At CDSS, our online and in-person program staff use a variety of calling terms, including gendered and non-gendered role terms, as well as positional language. We will be transparent about the terminology used in our programming to help participants find what they are looking for.

Non-gendered approaches to teaching and calling—including positional calling and non-gendered role terms—are established branches of the living traditions we love. Our programming that explores these branches is part of our mission to steward living traditions, and is in line with our core values of stewardship, creativity, innovation, and participation.

We hope our programs and resources will:

  • provide options to dancers for whom gendered or non-gendered language is a barrier to participation
  • create space and resources for individuals and organizations to explore calling options beyond gendered role terms
  • increase the number of non-gendered calling resources available in the wider world

CDSS Affiliates make their own decisions about terminology at their events. An affiliate’s choice of terminology for teaching and calling has no impact on the support and resources we provide to them. We are committed to serving all our affiliates because thriving local dance communities are essential to the living traditions we steward.

In this episode of From the Mic, we head to northern California for a conversation with the wonderful Susan Petrick. An avid dancer for many years, Susan started calling for contra dances in 2000 and teaching couple dances, including waltz, cross-step waltz, and hambo, shortly thereafter. She is known for her clear teaching, efficient guidance, and expert pacing, making even complex dances accessible to all.

The Fall 2023 CDSS News is now available! Hear how Hoggetowne Fancy keeps ECD music fresh in Florida; play a tune in remembrance of Rosemary Lach; dance online with Symmetry ECD; learn how the CDSS Educators Task Group is bringing dance, music, and song to the next generation; and much more.

John Dexter—morris dancer, musician, teacher, fearless leader and guiding light of New York City’s Bouwerie Boys—passed quietly from this world in May 2023, leaving behind a 50-year legacy of incalculable breadth. Thank you, John! Thank you for the legacy of your years of dancing, playing, and teaching, and for your generous legacy gift, which will help CDSS to flourish this year and well into the future. Read more about John and his gift to CDSS.

In this episode of From the Mic, Mary speaks with Catherine Burns, who has been at the heart of the Ottawa contra dance scene for decades. In the early 1980s, Catherine worked alongside her husband, Gord Peeling, who helped form the Old Sod Folk Music Society with musician Ian Robb. In the late 90s, she encountered contra dancing and became Ottawa’s house caller—and the rest is history.

Judy Cook introduces “Cock Robin.” The identity of the murderer of Cock Robin may not be a mystery (spoiler: it was the sparrow), but the origins of the British-American folk song certainly are.

Margaret Nelson introduces “Dives and Lazarus.” This traditional folk song retells the parable of a rich man who refused to give food and comfort to a beggar at his door.