Our beautiful signage at night, 2018
PDA Culture 2
What We’re About 2
Partner Dance: What We Contribute And Why 3
You as part of PDA 5
Communication Style 6
Execution > Talk 6
Camp Location and Vital Information Links 7
Your 2018 Camp Leads 8
Team Circles 9
Shade Structures 11
RSRPG (Razor Pig) 12
Kitchen and Meal Plan 12
Meal Plan Basics 13
Additional Meal Plan Details 13
Hot Water 13
Power Management 14
Medical Help 14
Your Gear 15
Striking Camp 16
About People 17
About Money 17
Camp Dues 18
Food Plan 18
Tickets and Vehicle Passes 18
Directed Group Sale (DGS) 18
If you are not participating in DGS: 19
If you are participating in DGS: 19
Partner Dance Adventures 2019 Camper Information v.1.0
The purpose of this document is twofold.
For those considering applying to PDA, it should help you understand
The high-level overview is in the first section of the doc. From the Arrival section onward, you’ll get a fairly detailed narrative of your week-plus at PDA, and at the end there’s detail about exact work responsibilities.
For those who are confirmed to be camping with PDA in 2019, it should provide a comprehensive reference about our logistics, specific obligations, and life support systems. We expect all campers to have read in its entirety, and to reference this doc when questions arise.
Partner Dance Adventures exists to connect two communities to each other’s values: we offer the citizens of Black Rock City an opportunity to experience the connection and magic of partner dance, and expose partner dancers to the magical community that is Burning Man.
We believe that this mission as a camp is an important contribution to the mission of Burning Man as a whole, and the Burning Man Organization (BMORG) agrees. Since PDA’s inception as Tango’d Up In Blues, we’ve been placed on Center Camp’s inner circle, one of the most accessible and visible locations in Black Rock City. We’re very serious about not only following the Principles of Burning Man but bringing to the playa the best offering we possibly can.
Amazing Lindy instructors Dorry and Holly demonstrate to their enthusiastic students, 2018. Photo credit: Deanna Loh (Toki)
We make three specific contributions to the City:
Human beings crave connection with other human beings. Partner dance is transformative in this regard. Our camp exists to share our love for connection with each other and with the music, so we bring that love. Hard.
PDA strives to improve its offering, Burn after Burn. Our campers enjoy some form of partner dance and want to share their experience. While we have official teacher spots and supervised practices, if you’re not teaching, you can and should bring your dance enthusiasm to Black Rock City:
If one person falls in love with dancing because of a contribution you made, then you won at Burning Man!
PDA Crew taking a break from build for a celebratory dance party in front of camp, 2018. Photo credit: Bryan Dowse (Hologram)
Our gift to Burners is partner dance, and anything you can do to elevate that experience is appreciated. PDA Campers must:
We welcome your ideas for how to improve Partner Dance Adventures, and we recognize that ideas are worthless unless well researched, planned and executed. Understand many of us are already working on a handful of projects. The more research and energy you bring with the idea, the less research and energy other busy campers have to put in, and the more likely it is to be carried to completion. If you want it, make it so.
Also known as “virgins”. You may be overwhelmed and feel out of place or not sure what to do. That’s ok. Your Leads have been down this dusty road and have developed systems to get us through a chaotic environment with aplomb. If you’re not a self-starter or not sure how to be useful, get comfortable with taking orders or better yet, ask where you can be helpful.
We love you for it.
Dinnertime meetings will be a good place for you to touch base and gain understanding about the day (and days) to come.
Our location in 2018 was Center Camp & 2:30
Our 2018 MOOP score was all green (great work bitter-end strikers!), so we expect a similar location this year. We’ll update once we get our placement for this year!
Everything in this document assumes that you already know everything in the Burning Man Survival Guide: http://survival.burningman.org.
And that you’re reading and subscribed to the BM Newsletter: http://burningman.org/culture/stories/jrs/
Most of the information in the two sources above will not be repeated in this document. Remember that we practice Radical Self-Reliance and it is every individual camper’s responsibility to learn how to survive at Burning Man and follow the Ten Principles.
And I highly recommend reading this short article that gets to the heart of what Burning Man is all about.
We’ll keep this list up to date as more of our leadership emerges! Here are the rockstars we have so far!
Laura Boddorff (Tractor)
Camp Lead - Logistics, Strike Lead
David Stellar (Capt Mango)
Build Lead, Power, Decommodification Officer
Ramsey Ness (Peacock)
Accounting and Tickets
Telind Bench (Tail-End)
Kitchen & Meal Plan
Michelle Giffin (Ziptie)
Placement & Arrival
Seth Helsley (Biscuit)
Dorry Segev (Magic Hands)
Building a sustainable camp involves your participation! The work involved in making PDA happen is accomplished by Circles of PDA Campers, each Circle working on a specific topic. If you’re familiar with unconference formats, these are like birds-of-a-feather groups.
We want your enthusiasm, skills, and active participation in one of these Circles to help make camp awesome. As a member of one of PDA’s Circles, you’ll work with one of our camp leads to:
Laura’s in charge of all the leads of all the circles. She’s the lead of the circle lead circle.
You’re involved in helping design & build PDA, oversee our power + internet + sound systems, and coordinate strike.
If you’re a great technician, problem solver, or simply excited to jump in and learn, we need your help!
You’re helping with camper applications, camp roster, coordinating dance classes + events, and the logistics of transporting our physical structures/supplies.
If you’re a wiz with spreadsheets, love talking to people, or have a knack for organization, Event Wizards could use your skills!
You help integrate new PDA campers, prepare virgins for an awesome introduction to the playa, and bring PDA campers closer together.
Please join if you love community building and creating experiences for others.
You’re overseeing our camp budget, dues, reimbursements, DGS/WA ticket pool.
Finance Kings could use help from accounting-minded and highly organized folks.
You’re taking charge of one of camp’s most important jobs - managing logistics around PDA’s burn barrel, compost, recyclables, landfill trash, and grey water.
You have a vital role in helping make sure camp is fed and the kitchen is up and running!
From pre-burn food shopping, to setting up kitchen, to meal planning & management - we need folks who love food.
You’re helping PDA stay fresh by running our showers and steam bath!
If you love to gift wonderful experiences to others, this is the job for you.
You help run PDA’s website, media presence, and marketing activities on-playa (announcements, schedule flyers).
If you’re a marketing guru, are amazing with social media, or love getting burners into our classes - help with Marketing Gurus!
Grand Poobahs of Placement
Michelle Giffin (Ziptie)
You’re in charge of setting up PDA’s camp layout, and helping with camper arrival.
If you have special skills in mapping, or in giving folks a warm welcome, join Grand Poobahs of Placement!
You’re keeping folks safe, by either standing in as a go-to medic or knowing what to do if someone is injured.
If you love caring for folks, or have medical training, please join Medic!
Ministry of Information
You’re keeping PDA Campers on the same page, by writing and editing policy documents like this one, e-mails, & Facebook posts aimed for campers and potential campers.
Part of our camp culture is “Take care of yourselves, then take care of each other, then take care of other Burners”. It’s a trek to get to Black Rock City and people often arrive exhausted. Make sure you take care of yourselves (hydrate, eat, sunblock, maybe sleep) before jumping into camp build or other duties.
We know what’s going where before we get on playa. Our camp is quite large and we must be efficient with our layout. We have Grand Poobahs of Placement and Arrival who allocate space for all campers, both in our camp-supplied shade structure, and in the Radical Self Reliance Proving Grounds (RSRPG or “Razor Pig”). If you don’t know where to set up upon arrival, ask for help. Space is precious and every square foot has probably been allotted for something, and having to move after setting up your stuff sucks for all involved.
Your placement team: Find us before making your permanent home. (We understand if you arrive very late/early and you need to rest. Pop your tent and crash, but check in with anyone of the below people to find your home for the week.
We are providing shade for our tent campers and it is possible that we may run out of PDA-supplied shade. We’ll know more closer to the Burn. You can help us out by making an accurate space request either when you apply to camp with us, or by contacting Michelle Giffin directly. We will have a general map the common shade structure as well as camp amenities will be placed, so give us accurate dimensions when making your request, and check in prior to putting all your gear into your tent. Thank you in advance from Grand Poobah of Placement and Arrival (G-PoPA).
For “that one person”:
SIDE NOTE: Shade structures may be taken down during Strike on Sunday before you leave Burning Man, so your last day may be unshaded.
This is an acronym for the Radical Self Reliance Proving Grounds, the area of PDA where campers provide their own camp shade, camper, trailer, yurt, whatever. In years past, it’s been kind of a free-for-all back there; but these days, as PDA grows ever larger, we create a basic layout for that area. When requesting space in the Razor Pig, be mindful of how much area you’re taking up for how many people you are. For example, a 16 foot yurt with 5 foot guy wires radiating off it is actually a 26 foot diameter, 530 square foot trip hazard and not likely to be placed in PDA. Again, be warned, “that one person”.
Parked cars figure last in our limited allocation of Center Camp real estate. In 2018 we had space due to our placement along A street BUT there is a possibility that we may have to park outside camp. If so, there will be a plan and the Grand Poobah of Placement and Arrival will tell you what is going on. Arrive at camp, offload your gear and talk to placement. If for some reason the GPoPA has determined that an off site parking is needed the team will have dash signage printed for you.
NOTE: always bring a spare key, there are locksmiths on the playa but be prepared to sit by your car for most of the day if you get locked out of your vehicle.
Again, Dinner Will Occur Every Day at Sunset, Monday through Sunday.
The start of dinner will be our daily camp meeting. If we have important announcements and updates, they will be presented then. Without phones or any other time when we are all guaranteed to be in camp, this is a very important channel of information. This is the way leads notify campers of key changes on-playa, and you want to know this information! Also, there will be food, and some fun community games.
If you're signed up for a dinner shift, talk to your meal lead to know when to show up. A good rule is 2 hours, or two fists held between the sun and the top of the mountain it's falling towards. Be sure to hold your fists at arm's length! For Prep shifts (chopping, etc), make it 3 hours. Chefs, talk to your people and tell them when you'd like to see them!
Snacks and general food supplies are up for grabs at all hours. Food that is reserved for dinners will be clearly marked and separated. Feel free to make extra of whatever you're making, as there are always hungry campers around the corner. Our kitchen feeds 40-60 campers so clean up after yourself and put your supplies away when you're done. Do not leave anything on the fridge/freezer, we hate clutter and wasted items.
Making hot water for personal use (coffee, tea, etc.) is allowed BUT ONLY using our tea kettles. Every burn, somebody forgets to turn off propane tanks, or wanders off and lets a pot boil dry till it melts (huge safety hazards). Furthermore, using propane to heat water for small batches of tea/coffee risks depleting propane necessary for meals.
Summary: use the kettles!!! We thank you.
We have power at camp thanks to the Burning Man Organization. You may use the power grid for personal use, under the guidelines below. Camp power needs have priority. In general, you should not have to depend on the power for your basic survival at Burning Man. Any questions should be directed to our power management lead, Dave Stellar.
You should pack a first aid kit and be able to treat basic issues. While we may have medical staff in camp, if you have an emergency, you should go to a Burning Man aid station or flag a Black Rock Ranger. Pack a small med kit for minor cuts, bumps and pains.
Bring whatever you like, but NOTHING gets left. No tents, definitely no yurts, no vehicles, no rebar, no lag screws, and no MOOP. Yellow Bike camp will accept donated Huffy Cranbrooks.
Don’t bring anything to playa you think you’ll “donate” to PDA. This includes leftover water, camp chairs, bikes, bean bag chairs, etc. PDA leadership makes sure we have everything we need. If you bring something we covet, we may very well steal it.
Otherwise, if you pack it in, pack it out.
Finally, we supply folding tables for our communal area, but no chairs. We have communal meals every evening as part of our culture, plus the common area is a nice place to hang out and swap stories. Bring your own camp chair or you’ll wish you had. Trust us on this.
Our camp provides a community trash. It takes everyone doing their part to keep this system clean and efficient. We recycle as much as we can. Our camp does have a team but it is not their job to dig out your misplaced wet/rotting matter from the aluminum recycle bin. We will have lots of signs, read them, follow them and if something is not clear ask.
If you have a question - ask a trash team member, ask knowledgeable individuals, or look for signage!
YES Do Help: If you see a full trash bin, tie off the bag, move full bag to storage area and put in a new bag. Thank you everyone for helping out and decreasing floating MOOP.
PDA camp dances at the Rainbow Bridge on the 2018 Blues Cruise, photo credit Deanna Loh (Toki)
We will have a designated camp photographer; in 2018 this was Erik (PrettyTron) who is a professional and captures images we can use in future marketing material.
When he's photographing, he'll try to let everyone know that's the case and anyone used in camp photos (eg on the FB page) will need to provide consent anyway. Figuring out the balance of advance consent and capturing a scene is an ongoing process so do please join the conversation on FB if you have thoughts there.
Camp photo: We'll have a camp photo towards the end of the burn, likely before the man burns.
When the event is over, we are worn out, tired of being dusty, and everyone wants to bail. Nevertheless, all our gear isn’t going to pack itself and camp isn’t going to MOOP itself. Therefore, helping strike camp is REQUIRED for everyone camping with PDA.
The only people exempt from Strike are the Sparkleponies who pony up (heh) an extra $300 or by extraordinarily rare, special prior arrangement with the Camp Lead. Be aware that deciding to Sparklepony your way out of strike can impact your ticket allocation, WAP, and camper app going forward. We would rather have you strike camp with us than have to finance some way to account for your absence.
Strike is marshalled by the Strike Coordinator. Do what they say. Regardless of whether you are a Sparklepony or not, everyone will need to move/tear down their camps so they do not interfere with Strike. The Strike Coordinator will tell you when/where you need to move your stuff, and you will need to follow that.
If you’re camping with PDA, plan on staying until the job is done. The job is done when the Strike Coordinator says it’s done. Historically, strike has been finished as early as Monday afternoon after the Burn, and as late as Tuesday afternoon. Our expectation is that no one leaves until strike is complete, without prior dispensation from camp lead. Clearing camper gear out of camp and then running two thorough MOOP sweeps has been key to maintaining top marks in post-event MOOP sweeps, and thus our amazing placement. These sweeps take about 4 hours each, depending on how many people are taking part. People who choose to leave early greatly hinder our MOOP sweep speed. EVERYONE stays until the end of both sweeps.
Plan on taking two large trash bags of camp trash with you off playa, and expect that your careful packing to get to the playa will not be as efficient after a week in the dust. Consider packing your vehicle only 80% full on the way to the playa to allow for expansion and hauling trash out (as well as your boutique clothing finds).
We care a lot about this because skipping out on strike leaves everyone else on the hook. This is unavoidable work with no time to adjust for being short-handed. If we can’t get enough volunteers for build, we’ll find a way to make a smaller, less labor-intensive camp; we’ll deal. If we don’t have enough people for strike, some unlucky and dedicated folks have to stick around for days until the job is done. This has happened before. We make everyone strike so it doesn’t happen again.
There are four types of people you’ll encounter with PDA: Camp Lead, Circle Leads, Campers and Guests.
We believe in equality. Anyone can apply to camp with us. All newbies are interviewed before being accepted into camp. The interview is to weed out drama queens, the entitled, uncommitted, unprepared, folks who haven't read this document, Special Snowflakes or anyone otherwise not in alignment with PDA’s offering. Every person accepted into PDA is expected to work, and is accepted because their values and passions align with ours.
Leadership positions are open to anyone interested, qualified, and committed. If you want to lead part of PDA, know that it is a pain in the ass and a ton of work. Lead positions are not to be taken lightly - people depend on your follow-through. If you are prepared and interested in helping to make camp happen, talk with the Camp Lead about what leadership positions are open that suit your interests. The earlier you speak up about your interest in leadership, the more likely there will still be space available.
We have one head Camp Lead - Tractor is responsible for Logistics and coordinating circles and their leadership. Working with her are our Build Lead and Heart Lead. Build lead coordinates our physical structures, and Heart lead organizes the community and people of PDA.
Circle Leads include BMORG Liaison, Accounting, Logistics, Build, Human/Virgin Wrangling, Ticket Wrangling, Grey Water, Fire Lord, Strike Coordinator, Marketing, Fundraising, Events/Scheduling and Placement and Arrival. They are all masters of their domains.
Campers are everyone else who help produce PDA and enjoy PDA’s offering.
Guests are strictly transitory, not a way to avoid paying dues while camping with PDA. All campers are invited to entertain Guests, but the care, feeding, and behaviour of your Guest is your responsibility. While generosity is part of our camp culture, Guests are hoped to enjoy themselves, contribute to the well being of their PDA host for a night (two at the outside) and then scram. We will notice if a camper has smuggled a guest in beyond the above reasonable understanding, and doing so will lead to confrontation and blacklisting for future PDA involvement. Be cool. Don’t do it.
Decommodification is a Burning Man principle; however, running a camp inevitably requires spending (and hence collecting) money.
As part of our commitment to the Burning Man principle of Radical Inclusion, we offer scholarship opportunities for campers who would otherwise be financially incapable of camping with us.
For full transparency, take a look at our budget if you want to know where your dues are going, and our camp leadership roster (available only to campers, since the doc contains contact details and other private information) for information about lead compensation and dues waivers. Any additional questions can be answered by the Camp Accounting lead.
PDA purchases food, water, gas, and building materials to make this camp happen, and camper dues pay for that. In view of their contribution of time, some camp leads do not contribute dues.
Generally, the earlier you pay, the cheaper it is. Dues for 2019 are $250 early, $300 regular (up until June 30th), and $400 last-minute (thereafter). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are having issues with this.
Excess cash up to $5K will go into a rainy-day fund for unforeseen expenses and projects in future years, and the rest will be returned to campers based on the amount that camper paid that year.
If something comes up and you can’t make it to the Playa, dues can be transferred to another camper but are not automatically refunded. Refunds are at the discretion of Camp Lead. Talk to them. If for some reason the Camp Lead kicks you out of camp before Burning Man, your dues will generally be refunded.
PDA has a food plan for our campers. Everyone on the food plan both pays and takes kitchen shifts. The price is the same for each person. In 2018, food dues were $150 per person, and 2019 will be approximately that. Any excess of food dues versus food and kitchen cost will be returned to campers based on the amount that camper paid that year.
All campers, even those not on the meal plan, should plan to be in camp every evening when the sun hits the mountains for some brief announcements.
Food plan dues subsidize feeding the Work Access Build Team, without whom we’d be staring at a bare patch of desert.
Securing a ticket and vehicle pass is your responsibility. Your camp and food dues do not cover the cost of either your ticket to Burning Man or your vehicle pass.
PDA participates in the Directed Group Sale (DGS). This is a special limited-access sale by which PDA, as a placed theme camp, is guaranteed a certain number of tickets by BMORG.
Concretely, BMORG gives PDA a number of DGS slots, PDA designates one person for each of those slots, and then those people are each allowed to purchase two tickets and a VP, without the uncertainty of the quickly-sold-out general ticket sale. PDA has each DGS participant purchase the maximum of 2 tickets and the vehicle pass, and however many of those are not used by them to camp at PDA are used by PDA to make sure we get all the people and vehicles we need on playa.
The existence of DGS is NOT a guarantee that you will be getting a ticket from DGS. PDA is NOT promising you will be invited to participate in DGS. To have your best chance at attending Burning Man, forget about DGS and try to get tickets through the regular BMORG sales. If you cannot, DGS tickets are just another secondary market for tickets and VPs, with the whole supply guaranteed to go to PDA Campers, and with camp leadership having discretion over exactly who gets first dibs.
If you are invited to participate in the DGS on PDA’s behalf, you must read, understand and agree to all of the following.
A note on condition 2 above - EVEN AT THE LAST MINUTE, DGS tickets and vehicle passes are subject to the needs of PDA and camp leadership. Shit happens, we work it out.
We had a situation in 2016 where we were short a vehicle pass for one of our transport trucks, and the Lead had to pull a vehicle pass from a later-arriving camper in order to get the truck on playa on time. The Lead then provided a pass for the camper to pick up at will-call during regular entry, and everyone made it to the Burn without incident.
However, the camper delayed the handoff unnecessarily, raising the stress level for all.
If the Lead requests something of you, like your vehicle pass, it’s for a damned good reason. Hand it over without hesitation and we’ll get you sorted out.
Creating PDA is a production. Ours is not a plug-and-play camp. Load, build, burn week admin/production of camp, and unload are a lot of work. If you want to camp with us, you’re required to bust your ass doing AT LEAST one of these - for Burn Week alone we have a shift schedule with a high-single-digit number of hours per camper, and you will fill your part of it. Kitchen shifts are required for everyone on the meal plan. Helping with Strike is required of everyone at PDA with exceptions defined below. Our Leads and return campers typically take on these tasks in addition to leadership roles, special projects, and taking initiative to Do The Needful around camp; so if you’re inclined to whine about the work requirement, you might be happier elsewhere.
Campers are geographically dispersed, and may not be in a position to help with load or unload- but we know you’ll be on playa and you can make your work contribution during Burn week. And everyone helps with Strike by default.
Being on Work Access does not exempt you from staying for Strike. Getting on playa early is super fun and everyone wants it. Supply and demand, yo.
We build the camp several days before Burn Week, through the miracle of a BMORG program called Work Access. We get a certain number of Work Access Passes, which (together with a ticket) allow the holder to go on playa before Black Rock City opens to the vast majority of Burners.
We are working with a Siesta Build - on the first day, we build a hexayurt air-conditioned by two swamp coolers (the Ice Palace). We build all morning, nap in the Ice Palace from approximately 1pm to 4pm, and continue to build all evening. In 2018, we had builders working until well after midnight every day, so come rested and hydrated and ready to expend a lot of energy.
Work Access rocks. You avoid the lines coming in, it’s fun hard work, you get on playa early and get to build something meaningful. The camaraderie and pride - at creating both a home for all of us, and a top-tier offering for all of Burning Man - are without compare. WA exemplifies the Radical Participation and Radical Self Reliance. It’s not for everyone but for those who are drawn to it, it’s one of the best parts of the Burning Man experience.
If you’re available and interested in arriving early, busting ass to build camp infrastructure and welcoming campers as they arrive on playa, indicate so on your application to PDA. When the time draws nigh, you’ll be directed to the PDA WA document to apply for Work Access. And of course there’s a test.
Now that you’ve read all this, feel free to apply to camp with PDA for 2019. You’re almost to the point where you’ll score 100% on the application test. :)
Take care of yourself.
Take care of each other.
See you in the dust-
Tractor, Edgar, Captain Mango, Bootsy, Asá, Ziptie and the rest of your Dusty Dancers