There are currently four contra dance series in Boston: LCFD, BIDA, Concord Thursday, and Concord Monday Fundraisers. And all four are gender-free!

This has been a long time coming. Boston's gender-free contras started with JP's LCFD in 1988. BIDA discussions started in 2013 and we switched in 2017. Monday fundraisers have been Larks/Robins since before covid, and the Thursday dance is going gender-free as they restart.

Since I don't know what regular Concord Monday is planning for when they restart this may be a temporary situation. But it's an exciting milestone regardless!

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12 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 6:18 AM

Perhaps I'm displaying an astounding amount of ignorance by asking, but what does gender-free mean?

Short form of "in partner dances which traditionally have different roles for men and women, anyone can dance either role regardless of their gender".

And, specifically, that the role terms don't reference gender.

(The dances have already been places where people can dance either role if they want to for a while)

What effect does this have on the dance moves? Intersection or union of raven and lark moves?

The dance is the same. The roles are just Larks/Ravens (or Robins) instead of Gents/Ladies.

So both have to be able to dance both roles?

No: anyone can choose which role to dance. Gender-free terminology is about making it clear that you can dance either roll regardless of your gender, but it doesn't mean anyone will have to dance a different role than they want.

Any time the caller would have said Ladies/Women, now they say Robins (or Ravens), while any time they previously would have said Gents/Men, now they say Larks. The difference is really quite small, but it's very important to a lot of people.

So it is just nomenclature - and here I thought it was a change to the dance that allowed all lark/raven combinations.

It's nomenclature to signal the social permission that anyone can take any role they like. It's a statement that it's socially okay for a man to decide to take the Ravens role.

It's an incredibly controversial change to nomenclature ;)

I assume sometimes small changes have big effects...

My impression from reading Zac and jeff's comments is that it is a change in the labels of the roles in dance, not a change in the dancing itself.