Getting left-out people into a contra dance

May 24th, 2010
bida, contra
At contra dances I'll sometimes skip out on the initial partnering to see if there's someone who didn't end up with a partner but would like one. I've done this the most at dances where I have some sort of responsibility in the group (bida, the contra dances at swarthmore), but I try to do it whenever I notice people getting left out. This works pretty well at getting people in, especially new people. The main way it doesn't work is if I get asked to dance by an experienced dancer when I intend to be doing this. I can avoid that somewhat by making myself scarce refilling water pitchers or whatever, but sometimes people who are fun to dance with and will not be having any trouble finding a partner ask me right away. I can say "I'm sorry; I'm looking for a left out newcomer to dance with" but that's kind of strange and a bit of a mouthful. I think what I need is a name for this activity. Is there one already in use somewhere else? I'd like to be able to say "sorry, not this dance, I'm [name-of-this]ing".

Another advantage of a name is that even if the person I'm talking to doesn't understand me at the time beyond "jeff won't dance, need to find a different partner", if they come talk to me later I can give more detail and it will have a name attached.

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