Pioneer Encuentro does not register participants as "couples." There are many reasons for this. We find that what constitutes a "couple" can change from event to event. Persons frequently register naming a dance "partner" they’d like to have us invite who is not a 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” and try to invite both members of a partnership, but we register everybody individually. This keeps our database clean.
Pioneer Encuentro is committed to gender-role balance. Invitations go first to persons we know have a stable partner relationship and then to single leaders and single followers, usually in waves. All the while, we closely monitor gender-role balance. We try to allocate slots for single followers but find that, to keep the event balanced as we reach capacity toward the end of registration, we only can invite additional followers 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 had we enough single leaders register. This is the problem; single leaders are the constraint—this, 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.