Glad Heitzo reintroduced this thread, as I'd dropped the ball on responding to 
Alex.  Responses below.


And about that focus group, it was lovely.  We ended up with fewer respondents 
than we anticipated, but what got shared was quite juicy, and it spawned a 
project to further document our local dance scene.  I haven't had a chance yet 
to write the blog post about it, including posting the video, but will do so 
soon!

www.belfastflyingshoes.org/blog<http://www.belfastflyingshoes.org/blog>


Cheers,
Chrissy Fowler

Belfast, ME
++++++++++

Questions from Alex Deis-Lauby:

Chrissy- can you tell us more about the norms of the Belfast dance?
Yes.

Do the youth dancers dance both roles and with everyone?
Yes both roles, yes with everyone.  But for perhaps obvious reasons, the teens 
do tend to enjoy dancing 'with their friends' and historically that has meant 
that one set tends to have more teens than the others.  We're working on that, 
because we want all of the sets in the hall to be populated by the teens and 
their good cheer/happy energy.

Do the non-youth dancers do so as well?
Some dance both roles, but to a much lesser degree.

Thinking about ages and genders, who asks whom to dance?
Anyone.  Anecdote: I once told a potential new dancer, who was inquiring about 
our series on the phone, "Anyone can dance with anyone, although I've never 
been invited to dance by a teenager."  The next night, a 13 yo girl invited me 
for the first dance.  Hah!

Are there flourishes?
Yes.

Are the young dancers playful in role swapping or in other ways? Is that 
mirrored among the older dancers or vice versa?
I think there's generally a playful attitude at our series, but that's across 
age levels.  If, by 'role swapping', you mean switching roles back and forth 
throughout a given dance sequence, we don't have much if any of that, which I 
think is a good thing.  Our dances always have a high percentage of new and/or 
easily-confused dancers, and I don't think such a practice would be fair to the 
other dancers.  Sets would fall apart, people would be confused.  I think that 
would be an example of skilled dancers indulging their own whims at the expense 
of the rest of the dancers in their set, and as I said earlier, people are 
generally considerate of each other at our dances.

Do the young ppl have ample opportunity to dance with and socialize with their 
peers?
Yes.  Plenty of dancing and plenty of sitting on the sides chatting.

Is there a strong overall culture of consent?
Is the default: “dance with who’s coming at you”?
Yes, to both.  People are nice aka considerate to each other, in general.  Some 
people are insensitive, which makes me crazy as a caller/organizer. (For 
example, some individuals seem to think they are being awesome dancers when 
they twirl themselves and other dancers indiscriminately and relentlessly. Ugh. 
If I were Angela Merkel, you know what my eyes would be doing.)  But that is 
not the norm.

Do people ask what dance role preference their partners have regardless of 
gender presentation?
I don't know.  I know that's what I tell people to do, as a caller ("Invite 
someone to dance, decide who's going to be lady and who's going to be gent, 
form a ___set.")  I also know that's always a conversation whenever I, myself, 
get a partner, whether I'm inviting or accepting an invitation.  But I don't 
honestly know what the norm is across the dance floor at our series, so I can't 
say.

Other notable aspects of your dance community?
I don't know.   Um... we holler a lot?
We do tend to have a lot of families who dance with their kids, parents, 
siblings, cousins, aunts/uncles, grandparents (maybe like Aaron Marcus, who was 
mentioned in another response.)
And just a subtle point, I'd say it's less of a dance community and more of a 
community that goes to dances.  Meaning that dancing is not the only reason 
that these people get together.  They might see the same people at school, 
church, a talk/lecture, restaurant, art opening, concert, movie, rowing, 
volunteering, hiking, sledding, potlucks, etc.  Perhaps a characteristic of 
small town, rural county life?  But our monthly dances do seem to be treasured, 
which we on the board count as a great thing.

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