see my comments sprinkled.......
On Mar 6, 2018, at 12:21 AM, Jeanette Mill via Callers wrote:


I am devising a workshop for a festival here in Australia, and have long been of the opinion that there are no "leaders" in contra dance couples.

That's a great issue to discuss. My thought is that having a really fun time requires someone to take the initiative. Of course it's quite possible that dancing in Australia is different than dancing here in the states.

Moves should be executed with mutual consent, especially embellishments such as turning under out of a ladies' chain. Conventions such as waltz hold swings are really useful here. In Australia, other related dance forms use a variety of swing holds, which lead to confusion and interruption of flow. I plan to place some emphasis on conventions of holds, such as allemande and star holds.
Would it depend on the situation? If there are new dancers would you expect or appreciate leading from a more experienced dancer? I would say skill level would play a part in this issue even between people who are not beginners.

I would value people's opinions on this, as it may ruffle some long-held conventions. Any words of wisdom from the gender free dance community would be especially welcome.

Also, I believe that if dancers are to enjoy embellishments, they must be by mutual consent. This is so difficult to establish in a microsecond. I would value any thoughts on how to advise reaching this consent in the context of a contra dance.
I know in my small town everyone knows everyone and it's easy to adjust your style when it comes to embellishments. When you meet someone in line you know what to expect unless it's a new face.

Would that be very different at a large dance or say at a festival where people from other areas attend?

Looking forward to your thoughts
My limited personal experience is that I'm the leader because I'm the stronger dancer.

If I verbally suggest that my partner "twirl me" they will, but it's usually in the wrong direction or at the wrong time. There are good female leaders out there, but not here in my town. So how about a workshop where people are allowed or encouraged to try the role they may not be the most comfortable with?



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