strathspey Archive: Eye Contact etc

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Eye Contact etc

Message 1628 · Martin Mulligan · 6 Apr 1995 18:26:58 · Top

There have been a couple of posts on eye-contact in SCD. I'm not going
to quote directly from any of them but I am going to throw my two cents in.

I feel that many teachers either place too much emphasis on eye-contact or
emphasise it in the wrong way. In my experience, whenever eye-contact is
emphasised, the result is a licence to stare fixedly into the eyes of
whoever one is dancing with. I feel that to be unsettling at best, and
rude at worst. It is something that not everyone likes to do and which
many people will feel uncomfortable with. It is very unsociable to do
something to a partner when that partner does not wish it to be done to
them. In this matter, a dancer needs to recognise the wishes and
feelings of his partners in a set. And isn't that what social dancing is?

Let me emphasise, I am not opposed to looking at one's partner - I
dislike and discourage looking at the floor whenever I can. I just don't
think that eye-contact means that one has to intertwine eyelashes.

For much the same kinds of reasons, I dislike placing emphasis on SCD as
an activity one of whose primary functions is flirting. When I dance, I
am there to enjoy the company of good friends and good music. I do not go
Scottish Country dancing because it is some kind of mating ritual. If two
people discover something special between them and they wish to flirt with
one another when they dance, fine. If spouses wish to flirt, fine. But I
don't think it appropriate to flirt with one and all. Again, the person
on the receiving end may not appreciate it. If so, it is unsociable.

These are just my thoughts.

Martin Mulligan
St. John's (Newfoundland) Branch
mulligan@morgan.ucs.mun.ca

Eye Contact etc

Message 1631 · John P. McClure · 6 Apr 1995 19:46:38 · Top

I would like to support Martin Mulligan's comments about the potential excesses
of eye contact; I know that I have had the experience of feeling that it
was going on too long - and suspecting that the other person thought so, too.
I would also like to comment on the "colour of the eyes" test for whether
eye contact was made; that is a fairly old wheeze, at least, it was brought
here by someone who had been to a workshop about twelve years ago. My own
experience is that if I look for eye colour, I don't make proper eye contact;
whereas, if I make real eye contact, I see something far more important than
colour - and usually don't notice or remember what the colour was.

Peter McClure
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
joptmc@ccu.umanitoba.ca

Eye Contact etc

Message 1633 · Kent W. Smith · 6 Apr 1995 21:53:34 · Top

In message Thu, 6 Apr 1995 11:56:15 -0230 (NDT),
Martin Mulligan <mulligan@morgan.ucs.mun.ca> writes:

> There have been a couple of posts on eye-contact in SCD. I'm not going
> to quote directly from any of them but I am going to throw my two cents
> in.
> I feel that many teachers either place too much emphasis on eye-contact or
> emphasise it in the wrong way.
> . . .

I fully agree with Martin and thank him for clearly stating the importance
of putting the emphasis on *ways* to be sociable, or symbols of
sociability, into the larger context of actually being sociable and
sensitive to the responses and desires of fellow dancers. If you've ever
danced John McAlpin or the Three Sisters with a partner who insists upon
intent and continuous eye contact, you'll know how disconcerting eye
contact taken to the extreme can be . You feel like it's unrelenting full
face-to-face confrontation from which you can't graciously escape ("intertwine
eyelashes" as Martin put it). The same with emphasizing flirtation in a
way that leads to dancers using it as a one-way sign of sociability to be
mechanically turned on, rather than a natural mutual interchange that may
spring forth from having created a general atmosphere of sociability,
congeniality, and sharing.

Besides, some of us who do make natural eye contact don't notice or
remember eye color as an essential characteristic of our partner. If the
truth must be known, years ago when I first applied for a driver's license,
I had to ask the clerk what color my own eyes were!

Kent

In my experience, whenever
eye-contact is > emphasised, the result is a licence to stare fixedly into
the eyes of > whoever one is dancing with. I feel that to be unsettling at
best, and > rude at worst. It is something that not everyone likes to do
and which > many people will feel uncomfortable with. It is very
unsociable to do > something to a partner when that partner does not wish
it to be done to > them. In this matter, a dancer needs to recognise the
wishes and > feelings of his partners in a set. And isn't that what social
dancing is? > > Let me emphasise, I am not opposed to looking at one's
partner - I > dislike and discourage looking at the floor whenever I can.
I just don't > think that eye-contact means that one has to intertwine
eyelashes. > > For much the same kinds of reasons, I dislike placing
emphasis on SCD as > an activity one of whose primary functions is
flirting. When I dance, I > am there to enjoy the company of good friends
and good music. I do not go > Scottish Country dancing because it is some
kind of mating ritual. If two > people discover something special between
them and they wish to flirt with > one another when they dance, fine. If
spouses wish to flirt, fine. But I > don't think it appropriate to flirt
with one and all. Again, the person > on the receiving end may not
appreciate it. If so, it is unsociable. > > These are just my thoughts.
> > Martin Mulligan > St. John's (Newfoundland) Branch >
mulligan@morgan.ucs.mun.ca >
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
|
| Kent W. Smith Telephones:
| kwsmith@nwu.edu Work: 312-988-6551
| American Bar Foundation FAX: 312-988-6579
| 750 N. Lake Shore Drive Home: 708-869-7803
| Chicago, IL 60611

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