What Should the Rules be for Same-Sex Couples in Mixed Couples Events

stash

Well-Known Member
#1
This seems to be a hot topic in the National Collegiate Comp thread, so I decided to make a new one so that one stays on topic. And the question that was raised over there is would same-sex couples be allowed to switch roles half-way through a song like they normally would at a same sex competition, or will they be forced to conform to what has been the unspoken rule in mixed couple events where one would remain the lead and one would remain the follow.

I personally don't care if they switch or not. I know some people have mentioned that it is a distraction on the floor, but lets be honest, there are lots of distractions out there while on the dance floor. As a good competitor you need to focus on you and block out any distractions that may impede your dancing, in my humble opinion.

As for the fairness, I don't think that a judge would mark them back just because they switch roles. I believe a judge would call them back because they meet the criteria the judge has in his/her head. If they don't dance well (switching or no switching) they will not get called back.

So in mind, I think they should be allowed to switch. Though I want to see what everyone else thinks as well.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#2
No switching. In this case, I think the same-sex couples in collegiate and USADance should adhere to the current customs in those competitions. I also think it's very exciting that same-sex couples will be allowed in the USA Dance comps.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#3
If lead switching were allowed, then each partner would have to wear a number. From the USA Dance Rulebook

"5.3.3.5 Provide lead competitors with a three (3) digit number. Competitors are prohibited from altering the number provided by organizers."

Role switching would make judge's scoring difficult. Does each leader of the couple get a mark, and only for the part where they lead? What if they don't switch roles?

OTOH, this rule doesn't say that the man has to be the leader.
 

stash

Well-Known Member
#4
If lead switching were allowed, then each partner would have to wear a number. From the USA Dance Rulebook

"5.3.3.5 Provide lead competitors with a three (3) digit number. Competitors are prohibited from altering the number provided by organizers."

Role switching would make judge's scoring difficult. Does each leader of the couple get a mark, and only for the part where they lead? What if they don't switch roles?

OTOH, this rule doesn't say that the man has to be the leader.

Theoretically, (I think), if they allowed roll switching, I could see the rule being changed the couple would be assigned the number and one person must be wearing the number.

The only time I have seen a couple have 2 different numbers would be Jack and Jills in West Coast Swing Events, where each person is being judged separately.
 

stash

Well-Known Member
#6
I was thinking of that myself. And honestly I don't have a good answer for that as I have not danced same-sex myself. Maybe @dlliba10 could shed some light on to this.

I also don't think it should matter whether or not the judge is judging the couple based on whom is leading whom. Good dancing is good dancing, whether your a leading or following.
 

dbk

Well-Known Member
#7
From what I've been told about judging, judges have maybe ten seconds for each couple... I doubt they're worried about whether the couples have switched, how well they've done it, etc. any more than they worry about what steps were included in the choreo.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#8
Do collegiate comps judge leaders and followers separately? If not, I say let them switch. It's cool. It shows greater mastery if you can do both parts equally well.
 

suburbaknght

Well-Known Member
#9
I love same-sex competition and have enjoyed participating in same-sex comps in the past, and I'm glad same-sex couples can dance in collegiate comps (and USA Dance if I'm reading this right). That said, I don't want them to be able to switch leads partway through a dance as it gives same-sex couples choreographic options that mixed-gender couples in traditional roles don't have. Or allow everyone to switch roles. The best solution would be to take gender out of the question entirely.
 

mindputtee

Well-Known Member
#13
That said, I don't want them to be able to switch leads partway through a dance as it gives same-sex couples choreographic options that mixed-gender couples in traditional roles don't have.
That. I don't favor getting rid of the traditional roles entirely though. They are a significant part of the history, tradition, and identity of ballroom.
 

Mengu

Well-Known Member
#14
If same sex couples were allowed to switch roles, then I'd want opposite sex couples to be allowed to switch roles... Only seems fair.

It seems there would be a number of opportunities in syllabus to change roles if you wanted. For instance one could lead the first half of a reverse turn, then follow a double reverse spin, or follow a three step, then lead an open impetus.
 

snapdancer

Well-Known Member
#15
It seems there would be a number of opportunities in syllabus to change roles if you wanted. For instance one could lead the first half of a reverse turn, then follow a double reverse spin, or follow a three step, then lead an open impetus.
When/how is the frame reconfigured for the swap in leads?
 

stash

Well-Known Member
#16
I agree, if same-sex should be allowed to switch roles, mixed-sexed should be allowed. But it shouldn't be required of the couples either. But I don't see why it can't be a valid option for anyone. Just you have to stick to the syllabus when in syllabus levels, but that doesn't mean you have to do all the syllabus legal figures to make it to the final.


That. I don't favor getting rid of the traditional roles entirely though. They are a significant part of the history, tradition, and identity of ballroom.
Then why have same-sex at all in ballroom, because that completely undermines the identity of ballroom as you see it?
 

mindputtee

Well-Known Member
#17
Don't put words in my mouth. I disagree completely. The identity of ballroom, in my mind, is two roles, not two genders. I have led a few times in competitions and in social dances and don't see that as compromising the identity of ballroom. The point is, when you are switching roles the dance will inevitably become more choreographed and less the conversation of suggestion and response. When one person is always the suggester, there is less room for confusion and mixed signals. If same sex couples wants to both lead and follow, why not switch after an entire dance rather than in the middle of a dance?
 

Mengu

Well-Known Member
#18
When/how is the frame reconfigured for the swap in leads?
Whenever, however it's comfortable. No rules for this stuff. Easiest may be to bring arms into practice hold and then switch, over a bar of music, but anything goes. You could go into some pivots, switch to a smooth-like hold with each partner's right hand on the other's back, and come out with switched roles.
 
#19
For syllabus-level categories, what would be the legal figures to transition roles?
Here's a seamless bit of choreography that involves switching roles in international foxtrot - feather step, reverse turn, (switch roles), three step. Or without changing the dangly bits that come off my shoulders, it would be - feather step, reverse turn, reverse wave.
 

stash

Well-Known Member
#20
Don't put words in my mouth. I disagree completely. The identity of ballroom, in my mind, is two roles, not two genders. I have led a few times in competitions and in social dances and don't see that as compromising the identity of ballroom. The point is, when you are switching roles the dance will inevitably become more choreographed and less the conversation of suggestion and response. When one person is always the suggester, there is less room for confusion and mixed signals. If same sex couples wants to both lead and follow, why not switch after an entire dance rather than in the middle of a dance?
I'm sorry for putting words in your mouth. I guess to me it does not matter when people switch, and let them switch when they want. With enough practice, I highly doubt mix signals will occur during switching. Neither of us have first hand experience with this (though please correct me if I am wrong), but how I would imagine it is that the roles do switch fully where one person goes from complete follow to complete lead when that transition occurs.

And every partnership is different. I have talked to "follows" that feel like they lead more in the partnership, especially during competition, than their leaders do. Just because outward appearance says that the leader is leading, doesn't mean that is always true.
 

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