pennsicdance: final thoughts from the peanut gallery

Sean D. Sorrentino sdsorrentino at
Tue Aug 30 07:52:46 PDT 2005

>> Rotten atmosphere, bad floor, awful acoustics

>There are plenty of dancers in the barn that feel 
>the snubbing they've received in the tent counts as 
>a 'rotten atmosphere'. 

Who was snubbed? When and by whom? Without names
attached, this is simply rumor mill stuff. 

>As for myself- the slope that floor sits on did a 
>HORRIBLE number to my feet, knees, and back 2 years 

The bottom third on the south side is sloped as
bulldozers run in the $500 an hour range, we must do
the best we can with this problem. Please ask your
dance partners to dance with you on the upper, flatter
part of the floor, near the band shell.

>> We can increase the communication all we want, 
>> but if the two sides are talking past each other, 
>> what good is it?

>As near as I can tell- you and I are the only ones 
>on the list that are talking past each.

>You have nearly turned all of my posts around into 
>something negative, something to be sneered at- no 
>matter how positive I've tried to stay and moderate 
>and fair to all sides of all the arguments.

This is not what is meant by “talking past.” I am not
talking past you. Each time you bring up a point, I
address it. I think that you keep offering
“compromises” which are really just a restatement of
your original proposal. I am not making any attempt to
compromise. I have stated my opinion and I am
defending that position by addressing your arguments
individually and collectively. My position may be
strongly opposed to yours, and it may not be adopted.
Some compromise may be forced upon me. But I do not
pretend to be a moderate in this discussion. Listening
and responding to your arguments is not talking past
you. Simply restating and rephrasing is. And prior to
this, that is exactly what you have done. 

> I said we tried an experiment 
>this year with taking out the midnight rule 
>publicly.  It was an experiment only. 

Where was it in your authority to experiment with the
agreed upon ground rules with no consultation? 

>The only people complaining about it are some of 
>the ones on the list. NOT the ones who were in the 
>barn enjoying themselves- who aren't represented on 
>the list.

This is argument by irrelevant authority. You pretend
that there is some large group of people that you
represent. I represent me. Others may feel free to
agree or not with me but I do not claim the backing of
some “silent majority.”

>> We are a medieval and renaissance re-enactment
>> group, not a US colonial and revolutionary war 
>> one.

>But, I think, gradual evolution and elimination 
>will serve the dance community 

When you dock the tail of a dog, do you try to ease
him into the idea by cutting off only one inch a day
until it is finished? Or do you traumatize him just
once and cut it all of at one time. 

Let’s try a thought experiment. Suppose that after all
these years of independence, we decide that the
British had the right idea about which side of the
road to drive a car. Suppose the President announces
that on Monday, all cars will shift to the left side.
If that works ok for a week, next Monday, the trucks
and busses will shift over as well. 

I think one traumatic break and it is all over.
Stretching the argument out over years serves no one.

>> I would like to find out what the real 
>> motivations of those who are trying to 
>> "reinvigorate" the dancing in the barn really

>I stated them.  You already rejected several of 
>these arguments as irrelevant. And NONE of the 
>arguments were so we could keep OOP alive.
>- The core group of dancers in the barn are as 
>social with each other as core group of the dancers 
>in the tent. 
>- Dancing in the barn is visible as a way dance in 
>the tent is not
>- it's good advertisement for dance in general. – 
>Some people do not like the tent for dancing for a 
>variety of reasons; including bad experiences with 
>dancers in the tent and the slope in the floor. 
>- It’s a way to involve the puppy-pile of teenagers, 
>and sends the adult RPGrs back to their own camps.  
>Dancers also keep the barn neater then either of 
>those groups which keeps the Pennsic staff happier. 
>- If it's listed in the Pennsic book as being run 
>by dance staff, then someone from the dance staff 
>should run it.  BTW - I was thanked many times for
>stepping up from people ON the dance staff, as well 
>as dancers in the barn.

That’s because the arguments ARE irrelevant. 

I cannot believe that interfering with puppy piles and
RPG’s is suggested as a motivation, much less as a
serious one. Those who will dance will find us in the
tent if they are not hijacked first by those in the
barn. I have already addressed the “snobby” dancers
issue. A cleaner barn is a side effect, not a reason
to dance there. And we could just as easily stop
announcing dance in the Barn. Of course you were
thanked for you efforts. You did a job. We don’t pay
money, so you have to take your pay in goodwill. 

>Overall - most people seem to believe that having 
>the 2 venues is a good thing, 

Who is this “most people?” I think that it should end
and the split ended with it. Each person who goes to
the barn to dance could just as easily take a turn in
the tent. I figure that if I qualify to run (2!) dance
parties, surely the standards are not that high.
Certainly you could ask for an evening.

>> I can't help but think that there
>> are some who want to keep the GOOP dances alive, 
>> and are deliberately splitting the group to do 

>- It's the story of a friend of mine, nearly in 
>tears, told me about having her nicer, all be it 
>not Italian garb, sized up by dancers she 
>approached during the Italian 15c party- and 
>bluntly turned down when she was looking for a 
>partner for a few of her favorite dances. 

By whom? I was on guard duty at my camp Thursday, so I
did not see it. Two points. Firstly, this behavior is
rude and deserves a response. Secondly, in life, some
people will treat you poorly and you have to suck it
up and drive on. Tell your friend the same thing that
my mom would have (and did) tell me. Don’t let other
people’s rudeness wreck your good time. Living well is
the best revenge.

>> also appears to be an element of ego, as if there 
>> are people who don't feel that they are "winning" 
>> when they play with the dancers in the tent, so 
>>they are starting their own club.

>I'm not quite sure where you’re getting that from 
>what I've written. What have you heard/read that 
>leads you to this analysis?

Since none of your arguments make sense to me, I am
left with the impression of someone stamping her feet
and saying in effect “I’m not going to play with you
guys any more.” You appear to me as if you have
decided to start a parallel organization. Generally
the reason for that sort of maneuver is control.
Frankly, I think that the game we are playing is big
enough to accommodate you. Why you need to start your
own game escapes me. 

Sean Sorrentino
sean at
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