If you have read the March 2017 account, you might be interested in this update. Dance North continues to offer very comfortable, warm and friendly drop-in sessions that are enjoyed by many people. We get regular comments on how pleasant, enjoyable and stress free the dance sessions are. The group originally started out that way back in early 90’s and gradually settled into a very enjoyable routine over the past 20yrs or so, with the exception of one administration’s time in office between March of 2015 and August 2016, after which everything has settled back into the original routine.
Freedom of speech is the underlying basis of the free world. However, in a democratic society, one cannot expect to knowingly spread innuendos and falsehoods under the guise of free speech without facing the possibility of being held accountable for one’s conduct. Such is/was the case against Phil Thalman and his associated group, PG Dance Connection with regard to their observations on Dance North. Added to earlier conduct, there are concerns over the possibility of conspiring and false statements, with elements of deceit, collusion, duplicity, harassment, coercion, defamation and slander. Why are we writing about this ? Simply put, we want clear the air to give those folks who are concerned or confused, readers like you perhaps, an opportunity to read and understand the accuracy of recent events that have shaped our dance group, so that each person can form their own opinion once in full receipt of the true reality of events, rather than flawed versions of developments being floated around by the likes of Mr Thalman.
It is now well recognized by a significant number of people that, subsequent to March 2015, Phil Thalman engaged in a systematic undertaking to discredit, displace, dislodge and finally remove Peter Weedon from Dance North, pushing it right to the point of attempted (but failed) disfellowship. In his very slanted account, his description of events and the suggested results of Peter Weedon’s actions having “serious ramifications” is utterly absurd – really, how can anything to do with social dance possibly involve “serious ramifications” ? – melodramatic of course, except perhaps for the part of him being summarily dumped after failing to win a critical vote of confidence! He viewed Peter Weedon as a roadblock (a threat) to his goal of taking control of the DN club and reforming it to fit his own personal theos and ideology, all in collusion with a few others of like mind. To suggest that Peter Weedon usurped the Dance North name is laughable – it was after all, Peter Weedon that came up with the name long before Phil Thalman was ever around, and helped saved the club from near collapse in hard times, so he had every right to defend it from mutiny. Mr Thalman would have you believe that they were poor, picked on, hard done by souls, dedicated members of the club that were bullied into submission by Peter Weedon, whereas in reality, Mr Thalman and his gang were the aggressors who had designs on stealing the years of hard work put in by others, taking over the club and turning it into their idea of what a dance club should be. He demonstrated this for example, when, with one particularly significant statement, he provided evidence of his ‘takeover attitude’, when DN’s long valued traditions and norms were threatened and trembled in the balance. When questioned with why he was trying to force through so many radical changes, and asked why not simply start his own club, he revealed his true intentions by responding “Why start a new club when there is already one in place”. At this point we were growing more and more alarmed and did not want the condescension of those in charge to be reinforced by any weakness or the part of the faithful – we saw this as a red flag as our opinions and suggestions increasingly ceased to count. To borrow words from Churchill, we feared “The Gathering Storm”, and became resolved to take action before it was too late.
The purpose of this document is to reveal Mr Thalman’s true colours and intent when sending out erroneous communiqués followed up by the series of phone calls he made to garner support, all of which we have either witnessed personally or been informed about after the fact. Mr Thalman’s now infamous Email communiqué of Oct 15th, 2016 (attached) had two main objectives:
- To denigrate Peter Weedon and portray him in a poor light as dishonourable and deceitful
- To promote his own newly formed dance group and vindictively persuade folks to attend there rather than Dance North – his group even misused the DN mail-out list to spread their own propaganda (clearly convenient for them, but nonetheless crass and underhanded)
Mr Thalman and his group will of course deny these observations and comments, but the evidence is there to support our contention. Mr Thalman knowingly disseminated certain verbal and written information about Peter Weedon, refusing to corroborate any of it using lame excuses, and in doing so, simply validated it all as hearsay, gossip and untruths, all part of a grand plan to get rid of that burr under his saddle, namely, Peter Weedon. During this time he operated under the dilution that his self-perceived authority and mandate as the ruler of his administration bestowed certain liberties on him, even though it was without the full sanction of the membership at large. In fact, he acted against a majority of the active members at the time. Dismissing a very valid petition out of hand, he contends in his email that it was only a “few” members including Peter Weedon that were the troublemakers. The reality is far from that – it was in fact a majority (with Peter Weedon) that stopped his progress at the Aug 2016 meeting, albeit a tied vote without Peter Weedon, as they refused to accept his vote as legitimate, a bogus counter measure without authority or validity, but very convenient for his purposes – this allowed Mr Thalman to very shrewdly state “the meeting was adjourned without a resolution” which is true, but it is not the whole truth, being very artfully worded in an attempt to delude people. The reality is however, that due to a failed vote, it created a state of “non-confidence” – this caught him by surprise, stopped him in his tracks and neutralized his designs, permanently unraveling him – that is fact, and the whole truth. We contend that he intentionally made decisions in keeping with his statements of contradiction and defiance of well established, traditional DN practices, attempting to position himself in such a way so as to give himself the power and the means to frustrate and foil any efforts to stop him bolstering his position, the very type of self-serving actions one has grown to associate with third world dictatorships – tactics that include elements such as exclusion, secrecy and silence. His attached email communiqué supports his horrible attitude and misleading approach – it is rife with incongruities and twisted facts. One impartial Dance North attendee even took the time to write to him, very aptly labeling his email as being, “in very poor taste and very unprofessional”. Peter Weedon has let it be known he would welcome the opportunity to debate everything, stating in his own words, “I am more than willing to defend and justify the things I have said and written, including all my comments posted in Phil Thalman’s email, so therefore I throw out the challenge to Phil Thalman (and his gang). I am ready, any time, any place, in a public forum, in front of a Judge, word by word, sentence by sentence – but of course he would never agree to the prospect of being shamed and embarrassed, as he knows full well that he would get thoroughly spanked as the real truth came out, and be made to look like an oblique, shambling fool – after all, one cannot debate with a tiger, when one’s head is in its mouth!”
Make no mistake – everything he craftily worded was calculated to feather his own nest, and once a person realizes this, it becomes painfully obvious that all the pretense is a sham. The reason Mr Thalman and his group did not take on “defending the club” is that he was in no position to – he had neither the moral right nor the means to do so. His position was week at best, and for good reason. In the email he dismisses the petition, saying that it contained misleading information. By making a comment like that, it demonstrates that he does not understand the purpose of a petition. Petitions are not intended to provide information, misleading or otherwise – a petition is merely making a statement of protest, garnering action, in this case an opinion from the majority of the club members protesting a decision that they did not agree with the attempt to suspend Peter Weedon, unequivocally opposed it, and demanded the action be withdrawn, period – it was a signed statement, not a debate, done of their own volition, an initiative completely independent of Peter Weedon and something he learned of after it was signed by those members. By making comments like he did, Phil Thalman indirectly insults the intelligence and the integrity of the signatories by suggesting they did not really know (or were too clueless to know) what they were signing – poppycock! To the contrary of what he would have you believe, the signatories (who represented a majority of the active members) were all acutely aware of the situation, and certainly au fait with players involved – this is precisely why they very knowingly signed it, not just in “good faith” as Thalman suggests ! In reality, the board’s reason for rejecting the petition (which in itself was beyond their mandate) was not objective, but rather self-serving to favour their own position. In another part of the email, Phil Thalman also states that they grieved the loss of the club – in reality, the only loss they grieved was control of the club, plain and simple, again for self serving reasons, revealing their statement to be no more than lip service, empty fluff and nonsense designed to create good impressions and sympathy.
To date, Phil Thalman and a group from PG Dance Connection still maintain, by default, partial control over the Bank account of the disbanded DN dance club, and they still refuse to allow ex DN members to view records of the financial activity during their administration, a right that has always existed for members since the club was formed. He states “our goal has always been to be transparent” – what subterfuge! In fact, much to the contrary, their approach has consistently been far from that, at many levels with so many of their forays and tactics – transparency (or the lack of it) was consistently one of our main concerns throughout the term of that administration. If, as they suggest, they are hiding nothing, then what’s the issue – their outright refusal simply creates suspicion, unless of course all it comes down to is a silly, pathetic power struggle, which knowing Phil Thalman, is certainly not out of the question. They were the last signatories on the account and have dug their heels in, refusing to acknowledge that most of the funds they controlled were gathered long before their administration was voted in, March 2015. A number of long-time members of the club were able to get the account frozen, however not before a large percentage of the funds were dispersed through their self imposed right and without approval from the membership, and there it sits at an impasse, held hostage by members of a now competing dance group – that irony does not escape us! To give him credit, Mr Thalman did reach out on a couple of occasions offering to discuss a negotiated solution to the impasse, but each time it seemed to be in a questionable and surreptitious manner, likely because, as always, he wanted the process to be on his terms. The first time was a phone call during a period when legal counsel became involved in making a determination, so we naturally deferred at the time, and the next time was several months later through an arbitrator he chose and approached – we responded in good faith, agreeing outright to most of their terms, and suggesting a couple of amendments, however, we never heard from them again, not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement to our response, which is their style of course (one can read them like a book), but it really does make one wonder about the validity of the exercise, and if the whole thrust behind this was simply a fishing exercise on their part to test out the waters. This whole “too little too late” approach is so typical of Phil Thalman and his band, as it came to be a theme throughout their administration, bringing about nothing but constant meetings and hassles and complications. As this haphazard, offhanded attitude became more and more apparent, the more we grew to understand how he seemed to glean satisfaction, maybe even pride, in being this sort of “a day late and a dollar short” type of person, and he appeared to take some sort of perverse pleasure in the frustration that it caused his adversaries. If Mr Thalman ever reads this, which we certainly hope he does, and if true to form, it would craft a smug little snicker and a twisted smile from him, appealing very much to his disposition.
Yes, he did indeed muddy the waters for a while, but the water is finally flowing clear again – it was a term of turmoil and upheaval, but we successfully weathered the storm, dispensed with Phil Thalman and his troop, and now with a full year or more under our belts, sans their negative influence, we are operating as we used to before the onslaught. Contrary to what their group would have folks believe, Dance North is still Dance North, as it was long before Phil Thalman ever darkened our doorstep, and as it still continues to be after his expulsion – his “reign of terror”, to coin a phrase, will over the years be viewed as a blip on the horizon, an unveiled blight that was purged and eliminated. We are happy to currently offer well organized, effective and pleasant drop-in sessions, continue to be NOT FOR PROFIT (again, contrary to his insinuations), and still happily at Judy Russell’s dance studios, as always. We encourage anyone to come along and enjoy learning in a warm, social atmosphere, free from the past trials and tribulations inflicted on us from bygone troublesome influence.