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Pre-Booking

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  • ...

    Marilynn Knight Oct. 8, 2001, 10:39 p.m. (Message 27791)

    Lee,
     
    Have you been in a Grand March that ended in either a Waltz or Gay Gordons?
    I personally think that's a nice variation.  Honestly, I think everyone
    expects significant others to dance first and last and a special one, also.
    I have to say my experience with solidly pre-booking says it is a
    cross-generational disease......
     
    Anonymous
    Insouthcarolinasomewhere....
  • ...

    SMiskoe Oct. 8, 2001, 10:56 p.m. (Message 27792, in reply to message 27791)

    I agree that pre-booking is not always appropriate but consider this 
    situation:
    The hall is large, there are 200 dancers.  You have a friend you very much 
    want to dance with but said friend always seems to be so far away at the end 
    of a dance, or is sitting on the opposite side of the hall, that if you don't 
    pre-book something, you may never get that nice dance.  By the time you have 
    made your way over to the friend he/she has probably found another dance 
    partner.  
    Cheers,
    Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
  • ...

    Don MacQueen Oct. 9, 2001, 2:59 a.m. (Message 27803, in reply to message 27792)

    I think the objection that was raised was towards excessive, not 
    occasional, pre-booking.
    Especially in situations where most of the dancers pre-book most of the dances.
    Personally, I have never objected to the practice of pre-booking a 
    small number of dances, but I do object to the practice of 
    pre-booking almost every dance.
    
    -Don
    
    At 4:56 PM -0400 10/8/01, xxxxxxx@xxx.xxx wrote:
    >I agree that pre-booking is not always appropriate but consider this
    >situation:
    >The hall is large, there are 200 dancers.  You have a friend you very much
    >want to dance with but said friend always seems to be so far away at the end
    >of a dance, or is sitting on the opposite side of the hall, that if you don't
    >pre-book something, you may never get that nice dance.  By the time you have
    >made your way over to the friend he/she has probably found another dance
    >partner. 
    >Cheers,
    >Sylvia Miskoe, Concord, NH USA
    
    
    -- 
    -------------------------
    Don MacQueen
    xxxx@xxxx.xxx
    California, USA
    -------------------------
  • ...

    Lee Fuell Oct. 9, 2001, 12:18 a.m. (Message 27794, in reply to message 27791)

    Yes to the Gay Gordons variation, no to the waltz.  Any variation 
    that doesn't end formed into sets for the first set dance is fine with 
    me, although the Gay Gordons does seem to go on interminably 
    ("4-by" is plenty).
    
    Lee
    
    Send reply to:  	xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
    From:           	Marilynn Knight <xxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx>
    To:             	"'xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx'" <xxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx>
    Subject:        	Pre-Booking
    Date sent:      	Mon, 8 Oct 2001 16:39:49 -0400
  • ...

    ScotDance Oct. 11, 2001, 3:43 a.m. (Message 27847, in reply to message 27791)

    Anyone interested there is an interesting collection of "Dance Cards" on :-
    
    <A HREF="http://www.drawrm.com/dance.htm">http://www.drawrm.com/dance.htm</A>
    Traditionally Yours,
    
                 Colin
    
                (Colin Robertson)
    { http://www.colinrobertson.org.uk }
  • ...

    Oberdan Otto Oct. 12, 2001, 9:13 p.m. (Message 27865, in reply to message 27791)

    >Honestly, I think everyone
    >expects significant others to dance first and last and a special one, also.
    >I have to say my experience with solidly pre-booking says it is a
    >cross-generational disease......
    
    Hot button!!!
    
    Characterizing pre-booking as a disease or a form of anti-social 
    behavior as some of the messages in this thread are suggesting is 
    unkind and judgmental. It is truly nobody's business but my own 
    whether or not I pre-book and why. In fact, it is nobody else's 
    business (except perhaps my SO) who I partner in a dance and why. I 
    firmly reject any notion that who I dance with and when and why 
    should be any part of SCD etiquette. I would suggest that those 
    busy-bodies who feel qualified to judge my behavior in this regard 
    have too much time on their hands.
    
    Relying on "rules of etiquette" is a substitute for applying good 
    sense and courtesy. Such rules are good for children and for those 
    who are unsure of how to be courteous. Considering the thousands of 
    situations in which one could find oneself, having some guidelines 
    can be very helpful. The problem with relying "rules" rather than 
    your own sense of the best action in a particular situation is that 
    rules cannot cover every situation. Moreover, blind application of 
    what you think to be the rules of etiquette is a sure way to hurt 
    somebody's feelings. For example: "Women don't ask men to dance" is 
    most certainly in somebody's etiquette book.
    
    Someone suggested a practice of "conditional booking". That is a 
    minefield I will not touch. While some conditional bookees might 
    actually think it a good approach, others might not like it at all, 
    but out of politeness, they will not tell you so. Personally, I would 
    not accept a conditional booking. A booking is a commitment. A 
    conditional commitment? Give me a break! If it is not a commitment, 
    then it isn't a commitment, is it? If I have booked a dance with 
    someone (which I do infrequently), I will honor that booking.
    
    The real problem has nothing to do with pre-booking--it is how to 
    include everyone in the dancing who wants to be included. There is no 
    single solution, but as other messages in this thread have indicated, 
    pre-booking can be used as a tool to be sure some people are included 
    who would otherwise not be.
    
    Also, I find the attitude that I would be doing someone a favor by 
    dancing with them to be distasteful. When I dance with someone, it is 
    because I want to and because I expect that we will have fun dancing 
    together. And, interestingly, regardless of who I dance with, it is 
    hardly ever otherwise.
    
    Cheers, Oberdan.
    
    184 Estaban Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010-1611 USA
    Voice: (805) 389-0063, FAX: (805) 484-2775, email: xxxxx@xxxxx.xxx
  • ...

    mlbrown Oct. 13, 2001, 12:57 p.m. (Message 27873, in reply to message 27865)

    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.
  • ...

    Andrew Smith Oct. 13, 2001, 8:05 p.m. (Message 27874, in reply to message 27873)

    Malcolm's PS brought back memories of about 45 years ago when the family was
    on holiday in a remoteish spot in the Western Highlands. Despite the
    remoteness there was Scottish Country Dancing, and a good live band, but I
    never worked out how partners were selected, as all the men were down the
    one side of the hall, and all the women were down the other. I was obviously
    not aware of eye contact then, and was amazed at how the sets formed up in a
    sort of shimmering movement, with no word spoken other than the MC
    announcing the dance. To someone then only recently introduced to a dance
    floor where people sat in mixed groups round the room and would even cross
    the floor to find a partner this was fascinating. Whether it still happens
    that way I have no idea. Incidentally, I find the current trend of women
    asking men to dance very refreshing.
    Andrew.
  • ...

    Priscilla M. Burrage Oct. 13, 2001, 8:47 p.m. (Message 27875, in reply to message 27873)

    On Sat, 13 Oct 2001, Malcolm Brown wrote:
    
    > 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.
    
    I have often felt that mass pre-booking is done by insecure dancers or
    those married to insecure dancers.
    
    > As a non-booker
    
    I book one dance with my hisband, but if he came dancing more often, I
    probably wouldn't. . .
    
    I also book a dance with a disabled dancer, on crutches or with a cane. (I
    pick the dance.)  So often these wounded dancers are there just to
    remember and listen to the music.  Having someone to say a few words
    to or smile at adds to their limited pleasure.
    
    This year at the boston Ball, I booked one dance.  I had walked diagonally
    across the hall to where Maurice Whitby was sitting, and, knowing he
    NEVER booked, asked him if he had any strathspeys free.  He replied that
    he was seriously debating doing one fast dance and would I consider
    Australian Ladies.  so a few dances later, we did AL.  I'm so glad.  A
    lasst dance with an old friend now deceased and that dance was one written
    by another old friend also deceased.
    
    
    > 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)?
    
    Back when women never asked men to dance with them, I found that the dance
    "down the middle and up" was ideal for finding a partner for the next
    dance.  On the way down, smile at your partner while dancing in  to
    take hands; next as you are both going down the center, look past him to
    the third man with a broad smile;  ditto man number four.  On the way back
    up, you can usually manage to smile at the third man again, and at the
    second man.  I found this system quite reliable.  And I feel sure that my
    partner ws using the same figure to assess his possibilities for the next
    dance. . .
    
    
    Getting back to the point made by Malcom, we can not only ask the dancers
    sitting out, but we can continue to dance with them -- and in a few
    years, find ourselves married to them.
    
    
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Priscilla Burrage       Vermont US
    (xxxxxxxx@xxx.xxx.xxx)
  • ...

    e.ferguson Oct. 13, 2001, 9:22 p.m. (Message 27876, in reply to message 27873)

    On 13 Oct 2001, at 11:57, Malcolm Brown wrote:
    
    > <...>  pre-booking <...> does ensure that the keen dancers get to
    > dance those dances that they want to dance <...> but <..>  other
    > people <...> get left on the sidelines because everyone else is
    > paired off! 
    
    As all Women are free to choose any partner, at the most one woman 
    could be left "unpaired" against her will.   But can any Men divulge 
    their strategy on how to avoid being left isolated as the available 
    ladies pair off in twos?  I have yet to see any men joining a set as 
    a two-man couple !
    
    Eric
    
    
    Eric T. Ferguson, van Dormaalstraat 15, NL-5624 KH  EINDHOVEN, Netherlands
    tel: (+31)(0)40-243 2878 fax:40-246 7036  e-mail: x.xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xx
  • ...

    Hollis Easter Oct. 13, 2001, 9:51 p.m. (Message 27877, in reply to message 27876)

    On Sat, 13 Oct 2001, Eric Ferguson wrote:
    
    > ladies pair off in twos?  I have yet to see any men joining a set as 
    > a two-man couple !
    
    This seems to be socially questionable, at least in the United States. It
    happens to me most often if I've gone off to get a drink of water and
    returned after the mass partner-choosing.
    
    At any rate, I've always gotten strange looks (and usually some
    disapproving ones) for doing this, which strikes me as a little bit sad. I
    don't think there's any method for avoiding it, though--dancers will
    disapprove according to their own values, and I have _no_ idea how to get
    that to stop :).
    
    Maybe they just don't like it because it messes up their internal dance
    patterning to see a 180-lb 5'11" gentleman dancing as a lady.
    
    Cheers,
    Hollis
  • ...

    Alan Paterson Oct. 14, 2001, 10:54 a.m. (Message 27884, in reply to message 27876)

    Eric Ferguson wrote:
    > 
    > On 13 Oct 2001, at 11:57, Malcolm Brown wrote:
    > 
    > > <...>  pre-booking <...> does ensure that the keen dancers get to
    > > dance those dances that they want to dance <...> but <..>  other
    > > people <...> get left on the sidelines because everyone else is
    > > paired off!
    > 
    > As all Women are free to choose any partner, at the most one woman
    > could be left "unpaired" against her will.   But can any Men divulge
    > their strategy on how to avoid being left isolated as the available
    > ladies pair off in twos?  I have yet to see any men joining a set as
    > a two-man couple !
    
    I have found myself doing that. Most often in class, where, as teacher,
    I am always last to be partnered, but it has happened at balls as well.
    
    Alan
  • ...

    Ken McFarland Oct. 13, 2001, 10:14 p.m. (Message 27878, in reply to message 27791)

    I completely support your open minded opinion Oberdan. If we expect dancers 
    to behave responsibly and courteously, and give them the information that 
    they need to make their own decisions, we should then keep out of their 
    personal business.
    
    Also, a real difference can be made by an MC. A pleasant reminder/s by the 
    MC to bring dancers in is usually honored by the dancers on the floor. As a 
    community, we could do better at training our MC's in how to present 
    inclusiveness. And to me, a reminder is just a reminder, not a wagging 
    finger.
    
    Ken McFarland
  • ...

    Ken McFarland Oct. 13, 2001, 10:30 p.m. (Message 27879, in reply to message 27791)

    >I have yet to see any men joining a set as a two-man couple !
    
    >Hollis wrote:
    >This seems to be socially questionable, at least in the United States. At 
    >any rate, I've always gotten strange looks (and usually some
    >disapproving ones) for doing this, which strikes me as a little bit sad.
    
    I disagree Hollis. I've danced in many communities in the US where it is 
    common (or at least not unheard of) for men to pair up. And I've rarely ever 
    seen any critical looks from the members.
    
    Ken McFarland
  • ...

    SnowshoeTS Oct. 14, 2001, 5:28 a.m. (Message 27882, in reply to message 27791)

    Hi
    
    In Minnesota  SCD (and also in most local folk-dance circles ) it is not 
    considered either unreasonable or unmanly for  a male to dance on the 
    "women's" side especially to fill out a set. The first time Idid so the only 
    problem was with the allemand-Iam 6'2'' tall and my partner (a very much less 
    experienced dancer) was about 5'4'' tall-slight adjustments in the beginning 
    made it work out well enough ;-}. The only disapproval seems to come from the 
    G***'s Aunties ( of either sex).
    
    The biggest problem seems to be that males don't dance on the complementary 
    side often enough so in complicated figures or "set melt downs"(not that we 
    EVER have those!!!!!) we tend to head for the men's side to sort things out 
    .This leads to attempts to break fundamental laws of physics!!!
    
    Kirk Bachler
    Twin Cities Branch,Minnesota,USA,RSCDS
    We have met the enemy and he is us.
  • ...

    Chris1Ronald Oct. 14, 2001, 6:59 a.m. (Message 27883, in reply to message 27791)

    In a message dated 10/13/2001 7:22:46 AM Eastern Daylight Time, 
    xxxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx writes:
    > 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.
    > 
    I've finally decided to plunge into this thread.  I've danced quite a bit in 
    the eastern US and Canada, as well as in a few parts of southern England, 
    continental Europe and even in Africa (Botswana and Zimbabwe) and India, and 
    I'm happy to say that I've never encountered the pre-booking phenomenon 
    (malaise) except in its mildest forms. And I hope I never will. (For example, 
    I have never seen dancers filling out their ball programmes with names 
    against each dance.)
    
    I would welcome advice (privately perhaps) about any black spots in the world 
    so far as pre-booking is concerned.  
    
    And, as for men dancing on the ladies side, this happens quite often at 
    Pinewoods (as you, Hollis, may recall) since there are often more men than 
    women doing SCD while the step classes are taking place. And I certainly 
    learned something dancing the allemande as a woman with a partner several 
    inches shorter than myself.
    
    Chris.
  • ...

    Andrew Buxton Oct. 15, 2001, 3:12 p.m. (Message 27887, in reply to message 27791)

    Has anyone in this debate defined what counts as "pre-booking"?  Does it
    mean before the end of the previous dance, or else at what stage of the
    "gap" between dances?  When a club is sitting together (as usually seems to
    happen) it is a bit embarassing to intrude in their huddle at the beginning
    of the "gap" to ask and then have to hang around with no seat - or do you go
    back to your own seat until the dance is called?
    
    Perhaps a better time is when people are walking back after the previous
    dance, but this conflicts with thanking one's partner and escorting her back
    to her seat.  I also like to make sure I've checked Pilling or the crib
    sheet before asking anyone for a dance I don't know well. If one waits until
    the next dance is announced and is then refused (e.g. because "I'm sitting
    this one out" or "I'm only doing Strathspeys") it is often too late to ask
    anyone else.
    
    I wonder if seeing men dance together would discourage some women from
    arranging to dance together?  I've never seen it (men dancing together) done
    outside of classes.
    
    Andrew Buxton
    Brighton, UK
    
    
    Eric Ferguson wrote:
    > 
    > On 13 Oct 2001, at 11:57, Malcolm Brown wrote:
    > 
    > > <...>  pre-booking <...> does ensure that the keen dancers get to
     > > dance those dances that they want to dance <...> but <..>  other
    > > people <...> get left on the sidelines because everyone else is
    > > paired off!
    > 
    > As all Women are free to choose any partner, at the most one woman
    > could be left "unpaired" against her will.   But can any Men divulge
    > their strategy on how to avoid being left isolated as the available
    > ladies pair off in twos?  I have yet to see any men joining a set as
    > a two-man couple !
    
    I have found myself doing that. Most often in class, where, as teacher,
    I am always last to be partnered, but it has happened at balls as well.
    
    Alan
    
    
    ---
    Andrew Buxton
    Information Systems Manager
    Institute of Development Studies
    University of Sussex
    BRIGHTON  BN1 9RE    
    
    Tel. (0)1273 678762     Fax. (0)1273 621202
    
    IDS is a charitable company no. 877338
  • ...

    dr.rockets Oct. 15, 2001, 9:41 p.m. (Message 27893, in reply to message 27791)

    Two days ago I was at the Houston, Texas ball and experienced the
    annoyance
    that pre-booking causes.  After each dance I would thank my partner,
    return to
    my seat, write her name down, and then go find a partner for the next
    dance.  
    Frequently I would have a difficult time finding a partner due to so many
    people
    finding partners right after the dance ended and even before looking at
    the dance
    listing to find out what was next.  So what I did was memorize the name
    of the 
    dance preceding the one I intended to take a restroom break for and left
    after it
    ended.  That way I knew that I didn't need to look at the dance roster to
    make 
    sure that I knew the dance well becuase I had arranged to be conveniently
    absent
    during the dance which I was not prepared for.  This way I could stay in
    the 
    middle of the dance floor the whole time and be sure to get the partner I
    wanted
    for the next dance.  It worked rather well and I got to dance with
    several of the 
    excellent dancers who were always taken previously.
    
    Jonathan Elder
  • ...

    dr.rockets Oct. 15, 2001, 9:41 p.m. (Message 27894, in reply to message 27791)

    Two days ago I was at the Houston, Texas ball and experienced the
    annoyance
    that pre-booking causes.  After each dance I would thank my partner,
    return to
    my seat, write her name down, and then go find a partner for the next
    dance.  
    Frequently I would have a difficult time finding a partner due to so many
    people
    finding partners right after the dance ended and even before looking at
    the dance
    listing to find out what was next.  So what I did was memorize the name
    of the 
    dance preceding the one I intended to take a restroom break for and left
    after it
    ended.  That way I knew that I didn't need to look at the dance roster to
    make 
    sure that I knew the dance well becuase I had arranged to be conveniently
    absent
    during the dance which I was not prepared for.  This way I could stay in
    the 
    middle of the dance floor the whole time and be sure to get the partner I
    wanted
    for the next dance.  It worked rather well and I got to dance with
    several of the 
    excellent dancers who were always taken previously.
    
    Jonathan Elder
  • ...

    Steve Wyrick Oct. 16, 2001, 3:52 a.m. (Message 27898, in reply to message 27894)

    xx.xxxxxxx@xxxx.xxx wrote:
    
    > This way I could stay in
    > the 
    > middle of the dance floor the whole time and be sure to get the partner I
    > wanted
    > for the next dance.  It worked rather well and I got to dance with
    > several of the 
    > excellent dancers who were always taken previously.
    
    Your strategy wouldn't have worked at our last monthly party because the
    announcers insisted on dancers clearing the floor between dances.   In our
    branch they do usually make a point of reminding dancers to escort their
    partners to the sidelines after each dance, which IMO is not only a courtesy
    but helps keep people from monopolizing partners and/or the prime dancing
    areas in the hall. -Steve
    -- 
    Steve Wyrick <xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxx.xxx> -- Concord, CA
  • ...

    Paula Jacobson Oct. 16, 2001, 5:50 a.m. (Message 27900, in reply to message 27791)

    Well, that which works for some, is a big problem for others. I dislike
    the "clearing of the floor" we have at our dances because I am not very tall
    (O.K., I'm really short) and when everyone gathers at the bottom of the
    hall,
    it becomes a big mob, one in which I become almost invisible. I've seen what
    I thought of as prospective partners looking right over my head to find some
    one to dance with. This can be very frustrating.
    
    Paula Jacobson
    Aptos, California

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