This is a series of Q&A articles the Gazette is conducting with members of the Pennsic staff.
The Honorable Lady Margherita Battistina is Dean of the School of European Dance.
Gazette: What Pennsic activities does your office cover?
We cover all European Dance classes, balls, and activities. This year, we have a few fantastic “extras,” like the Meet-the-Faculty Social, the flash mob, and two completely new balls!
Gazette: Do you need volunteers? What kind of skills would be useful for them to have?
We certainly could use volunteers! The biggest activity for which we need volunteers is the Floor construction (on first Sunday) and Floor tear down (on final Friday). Almost anyone can help as there are a lot of different parts of building the floor, such as setting out the tarps, moving the boards into place, setting in the screws, assembling the benches and decorating the Pavilion.
Gazette: Is there a particular activity or change to an activity that you’re excited is happening?
We have a lot of exciting activities happening this year. We will have dance tracks for Youth and for Beginners, eight balls, a flash mob, and a Meet-the-Faculty Social. Prior to Pennsic, a full listing of the upcoming activities is on our website, pennsicdance.aands.org, and at Pennsic will be posted in front of the Dance Pavilion and on all the bulletin boards around town.
Gazette: What one thing do you wish people knew about your activity?
I want people to know that above everything else, dance isn’t just a great way to show off your skills, woo a lady, or get exercise, but it is a social activity. We all want to share that experience, so if you don’t know the dance being done, we will gladly share it with you! We offer a lot of dances, both in the classes and in each ball, that are great for new dancers. And if you aren’t comfortable, interested or able to dance, come out anyway! We in the dance community are here to make friends and have a good time, so if all you do is mingle on the sidelines and socialize with us while we’re taking a break from being on the floor, we want you there.
Gazette: What about your area of responsibility interests you?
There are actually a lot of moving parts to the Pennsic School of European Dance, and I have a wonderful staff to help make it all happen. I love how all of those pieces have come together this year into one vision. This year, we are celebrating how dance fits into the world around us, both in the Society and in period.
Gazette: What advice would you give someone who wants to hold your position in the future?
To someone interested in my position, I would strongly encourage them to get involved. There is a lot that happens here, but we are always looking for new people and new ideas.
Gazette: On a personal note, what part of Pennsic do you most look forward to?
On a personal note, I love Pennsic because it is one of the few chances I have each year to spend time with faraway friends, to share new knowledge or just to share our lives with each other. It is homecoming, every summer. May you find joy in every step!