Total Equality

Genre(s)
Set formation
Difficulty
Music
32J/R
Written

Updated 23/6/2015.

This dance was written for a contra evening I was calling in Sheffield on the first day full gay marriage was introduced in England. It's very gender-neutral (the point being not to promote same-sex or opposite sex interactions over one another), and you swap roles with your partner each time through.  I recommend warning people of the nature of this dance before they find a partner!

A1 People on the right chain across (as ladies' chain) (3)
Same people meet palms to palms and push off backwards and slightly to the left (as in a ricochet hey) as the others step right behind them (2)
The others chain across, finishing meeting in the middle (3)
A2 Those in the middle (balance and) swing (8)
B1 Partner balance and swing and finish a random way around (8)
B2 Take hands in a ring of 4: balance the ring (2)
Pass through across, turning right to face back in (2)
Lines forward and back, sliding left one couple (4)

If you don't swap places with your partner during the partner swing, you'll end up the other way around at the beginning of the next time through. But that would only leave you able to dance with half the room; by randomly changing place with your partner during the partner swing, you can end up dancing with anyone. I'd call it without swapping places in the partner swing the first time (you'll need to call it twice because of the different roles and you want them the other way around for the second walkthrough) but during the second walkthrough you can introduce the option of changing places during the partner swing.

The A1 is quite tight but experienced dancers should be able to execute it and it's satisfying to do in the time allowed. However, done to this timing, there isn't really enough time for twirls, and some men like the opportunity to be twirled for a change! If the figure runs late though it's not a disaster – it just means that the balance and swing will start a bit later. Or alternatively you can simply call with more relaxed timing, potentially forgoing the balance before the swing when you meet in the middle. Up to you as a caller, based upon the people in the room – I'm still working out which I prefer.

There are various ways to handle a same-sex swing: either you quickly negotiate which side of the ballroom hold each person will take, or you can use a symmetric hold, such as right hand on the other person's right shoulder with left hand joined below. If you recommend a symmetric hold then it'll flow better with less negotiation time, although sometimes the ballroom hold can be fun too.

The first version of this dance didn't automatically cause you to switch places with your partner each time but I changed it to increase the amount of mixing!