On Sat, May 30, 2015 at 2:57 PM, Delia Clark via Callers <
It will ultimately be a good thing if there is a
generally accepted set
of words (certainly not a strict requirement, but something that’s
generally accepted across the country, if possible) that meet the range of
criteria, along the lines of those suggested by Ron in his matrix.
There is an assumption behind this statement which is often made, but
which I find very disturbing.
The assumption is that it is an unalloyed good thing for there to be
standardization. This is the kind of thinking that led the Modern Western
Square Dance movement to standardize all of their calls, and all of their
teaching programs. They wanted any square dancer to be able to go to any
square dance club in the country, or in the world, and immediately know
exactly what was meant by everything that was said. There are some
advantages to that kind of standardization, especially if you happen to be
a globe-hopping square dancer who enjoys dancing hot hash, but it comes at
a tremendous cost.
It comes with a loss of the opportunity to experience, adapt to, and
appreciate regional differences. I don't care about being able to go to a
new place just to find that things there are done in the same way that I'm
used to them being done back home. I care about being able to go to new
places and learning the way things are done there.
What this means for the current discussion, from my point of view, is that
it's a good thing if dance callers and producers discuss the advantages and
disadvantages of using different terminology, and consider what language
will work best for their dance. It would be a BAD thing if anyone switched
terminology JUST BECAUSE that's what other people were doing.
It may well be that a certain set of terms will become generally accepted
because it works better for the dancers in a lot of places. It may well be
that dances which were written to be gender-neutral will be generally
accepted because they work better for the dancers in a lot of places. In
the meantime, if you find yourself assuming that it would a good thing if
there was standardization across the country, please give some thought to
what advantage you are trying to achieve, and what the disadvantages would