I've been hearing people saying there are fewer contra dance weekends than there were, with several long-time weekends recently coming to the end of their run. I've been tracking dance weekends for the past few years, so I thought I'd just look at what I'd seen there.
There are a few problems with just comparing the list of dance weekends one year with the list the next:
More dances have switched to "Larks / Ravens", so here's an updated version of the chart I made before:
|~312 series, ~130 weekends||Gents / Ladies||Various (series, weekends)|
|8 series, 5 weekends||Larks / Ravens||Berkeley, BIDA, Circle Left, Form the Ocean, Hayward, JP, LCFD Dance Camp (both coasts) Sebastapol, South Bay, Village Contra, YDW|
|1 series||Bands / Barearms||Rainbow Contra Dance of Western Mass, Queer Contra Chicago|
|1 series||Jets / Rubies||Portland ME|
|1 series||Leads / Follows||Brooklyn Contra|
There's a continuum of guardedness: how careful are you in how you communicate, putting a lot of effort into saying only exactly what you intend to say? For example, public statements by heads of state are (traditionally) very carefully composed, while people talking to close friends generally just say things as they come to mind. When you speak in an unguarded way you risk saying something that doesn't quite match what you think, or what you would think on reflection, and the risks to this vary depending on the situation. If I'm talking with friends the risks of this are very low: maybe they'll think slightly less of me for saying something dumb, but any harms are minimal and short lived. If I'm talking publically the risks are higher: an unfortunate phrasing, bad joke, or poorly thought through idea could be recorded (video/audio/text) and distributed very widely, and it could be damaging for years to come.
There are a lot of benefits to unguarded communication: you can move faster, you can open up your tentative thoughts to friendly consideration and criticism, you don't have the mental or process overhead of needing to get every statement as perfect as possible. You might say something that you don't mean to, but in a friendly environment you can correct yourself or accept someone elses correction.
Despite these benefits, it seems to me that things generally move in the more guarded direction more...
Handrails on stairs are generally about three feet up  and I don't think our youngest (1.5y) has that much vertical reach with her hands straight above her head. They're also generally too far around for little hands to get a good grip. So I put in child-sized banister:
These are 3/4" dowels, 4ft long, attached to regular handrail brackets. more...