SCA Name & title: THL Avelina del Dolce
Years in the SCA: 19
How did you find out about the SCA?
I grew up in Butler, PA and my parents and I always drove past Pennsic. I fantasied and wished I could get involved, it looked so fun! When I was 17 years old, I met someone who knew someone involved with the Shire of Sunderoak. I attended shire meetings and my first Pennsic that same year, and I’ve been active since.
Where did you start, what was your first event?
Good gentles from Sunderoak encouraged me to attend an SCA event called, “The Fool’s Event” around April 27, 2002 so I could experience a small celebration before my first Pennsic War. A chatelaine, the individual who lends garb and helps SCA newbies get started, gave me a beautiful, flattering dress. I asked her to tell me more about the style, and she explained the dress was modeled after 15 c. Italian Renaissance clothing. From the moment of my very first event, I fell in love with Italian gowns, and they are still a garb style I frequently wear in the present day. I still feel the glimmer of adventure from this lovely day. In short, A young fencer named Sir Jeffrose Stiller came over to myself and my group. He bent down on one knee and inquired, “My dear ladies, I travel from afar without a consort. I humbly beseech one of your greatness to be the lovely consort I may fight for during this tournament.” I stepped forward to join the magic! Following that event, I became enthralled with the SCA. I attended a few smaller events, such as a Sylvan Crusade, because I needed my SCA fix. Pennsic couldn’t come soon enough that year but when it did, it was worth the wait!
What is your persona? Lady Avelina del Dolce lives in 16th Century Florence, Italy. She is a well-educated and sophisticated dancer and commedia dell’arte actress and with talent and knowledge in many different arts and sciences. She loves learning new skills too.
Why did you pick this persona? The arts and garb I enjoy in the SCA connect well to my persona as Avelina del Dolce.
Do you have any group or household affiliations?
I don’t belong to a household. I am known in the commedia and dance communities across the known world. I reside in the Shire of Stormsport (Erie, PA).
Tell us a little bit about your life outside the SCA.
I have my bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education with a master’s degree in special education. Outside of the SCA I work as a student support coordinator at a university to help individuals with autism maintain with their academic, social, independent living, and emotion functioning in college. I’m also a licensed Zumba instructor and teach many dance fitness classes for adults and children.
What SCA activities do you or have you participated in?
I teach dance with a focus on the fifteenth and sixteenth-century Italian cascade dances. I also am heavily involved in commedia dell’arte theater with many different groups across the known world. I also sew, play the violin, sing, lucet, and write.
Tell us a little bit about your SCA experience (jobs, offices, duties, etc.):
I’m part of the Pennsic staff and serve as stage manager for the Performing Arts Pavilion. I also actively teach dance and commedia dell’arte theater classes at Pennsic and sca events in and outside of the kingdom. I helped with the planning of Known World Dance and Music Symposium 12 in Timonium, MD, including running the closing ball. I’ve managed commedia dell’arte troupes, I’m former capocomico of Vagando Stolti (Atlantia).
When I started in the SCA I wanted to learn as much as I could about everything. I started with renaissance dance, storytelling, commedia dell’arte, sewing and I still learn and practice. I learned enough to sew my own garb, which was exciting! Then my goal was to start teaching as much as possible when I lived in Atlantia, so I signed up to teach for many university events and Pennsic.
What are your goals now?
I want to continue to learn about the topics I enjoy above, especially garment construction and techniques. I’d also love to try my hand at illumination too, but with no prior experience, I’m not sure how to begin! An important goal at this stage of my life is my focus on service in the society. I’m delighted about my opportunity to serve right now as a member of the Pennsic Staff. The SCA has given me so much throughout the years, I take joy when I can help the magic happen for others.
What was the most intimidating thing you encountered in the SCA?
The few years before I started teaching classes at Pennsic I had a bout with imposter syndrome. I decided with encouragement of my friends to sign up anyway. I taught at Pennsic for the first time, and I found all my students to be kind, thoughtful, and received a lot of positive feedback. I loved the dialogue we shared and when students contacted me to tell me how my classes inspired them.
I moved back to AEthemearc only two years ago, after spending nine years in Atlantia prior, and I didn’t really have the time to become more involved with AEthemearc when I settled into my house and job. I’m not even sure if everyone knows I’m back (hopefully they do now, after reading this, lol). It’s hard for me to get involved via ZOOM right now, but I am looking forward to attending more in-person events in AEthemearc when the shutdown ends.
What advice would you give to a new person in the SCA, or if new yourself what question would you ask and who would you ask it of?
Beginning as a newbie in the SCA can feel overwhelming. Don’t forget that all of us started somewhere. We have made mistakes but taking the first step is the only way to learn and grow. The SCA has a lot of supportive, nice people willing to help you on your journey.
If you magically woke up with an SCA talent you do not already have, what would it be? I’d like to sing and write beautiful poetry for bardic circles.
I’d eventually like to receive a laurel or pelican service award. I work hard and believe fervently in bringing the dream and magic of the SCA to others. If I never receive this opportunity, I will still participate and continue doing what I love in the SCA.
If you could pick one thing you would like to see more of in the SCA, what would it be?
I’d like to see more service opportunities where we reach out to our greater non-sca community. We need to be accessible for schools, artist collectives, living history, festivals, colleges, and events. I started to advise a college club at my university, and it is wonderful to see young adults dive in and discover the love for what we do. We need guest virtual speakers, so if anyone wants to share an art, please contact me at the following email address.