Here in Montreal, Canada people are fairly bilingual so we used to just do
everything in English, but we've recently changed to be more inclusive.
When we start the intro class, we ask in English if anyone doesn't
understand French and in French if anyone doesn't understand English. If
necessary we do the whole class in both languages but in general we are
able to do it exclusively in English.
This is during our caller's collective evening, so what happens is that
most callers do their whole thing in English while I do mine in French. I
translated as many calls as I could when a straight-forward term existed in
French but kept some, like hey or right&left thru in their original form
since no easy translation existed. I do all my explanations in the walk
through in French and use the same terms I will call with later on. I rely
on demos when I need to since we have several bilingual experienced dancers
around. This is a new thing, I only started explaining and calling in
French in September so I'm still working on the kinks, but it seems to be
working well so far.
Don't know how much of this is applicable to your situation, but I'm happy
to talk about our experiences here!
On Fri, Mar 3, 2017 at 12:37 PM, Scott Higgs via Organizers <
At 12:04 PM 3/3/2017, Rebecca wrote:
I am in Germany and am new to event organizing ...An issue I have had with
my smaller workshops (and am worried about my larger event) is language.
With the smaller workshops, I just kinda wing it depending on who is there.
But for a larger event, winging it is probably not the best tactic.
...Do you stick to all English? or have the beginner lesson and/or
walkthrus in the majority language? or everything except for the actual
calling in the majority language?
My experience organizing and calling in France:
1) I decided in advance what English terms to use, and kept the list
short and consistent (e.g., skip the word "allemande", just use
limited vocabulary is pretty easy for folks to digest -- not really much
different than English speakers learning "hey for 4" or
2) During walk-throughs, I gave *explanations* in French, but used the
English terms for the calls/prompts, so they would associate the terms from
3) I used my body (and other people I could guide) *a lot* to
demonstrate, rather than get caught-up in too many words (in part, because
my French was not-too-great, but this is generally good policy)
Overall theme; Keep the dances simple, and use the local language to set
an easygoing mood in the room. It's most important to help folks feel
comfortable with mistakes, and not worry about getting things 'right.' With
language differences, some folks will be rather anxious already about
misunderstanding, or doing the wrong thing -- reassure them that getting
things right is not the point ...
If you have a caller who does not speak the majority language, it can
I have attended a workshop in Argentine tango like this.
A translator was beside the teacher, and checked-in to translate questions
and answers as needed.
Good for you getting dancing going in Karlsruhe !
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