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LGBTQ wedding dance language

Welcome back from a weekend that sounds like it was hell. I camped out in a glen with no signal, thank dog, but now I’m having the usual “what... what HAPPENED???” that I get every time I emerge.

Anyway, I’m back with a language etiquette question, which has to do with LGBT inclusiveness. I may be overthinking this but in the event that I’m not, I would like to know what adjustments I should be advising.

Here’s the situation. My band is playing the dance set for a wedding next month and it has just come to my attention that the happy couple are lesbian. This changes nothing about what I personally do (play noisy music that people dance to), but DOES potentially change the things that the dance caller says. For context: for weddings, we play a style of traditional Scottish party dance (called ceilidh, pronounced kaylee). Much like in square dancing or contradancing, there is a walkthrough done before each dance in which our caller teaches the dance and walks all the players through the steps. Since most of these dances are really old, they are all called for male and female partnerings, with that mention coming up quite often - you might hear a lot of “men on the right, women partners on the left,” or “the lady turns under the gentleman’s arm for eight,” for example. Obviously people mix it up allllllll the time, and women dancing with other women is commonplace. In this regard, our caller usually says “Those dancing as a man, do bla bla bla,” or whatever. That’s pretty standard.


This may be the cishet privilege apologist in me, but I kind of would like to do better than “So, people dancing as a man...” if the wedding is for a lesbian couple and includes a lot of LGBTQ guests. (Also, one of the things we take pride in as a band is that we tailor our performances to the event in question, like arranging and teaching a random Austrian folk dance for a wedding between a Scottish woman and an Austrian man.)

I’ve found a few groups that advertise “gender-free contradance” calling in the US, but no posted advice about the language the dance caller should use, and I’ve never heard of “gender-free ceilidh calling” in Scotland. So I’m not really sure what to tell our caller. I do want to tell her SOMETHING; she’s a baby-boomer and quite progressive in political respects, but may be more small-c conservative in her preferred language when calling historical dances, so if her approach could be improved, now’s the time to prep her.

So I guess my questions are:

-If you are LGBTQ, how would you feel about the default style of dance calling? Would you prefer it be updated to be more inclusive, or is this not a real issue?

-Does anyone know of any LGBTQ-inclusive contradance, square dance, line dance, whatever-dance calling guidelines specifically directed at dance callers?

-Does anyone know of any actual thinkpieces on this question that I should give to our caller to read, in the event that she needs any convincing?

Thanks in advance.


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