This is Brian Barakauskas the event director of Derby City Swing. I wanted to touch base about the degendering of west coast swing and specifically our event Derby City Swing.
From 2014-2017 Derby City Swing had traditional roles for its Jack & Jill competition. (male lead and female follow)
Growing up outside Cambridge Massachusetts and being a dancer for 20 years, the issue of non traditional dance roles was not a problem at all for me personally. Heck I took my first WCS group class in the 1990’s with a male friend as a my partner. (he was too tall for me but I made due)
However for the first several years of our event, I decided to stick to traditional roles for our Jack & Jill contests. (all other divisions were degendered from the start) Perhaps it was instinct, or figuring it was just the ‘right call’ for the geographical location of our event but thats where we started. (Louisville KY)
However after listening to the discussions in our community on the subject we have decided to degender west coast swing at Derby City Swing. All of our contests will allow dancers to chose their own roles, lead or follow!
As a World Swing Dance Council (WSDC) event we will follow their rules on the subject with regard to Jack & Jill points. Its a good idea to always keep a close look at their site and the posted rules as things do change from time to time.
I take my role as event director and host at Derby City Swing very seriously. Our team plays host to 600+ west coast swing dancers from around the country and world. We strive to be good stewards of our dance community, and gracious hosts to the dancers visiting our city.
I hope to see you on the dance floor!
All my best,
PS I love my city of Louisville and and our event. If you ever attend Derby City Swing, you will not only be attending a great WCS event, but we will do our best to share with you the culture of the Kentucky Derby as well!