The dance with be called using the terms “
Larks and Ravens
” rather than “Gents and Ladies”. For those that are not familiar with the terms "Larks and Ravens", a little history is in order:
Over the last several years, in the general dance population, there has been an increasing number of dancers who would prefer that dances use role terms that don't indicate gender, to make it clearer that anyone can dance any role. Larks and Ravens have become the most popular non-gendered dance role terms for contra dancing and are in use at dances across the country. Swingin' Tern had a test flight with these terms last year. Based on the response of our dancers, we will periodically have dances called with Larks and Ravens.
Why are you doing this? What’s wrong with Gents and Ladies?
We have had feedback from some in the dance community that they’re not comfortable with gendered dance role terms and would prefer to go to a dance that doesn’t use them. For transgender and gender non-conforming dancers, gendered role terms can be exclusive or hurtful.
We feel that the new terminology makes it clearer that roles in contra are dance roles, not gender roles, and so it better encourages people to try dancing both roles and dance with people regardless of their gender. This also could make it easier to find partners, with fewer dancers left on the sidelines when there is a gender imbalance.
third of the dances around the country are using or experimenting with gender free terminology. So, when you travel to other dances you may encounter other terminology like this. Now it will be more familiar!
Why the birds? Is there a reason?
ark” starts the dance and ends swings on the
eft, and the “
aven” starts the dance and ends the swing on the
ight. Also, “Larks” and “Ravens” have the same syllables and accents as “Gents” and “Ladies,” so it’s easier for callers who are used to "Gents" and "Ladies" to switch from the old terms to the new terms.