My friend Lisa and I have birthdays mid-May, and we decided to celebrate each other with a free special dancing event. A potluck meal, followed by waltzing and contra dancing. When we started planning out the event in February, naturally the topic of “what colors to decorate with” came up. At the same time, we were thinking of terms used in gender-free dancing (where anyone is welcome to either role), and one set of terms is jets and rubies. Both are gemstones, black and red. Lisa had an idea to pick up strands of beads from the party supply store and wearing them as markers. So we had our colors and dancing role terms.
Next, I started laying out a flyer, thinking of a theme of playing cards, which have black and red suits, and we could be King and Queen of our birthday party. Lisa wasn’t a fan of decorating with black, and suggested blue. She also made the suggestion of using the suits of playing cards as gender-free terms. Gendered terms, men/women or gents/ladies, have a one and two syllable pattern. Our main caller for the dance, Linda Leslie, suggested the pair [hearts and diamonds], which fit the pattern nicely. And “who doesn’t like diamonds and hearts?” No objections here. It seemed to make more sense to have blue diamonds rather than blue hearts. That would be depressing.
Lisa invited our friend Chris Ricciotti to also call some dances. And we had some fantastic musicians Amy Richardson Larkin and Benjamin Foss. So I made playing cards for everybody. They were a big hit.
The event went off really well. Friends and family came from all over New England, and we had more guest callers, Linda’s husband Bob Golder, and her friend Jeremy Child who was visiting from England. One of Lisa’s friend’s lent me his crown to go with my red capelet.