Please can anyone recommend a good instrumental recording of the music for the Redwing square dance?
John Sweeney, Dancer, England john(a)modernjive.com 01233 625 362 & 07802 940 574
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent
Michael Dyck and I have done a thing:
This (mostly) contra dance database 12,000 dances:
5,000 dances with viewable instructions
4,000 more dances with links to instructions
Current search options include author, title, formation, and figures. You can search the figures of dances even when we don't have permission to show the figures.
This will always be a work in progress, but hopefully it's good enough to use.
(and a lot of questions should be answerable by the FAQ on that site.)
-Chris Page and Michael Dyck
p.s. This has been (and continues to be) a long-term project. Michael and I started formally working on this back in April of 2015, but I started building my database back in November of 2010.
In regards to the misuse of pronouns, I suggest practicing the use of "they/them" to refer to dancers when you call at dances that use Gents/Ladies or other gendered terms. For example, "Ladies turn by right until you're facing your partner, swing them." Another option is to practice not using pronouns (e.g. "swing your partner"). A traditional dance will likely be much more forgiving (or not notice) any accidental references, and you'll be more practiced for when you are calling gender-free dances.
I personally prefer to minimize over-the-mic explanations about why and how the dance has been strictly gendered. I think most people are aware that almost everything has been gendered, and that large portions of society have been shifting toward a more fluid and accepting culture. If people are not aware, it would take more than an announcement to provide them with sufficient information, and making a speech tends to focus people on the tensions involved with change instead of just enjoying the dance. If there's a need to make a statement, I just briefly acknowledge that the dance has previously used gendered terms, state what I plan to use, and get the dancing started. I usually check in with people during breaks to see if there are any issues or tension that would call for a brief announcement over the mic. When I'm not calling, I have more time to talk to people in depth, listen to their concerns, and provide more insight.
I find that the various terms currently being bandied about (Larks and Ravens, Jets and Rubies, etc.) create an additional level of confusion for both experienced and new dancers. Not only do you have to process in a split second WHAT to do, you now also have to process which role is yous. If you're going to call dances in which it matters (e.g.,contra dances, rather than beginner-level community dances where it doesn't matter which role is on the right or left), then I prefer Reds and Yellows for R and L terms that relate to the right and left positions. (I know, yellow doesn't START with L, but the double L in the middle serves the purpose). I then use red and yellow wrist-bands as visual cues. Red on the right wrist for the person on the right; yellow on the left wrist for the person on the left. It's cheap and easy to buy a skein of yarn in each color, and cut them up into appropriate lengths. It's then easy to say upfront that if the wrist-bands are next to each other (on your joined hands), you're on the wrong side and need to quickly switch, assuming you want to dance the same role consistently, because switching is much more challenging. I don't have hard data, but my personal experience is that the visual cue makes a BIG difference in response time for all dancers, and there is a higher level of success, and therefore fun.
We have been offered a Barn Dance / ONS gig for a somewhat large LGBTI community in the UK. This will be at a Queer Festival. However we are well aware of the issues of the use or misuse of pronouns especially for those folk undergoing transition. What terminologies do folks here advise? Participants would be non-binary genders. Partners could be the same gender or of a different gender. The concept of 'male' or 'female' would not apply; and certainly not the terms 'men' and 'women.' Thanks - CJB