" The problem is, if you are going to say "if you are uncomfortable with
your shadow, feel free to move","
That wasn't my suggestion in the shadow swing thread. Thus this really
belongs on the other thread, not here.
Can we keep to topic, please? I specifically created a new thread to avoid
On Sep 9, 2015 10:28 AM, "Perry Shafran via Callers" <
I think the real crux of the issue is this. How far
are we willing to go
to create a safe dance space? The problem is, if you are going to say "if
you are uncomfortable with your shadow, feel free to move", that could
cause a whole new realm of problems for dancers. How would you feel if,
after someone identified you as their shadow, they moved to another line?
If given this option, I foresee people moving for all sorts of reasons that
I identified in my previous email (too fat, too old, too new, etc), and
none of them were related to creepers.
The caller is there to help build community. How is it building community
of you suggest "if you don't want to dance with someone, then move"? You
are basically inviting people to refuse to interact with people for ANY
reason - creeper or otherwise. I have never, in 15 years of dancing, heard
a caller suggest avoiding dancing with any person.
Building community means that everyone is welcome and treated like they
are welcome. Even society's outcasts. Of course we should ALL be on alert
for people who behave inappropriately, but I think we are beginning to move
away from a shared sense of community to promoting dancing with only people
you are the most comfortable with. Which basically means cliques.
It is a risk to dance with brand new people who come to your dance. You
know NOTHING about a person who comes to your dance. Suggesting that you
may wish to avoid this person because that person might be creepy - or
might not be - really seems harmful to community building.
Please note that I am not saying ignore creepers. If there is a problem
dancer, the community needs to deal with that person and get that person
out of the community if necessary. But if interactions with people might
somehow become harmful and we wish to ward off all potential problems, then
don't call dances with shadow swings, and maybe we ought not to call dances
with neighbor swings. Then you could never have to swing any person not of
*From:* Ron Blechner via Callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net>
*To:* Eric Black <eric(a)eric-black.com>
*Cc:* callers <callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net>
*Sent:* Wednesday, September 9, 2015 10:01 AM
*Subject:* [Callers] Creating a safe dance space (was Shadow Swing
I'm alarmed at reading your reply in the shadow swing thread.
I have seen, as a dancer, caller, and organizer, at a variety of dances,
far too many incidents of inappropriate behavior. I refuse to simply wash
my hands and say "oh, it's not the caller's place to worry about this."
caller is the MC, the coordinator, and often from the stage we can see
everything happening in the room. It absolutely is our paid job to help
create a safe dance space.
I want to focus on what seems to be the crux of your statement from the
shadow swing email:
" that interpersonal conflicts will happen, and yet social interactions
are required. They understand how to make everyone work together. Family
schisms are inevitable."
How many "conflicts" does it take before we take responsibility and
address inappropriate behavior at a dance? I have seen many occasions where
*one* conflict means a dancer who is new never returns, or an experienced
dancer never returns, or they wind up having to spend every night avoiding
*that creepy dude*. I know first hand what having a *single* bad experience
can mean for a dancer.
So if we leave these as "inevitable", then the people we lose aren't the
people doing the inappropriate behavior - no, those jerks stay, stubbornly
- we lose the nicer people who were victimized, harassed, made
Is that the kind of dance environment you want to promote?
I don't believe so.
Instead, asking questions, as Maia did, about things a caller can do to
create a safe dance space, is essential to long term community building.
This doesn't mean we are "dance police" or do anything extraordinary. But
it does mean that we should be considerate to dancers and not write off
their bad experiences as things that they need to merely tolerate and "be
an adult" as you put it.
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