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Larks and Ravens: how you can help

April 25th, 2018
contra  [html]
After several years of trying to find a good set of terms, Larks / Ravens has taken off. I now count eleven dances and six weekends that are Larks/Ravens now. I think it's time for more dances to consider switching. Here are some ways you could help:

  • Talk to your friends: get other people on board with the idea of calls that don't reference gender. How they're better for people who don't want to dance just one role, trans and gender non-conforming people, people who want to dance a role you wouldn't guess from their appearance.

  • Request them: ask the organizers of your local dance whether they'd consider switching. You don't have to be pushy, just let them know its a thing you're in favor of. If it impacts you personally, consider explaining that as well.

  • Ask to use them: if you're a caller, consider asking if you can call Larks / Ravens. Maybe as a special "let's try this and see how it goes" event.

  • Get involved: organizers are much more interested in suggestions from dancers who help make the dance happen. Volunteer for door shifts, help carry things, learn to run sound, join the board. I know one dancer who has offered to help organize weekends but only if they user gender-free terms.

  • Reword dances: if you maintain a list of dances you or others wrote, switch them to Larks / Ravens. I just switched mine over and it was pretty quick. [1]

  • Poll people: find out what people think about the terms in a way that avoids just learning what your friends think. Before we switched I polled our callers and then we polled our dancers. I was pleasantly surprised with how positive people felt about Larks / Ravens, and it made it clear that switching was the right thing for our dance.

  • Start a new dance: starting new dances is a great way to expand the community. If your current dance doesn't like gender free calling, a new one can bring people in who don't currently feel welcome. [Suggested by Dave, below]

Other ideas?


[1] I ran this command, and then cleaned up a few things manually ("Ladies Star" by Tony Parkes shouldn't become "Ravens Star"):

$ for x in *.html ; do
   cat $x | sed 's/\b[Mm]an\b/Lark/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Mm]en\b/Larks/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Gg]ent\b/Lark/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Gg]ents\b/Larks/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Ww]oman\b/Raven/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Ww]omen\b/Ravens/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Ll]ady\b/Raven/g' \
          | sed 's/\b[Ll]adies\b/Ravens/g' \
          > $x.lr
 done
 

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