mlbrown Oct. 13, 2001, 12:57 p.m. (Message 27873)
Whilst at a dance anyone has the right to dance with whoever they like, mass pre-booking does seem to me to cause more problems than it solves. It does ensure that the keen dancers get to dance those dances that they want to dance (they have already got their partners booked) - but it can mean that the other people who do not pre-book but who would also like to do the dance get left on the sidelines because everyone else is paired off! As a non-booker (I don't write things down at a dance because I lose the piece of paper, and I cannot remember which dance I have pre-booked / who I have pre-booked it with - last Saturday I actually pre-booked the following dance because someone already had a partner for the next one, and I really struggled to remember who I had made this arrangement with), I usually look around for someone who looks as if they would like to dance. People standing together chatting on a on-to-one basis are assumed to have paired off for the next dance, which can cause problems if they are left over from the last dance! One of the things which appealed to me about Scottish dancing when I started was that the ladies one asked always accepted (in those days only a broken leg or "sorry, I already have a partner" were the only acceptable excuses); this was a definite improvement on the normal ballroom dance where the men asked, the ladies looked you up and down, and then made a real choice depending on whether or not they fancied you. Nowadays at Scottish dances a few more excuses seem to be acceptable, such as exhaustion, but I'm not too happy with the "I don't know the dance" - if I didn't think I could get them through the dance I wouldn't have asked them! (Of course in this case I assume that the rest of the set are competent - if they aren't then all bets are off!) Why can't we spend a bit more time at dances when we are standing as supporting couples to look around, see who is sitting out, and then make an effort to ensure that they have a partner for the next dance, (by asking them)? Malcolm PS I have a vision of men lining up down one side of the room in single file, with women on the other side. When the next dance is announced the bottom man takes the bottom lady up to the top of the room and so on, so that it is only when they meet that they find out who their partner is! Providing their are slightly different numbers of men and women you should always get a different partner - if there were more people present than could fit on the dance floor then those not dancing would be next in line for the next dance - as well as ensuring different partners it would mean people dancing in different parts of the room; With multiple lines the first couple would go to the top of one line / the next couple to the top of the next and so on. If people wanted a rest they would just not join the line. I'm not too clear whether we would a) let women join the men's line or b) let them change sex during the evening if we did? I can see problems in making it work, but I wonder if they are insurmountable.