pennsicdance: 2 venues?

David Learmonth david.a.learmonth at
Wed Aug 31 02:31:26 PDT 2005

Hello once more.  First I just wanted to say that I get this list in
digest form, so I am mostly up to date, but may not have seen all the
messages yet, so hopefully I won't be repeating anyone else in the

Ok, so firstly for this message I am NOT addressing OOP whatsoever.  I
do not see the purpose of the barn as for keeping OOP, and I think
that the OOP discussion should be a separate matter.

So on to the main discussion, whether to have 1 venue, or 2?  I think
that the entire purpose of having 2 venues is to satisfy a larger
portion of the dancers.  I believe that we have evolved to a point
where the advanced dancers would like a chance to try for a period
atmosphere, and/or parties which involve fairly little or no teaching.
 Meanwhile there are always new people and less experienced who would
like to dance as well, and there are those of us who don't mind
leading them through dances for at least some of our nights (and many
of us enjoy seeing them have a good experience).  I think that if we
all make both venues inviting, and avoid accidentally putting down
either group, then as a whole the 2 venues will get a larger number of
people dancing than just 1 venue would on its own.  I still think that
we should also have some cross-over, and to encourage people to come
to the parties if they are interested in the dance styles and
atmosphere desired, and that we should definitely have a beginner's
party for one of the nights, as suggested.

The other option is to just have 1 venue, as we used to before the
dance floor was built.  If we do, then we will just have to get the
balance right to satisfy the most dancers, however this may possibly
mean reducing the number of parties.  With 1 venue I am concerned that
some people may show up for a few nights, possibly hit the nights with
parties that they perhaps are not as interested in, and suddenly lose
the desire to come up and dance.  Of course good advertising can help
with this, but it is only a partial solution, as people may still be
"turned off" a bit upon hitting the wrong nights, or some may not see
the ads (I tend not to keep up with the schedule myself that often). 
I see it as a parallel to what happened to Maug.

So my final question is this:  How does all this relate to the days
before the dance floor was constructed?  I remember those days seemed
to work well, but then I may not have been quite as involved as I am
now.  I think that when we first built the floor, the natural idea
that arose in the first year was to have themed parties.  This made
sense, especially when the floor was small and could only cater to a
smaller group, thus it was a little experiment that worked well.  But
now we have this split arising.  Back when it was just the Barn, did
we have parties other than the masked ball???  How did we settle the
balance between teaching too much / too little during the dancing? 
Has our culture just grown in the past 5 years?  And can we actually
keep everyone happy in just 1 place each night?

If possible, I would really like discussion on these points, to get
better insight into what people felt it was like back then.  (as best
as possible without the "rose coloured glasses")

For myself, I Support 2 Venues.  I am not alone.  We do not want this
to be a Big Split, as I certainly want to play in both places.  I just
want to make sure that basically every night, there is dance available
for anyone at Pennsic who wants to dance.  I think that the growth of
the skilled dancers is the only issue, and that this is to provide
just a few nights where they can purely indulge in the pleasure of
these focused parties.  I do not think that we should have the 2
venues for every night of Pennsic, as this may drive people apart a
bit too much.  I think that the number of "Advanced focused" parties
should be limited, to help avoid this division, and that these nights
are the main time that we need the second venue.

I personally, if necessary, would be willing to help run Barn dance
during the fun advanced parties (for the nights I make it next year),
if it is the only way to keep the Barn.  I enjoy beyond measure the
chance to dance a whole evening with people who already know the
dances, so that we can just focus on the dance and our partners
themselves.  However I feel that strongly that making new people feel
welcome / giving them a venue is worth sacrificing that chance.

One final note.  Keeping dancers happy is important, but not
necessarily at the expense of teachers.  It is hard to tell someones
tone of voice in an Email, so even if you are trying to strongly argue
a point and not to compromise, perhaps you should re-read your message
before it is sent, to make certain that it does not sound like too
strong an attack.  Remember that we do not want to drive away teachers
and volunteers, as these constitute our life blood.  And yes, this
comment is directed to Domenico.  I am sorry to bring it up in a
public forum, but although I have seen your response, it appears from
some outsiders that your words carry malice.  I know that you may just
be arguing a point, as I realize that you have put great effort into
the dance parties, and may have been insulted inadvertently in this
discussion.  However Lorelei does not deserve this assault just for
championing this cause.   Please try to temper your words a bit.  And
I know that I may seem biased, however I am not the only one who has
noticed.  We all play significant roles in the dance community, and it
would be best if we can treat people with respect.

If I am mistaken, then I apologize.  I really do not want a schism
between dance factions, but I will stand up to protect the barn.  But
I am open to suggestions, and if people believe that we can cohabitate
in 1 location, and still get 90% or more of the dancers that we could
get with 2 locations, then we can consider it.  Either way, we should
limit the split as much as possible, and promote good will.  The dance
floor is an excellent achievement, and gives us the flexibility to
have a few parties, and really work to recreate the spirit of various
time periods.  We should take advantage of this, but should avoid
turning anyone away.  (I know that we don't intend to, but just that
some people do not care for certain styles of dance and such)

Sorry Dance-List.  I know some people might be annoyed with me now.  I
felt that it had to be said, and I apologize for the disrespect. 
Hopefully this discussion will simmer down, and I would really like to
see some comments just about how well we cohabitated 6+ years ago, and
what the dance structure and atmosphere was like.

Darius the Dancer

More information about the pennsicdance mailing list