CALLERLAB Position Paper
(December 1999)

During the 2000 CALLERLAB convention in Las Vegas, NV a Position Paper on a proposed dress code was presented to the membership for a vote. This Position Paper was approved by the convention attendees. The vote to approve the Position Paper was not rescinded by the membership during a mail ballot on this issue. The following is that Position Paper.

For many years now square dance leaders have debated the issue of square dancing attire. In 1991 LEGACY adopted a resolution to update the dress code and provide guidance and flexibility in the choices of dress and skirt style. The resolution considered square dance image problems, general preference for more comfort in recreational wear and the high cost of square dance attire as primary reasons for change. In May of this year the National Council of Square Dance Organizations (NCSDO) proposed modifying the definition of square dance attire and presented this proposal for consideration. Many organizations have been debating this issue and there seems to be strong sentiment on each side.

The CALLERLAB Board of Governors has debated the issue and realizes that there exists a great potential for dividing dancers by mandating a more relaxed square dance attire to all participants and events. Therefore, CALLERLAB recommends the following compromise to the issue of square dance attire:

Whereas, "traditional" square dance attire provides a connection to the history of our activity, adds to the visual enjoyment of participants and spectators, enhances individual dancer styling included in individual calls, and provides for the protection and mutual comfort of dancers (i.e., shoes, long sleeved shirts, etc.), we support the choice of dancers, clubs and festivals selecting "traditional" as appropriate attire.

Whereas, traditional attire can at times be an inconvenience to dancers, and even deter people from joining and/or participating altogether, we support the choice of dancers, clubs and festivals selecting the NCSDO proposal of "proper" square dance attire, which would include dress slacks and dress jeans for men and women and short sleeved dress shirts for men. It should be noted that even if an event is advertised as "proper" attire, "traditional" attire is always appropriate.

Whereas, proper attire may allow for a myriad of choices, there may be times when traveling, weather and other conditions would discourage dancers from following either traditional or proper dress codes. In that event, leaders are encouraged to advertise those dances / sessions / festivals, etc. as "casual" attire. It should be noted that if an event is advertised as "casual" attire, "traditional" and "proper" attire are always appropriate.

We encourage clubs and leaders who run special dances and weekend festivals to specify "traditional attire", "proper attire", or "casual attire" to their individual dances, sessions and events. We further support a policy of tolerance and encourage all Square dance leaders and participants to embrace the joys of friendship, sociability, and fun, first and foremost in whatever extent of participation they enjoy.

See also http://eaasdc.de/bulletin/b0006a.htm

And here you find a sample of Casual Attire at a Contra Dance in the States, where this is the norm.
(I borrowed the picture from Andy McCurdy at Butterball)

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Published 2008-05-20   /   Heiner Fischle, Hannover, Germany