close to the gig date and the caller had to accept it "fait accompli" or cancel. By laying down a rigid rule unilaterally, the organizers actually broke the agreement. No one wants this, but IMO that's what they did. But Tom wanted the gig, accepted the change, and was gracious enough to adjust and call it anyway

In that case, however, I think the organizers could have conveyed something different -- like Yoyo gently described -- that the organizers "prefer" that the caller avoid the word "gypsy", use an alternative word or phrase, and here is a preferred alternative, but that the caller use judgement for the ultimate choice. This communication would be during this awkward transitional period. There would, of course, be some dancers who may complain, but this would also be an opportunity for the organizers to convey to those dancers the ethics that they followed and that it's just a transitional period.

My two cents.

Woody Lane

On 3/28/2018 4:04 PM, Tom Hinds via Callers wrote:
Thanks for the suggestion.  The rule was sent to me days befor the gig and it took my mind a good long while to process and work through it.  The organizer knows my concerns.

Sent from my iPad

On Mar 28, 2018, at 6:34 PM, Yoyo Zhou <> wrote:

On Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 2:29 PM, Tom Hinds via Callers <> wrote:
Here was my issue, briefly :  I was told to use "walk around" when calling at glen echo.  It also happens that I'm a western square caller and have used "walk around your corner, see saw your taw" for decades.

Here is an opportunity to say to the organizers, "I understand your intent is to avoid certain language, but your proposed substitute doesn't work for me because I use 'walk around' to mean something else. I would prefer to use [such and such] or another alternative to avoid confusion. Does that work for your community?" This is a conversation between you and the organizers, which will ideally result in clearer communication at the dance itself. But if they don't want to budge, then you've hopefully communicated that their rigidness is hindering you from presenting a good program. After all, we're here to serve the dancers.

Yoyo Zhou