Why Larks and Ravens?
August 10-12, 2018 in San Francisco, CA

For the Saturday 2:30pm session:

We will use "Larks" and "Ravens" for the two dance roles.

Gender-free terms are more inclusive, and indicate that anyone can dance either role, with whomever they'd like to dance with.

If you've been to dances that use "gents and ladies", the "lark" is the same role as "gent", and the "raven" is the same role as "lady".

Larks are on the LEFT to begin the dance and end the swing.
Ravens do the same on the RIGHT.

Why use the terms Larks and Ravens?

  1. Because we want to use terms that do not have gendered associations.

  2. Using Ladies and Gents as terms for dance roles is unwelcoming to LGBT dancers because it sends the message that only opposite sex pairs are acceptable and normal.

  3. Many dancers with injuries choose to dance a role based on what hurts less, not based on who they are.

  4. It sends a message that any two people can dance together, regardless of their gender identity.

  5. Lark and Left begin with the same letter, as do Raven and Right.   Larks are on the Left to begin the dance and end the swing, and Ravens do the same on the Right.

  6. Dancing both roles makes you a better dancer and gives you more partner choices.

  7. Dancing a new role and both roles increases neural activity, which makes your brain & body healthier.  

  8. Recognizing there is debate about whether or not Contra inherently has “Lead/Follow” roles, using Larks/Ravens allows the possibility of anyone leading flourishes.  

  9. Gents & Larks are single syllables.   Ladies & Ravens are double syllables. So it’s is similar for callers to fit into their calling.

  10. When more people dance both roles, it can decrease the folks sitting out due to “gender imbalance”.

Helpful hints for trying the new roles your first time:

  1. Dance only one role during the session.  

  2. Repeat your role name frequently during the walk thru, “I’m a Lark, Lark, Lark”

  3. Write Lark on your Left hand or Raven on your Right hand.  

  4. Remember that changes take some getting used to.  One session is just a trial, but after a few times it starts to feel normal.