Pioneer Encuentro does not register participants as "couples." There are many reasons for this. We’ve found that what constitutes a "couple" can change from event to event. Many persons register naming a dance "partner" they’d like to have us invite who is not a legitimate or regular life partner. In this dance-world context, “couple” can mean a variety of things; the term is unstable and potentially confusing. Therefore, we allow participants to name a dance “partner” but we register everybody individually. This keeps our database clean.
We are committed to keeping Pioneer Encuentro gender-role balanced. Invitations go first to persons we know have a stable partner relationship then, usually in waves, to single leaders and single followers. All the while we closely monitoring gender-role balance. We are finding that to keep the event balanced, we only can invite single followers on our list as single leaders register to match them.
Unfortunately, when capacity is reached, we typically still have a list of single followers who would like to attend. Many are lovely dancers we’d like to have come—and would, had we enough single leaders register to match. This is the problem; single leaders are the constraint—that, and venue capacity. Increasingly, single followers seem to be persuading an Encuentro-qualified single leader they know to register and name them as “partner” which then enables us to send a “partner” invitation to the follower and expedite her registration. Strategically navigating registration this way appears to be a growing trend.
When the dates for next year are confirmed, we will let everyone know and will explain when registration will open for next year’s Pioneer Encuentro.