Outside the air has a biting chill thanks to the polar front, but in the workshops at the New Zealand Tango Festival the air is buzzing with the warm bodies of dancers who are swapping accounts of the different workshops and practising their new skills. We arrived in Wellington, New Zealand's capital, yesterday and spent the day exploring the city, visiting the Botanic Gardens and riding on the public transport, but today we got down to business.
My first workshop was with Geraldin Rojas and Ezequiel Paludi and titled 'Fundamentals'. It is some time since I have done a tango workshop and I felt it was time to brush up on my technique and learn new skills. And I soon found a fundamental! Many years ago I had been told to keep my knees together - as if I was trying to hold a pill between my knees! I can't say I do this always but it has been behind much of my posture... time to forget this unnatural stance and learn to dance more fluidly. Time also to forget about one embrace and use the embrace that I am comfortable with - which isn't the one which, when done badly,looks like the woman is hanging off her partner's neck like a shoe bag!
In the afternoon I treated myself to two workshops by bandoneon play Joaquin Amenabar - and they were wonderful! Perhaps one of the most precious things I have taken about from these workshops is that when one sings as one dances one is forced to dance in time time with the music - simple commonsense so why haven't I twigged this before.
I'm going to put my feet up before tonight's milonga... then more workshops tomorrow.
The local dancers are warm and friendly natives - and there are plenty of familiar faces. The only thing about this Festival that's cold is the air outside!