PARTNER DANCE ADVENTURES 2020
CAMP INFORMATION DOCUMENT
Our beautiful Kitchen Trailer Mural, 2019 - designed by Layla (Lucky), painted by PDA
PDA Culture 2
What We’re About 2
Partner Dance: What We Contribute And Why 4
You as part of PDA 5
Communication Style 6
Camp Location and Vital Information Links 8
Your 2020 Camp Leads 9
Team Circles 10
Camper Shade 12
Razor Pig 13
On Playa 14
Kitchen and Meal Plan 14
Meal Plan Basics 15
Additional Meal Plan Details 15
Hot Water 15
Power Management 15
Medical Help 16
Your Gear 17
Fire Lords 17
Striking Camp 19
About Money 21
Camp Dues 21
Meal Plan (Food Dues) 22
Tickets and Vehicle Passes 22
Directed Group Sale (DGS) 22
If you are not participating in DGS: 22
If you are participating in DGS: 23
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 2020, 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:
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. Enthusiastic hands are valuable on all projects, and just having a positive outlook on learning and being willing to work will get you involved in as much as you want.
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 2019 was Center Camp & 3:15
Our 2019 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!
THE PDA “MANAGEMENT”
Laura Boddorff (Tractor)
David Stellar (Capt Mango)
Michelle Giffin (Ziptie)
Ramsey Ness (Peacock)
Kitchen & Meal Plan
Seth Helsley (Biscuit)
Kelly Howard (Turtle)
Classes and DJ Schedule
Mike Giffin (Sledge)
co-Placement & Arrival
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 keep our structure functional and polished during Burn week, overseeing our power + internet + sound systems, and coordinating strike. Get to know our build and available tools and materials so if something needs to be fixed, you know how to do it or who to talk to!
If you’re a great technician, physical problem solver, or simply excited to jump in and learn, we need your help!
You’re helping with making our Offering Schedule before the burn, and wrangling teachers and DJs during the burn. You make sure people show up for their dance floor volunteer shifts, know how to use the microphones and sound system, and are ready to help teachers and DJs transition and get things started.
If you’re a wiz with spreadsheets, love talking to people, or have a knack for organization, Offering Circle could use your skills!
Before the burn, you help Virgins get prepared, and plan experiences and activities to facilitate campers bonding. On playa, you start group outings, organize team building activities at dinner, pose getting-to-know-you questions for group discussion, and introduce everyone to everyone.
Please join if you’re friendly and 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 disposal: trash, recycling, compost, and burnables. You also manage the lost and found and remind campers to keep the public spaces clean and free of personal belongings.
Join this circle if you like making and practicing systems and keeping spaces neat and organized!
You have a vital role in helping make sure camp is fed and the kitchen is up and running!
From dinner planning, pre-burn food shopping, and pre-cook, to on-playa kitchen management and making sure our food spaces are organized, well-labeled, and clean and sanitary, we need folks who love food!
You bring the gift of water in the desert, a symbol of life and a poetic cycle. You manage our drinking water stations, making sure campers stay hydrated and electrolyte’d. You learn to operate the Dishwater, our top-secret campers-only steambath, and run it for grateful campers most burn nights. You also manage our grey water disposal.
If you love to give the gift of luxury and care to others, we need 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 (Ziptie) and Mike (Sledge)
You’re in charge of setting up PDA’s camp layout, and helping with camper arrival. You know whose tent is where, whose cars need to leave first, and you instruct late-night arrivals about the location of the portapotties and how they can grab a much-needed midnight snack. You’re the first face people see on-playa, and you have the overview on all the logistics for new arrivals.
If you have special skills in mapping, or in giving folks a warm welcome, join Grand Poobahs of Placement!
Dorry (Magic Hands)
You’re keeping folks safe, by knowing first aid, staying calm in the face of injury or panic, and offering conflict management and resolution to campers encountering issues.
If you love caring for folks, or have physical or mental health training, please join Medical Circle!
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. Talk to someone in Placement Circle when you arrive.
We know what’s going where before we get on playa. Our camp is quite large and we must be efficient with our layout. When you send your tent or structure details to us, the Grand Poobahs of Placement Circle will assign you to the camp shade structure or the Radical Self Reliance Proving Grounds (RSRPG, or “Razor Pig”). Camp shade is approximately 60’x60’ of modular overhead shade, and will have space for any campers who fit in a 10x10 square. Larger tents, like 16’x8’, may be placed in Camp Shade at the designation of the Grand Poobahs of Placement, especially if they fit and house several campers.
SIDE NOTE: Shade structures may be taken down during Strike on Sunday before you leave Burning Man, so your last day may be unshaded.
Tents, yurts, and other structures that are more than 10x10 or more than 8’ tall are usually placed in the Razor Pig. These structures will have a space specifically designated for them, so check with placement before setting up! We will abide by the pre-made layout exactly on playa!
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 at all. Since PDA is limited on the space given to us in Center Camp, we need people to be cognizant of the personal space they're taking. Again, be warned, “that one person”.
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 by using our tea kettles and coffee-maker. 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.
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.
Generally speaking the only generator that should run in camp is our backup power that is supplied by the bus in case the grid goes down. You’ll need to talk to the power lead and to layout if you are hoping to run your personal generator for high power needs.
You should pack a first aid kit and be able to treat basic issues. We have a medical circle in camp, but 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.
NOTHING THAT SHEDS. “Leave no trace” is way more work at the end of the week if we have to dig sequins, rhinestones, and glitter out of the dust. Make your fashion statements (and all your items) eco-friendly.
Bring minimal trash. Use reusable water bottles. Unwrap your new headlamp at home so you don’t have to pack out the plastic from unwrapping it at the burn.
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 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 2019 this was David (DiscoCop) 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 an extra $300 or by extraordinarily rare, special prior arrangement with the Camp Lead. The Sparklepony fee is due before you arrive on playa. If you leave early without having paid that fee, the amount is $400 and you use risk being banned from camping with PDA in the future.
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, 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 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, Finance Lead, and Placement Lead. Build lead coordinates our physical structures, Finance Lead helps coordinate logistics and key dates, and Placement Lead works on making everyone feel welcome and connected in PDA.
Circle Leads are the heads of each of our 10 circles. They are chosen for their skills, experience, and leadership abilities. They work with the Camp Lead to take care of their circle, and with their circle participants to delegate the work their circle does. They are all masters of their domains.
Campers are everyone else who help produce PDA, camp with us, 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.
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 dues, the cheaper it is.
Camp dues for 2020 are $250 early (until March 31st), $300 regular (until June 30th), and $400 last-minute (July 1st and later). Payment is made via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact email@example.com if you are having issues around payment or timing.
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 meal plan for our campers. This pays for full access to the kitchen and all of the food brought to playa. Any excess of food dues versus food and kitchen cost will be returned to campers based on the amount that camper paid that year.
Food dues for 2020 are $150 per person, no matter how long you are staying on playa. Payment is made via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Food plan dues also subsidize feeding the Work Access Build Team, without whom we’d be staring at a bare patch of desert.
Contact email@example.com if you are having issues around payment or timing.
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. We do not get enough DGS tickets to cover all of our campers. Sign up for the Main Sale in April, and be ready to participate in the Main Sale the following Wednesday at noon PST. This is always a shit show. Get two tickets if you can, and our fantastic Finance King Circle will facilitate campers selling their extra tickets to camp members who need it. If we still don’t have enough tickets, there are other sales (see the OMG sale on the BM website), or you can make it a networking game. People sell tickets on every social media platform in existence, and they should always be $425 plus fees.
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.
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. Pre-cook, build parties, food shopping, build, and producing our offering 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. In addition to your shift schedule, you’re expected to help with the responsibilities of your Circle, so if you’re inclined to whine about the work requirement, you might be happier elsewhere.
Being on Work Access does not exempt you from staying for Strike, or volunteer shifts. 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.
Work Access is *hard work.* You’re expected to sleep about 8 hours a day and eat regular meals - all the rest of your time is spent building. If you arrive 4 days early, Wednesday, we expect 4 full days of building. WA is not for starting the party early, and PDA does not party until our work is done.
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 starting about 9am, nap in the Ice Palace from approximately 1pm to 4pm, and continue to build all evening. In 2019, 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.
Now that you’ve read all this, feel free to apply to camp with PDA for 2020. 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, Peacock, Ziptie, Alex, Asá and the rest of your Dusty Dancers