Freezing weekend with friends (22nd - 24th May 2009)

Brr...the weather is getting colder these days and it isn't even officially winter yet! We had days under 10 degrees this week!!

Caught up with Hew, her family and friends for steamboat dinner at her place after work on Friday. Ah, steamboat - one of my favourite foods in winter. Warms up the belly :) It was nice to see them (it has been awhile since I last saw Hew and family - they went away on holiday for about 6 weeks) and oh my, Edmund's grown so much taller! Played a game of Guess Who? with the little man after dessert (couldn't believe I lost!) then left the party to James' for a chilled out movie night.

Damn, I need to get a panel heater like yours, James - keeps the temperature in the room the same throughout the night. So nice and warm! I enjoy my regular movie nights with James. We would just cuddle up together on the couch watching some movie that doesn't require too much thinking, usually a comedy, snacking on popcorn and jet planes (sweets). No romantic reason or dodginess to our cuddles - just 2 good friends who are comfortable in each other's company :)

Saturday was a horrible wet and cold day but I had to be out at Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre in Newtown in the morning for an open level zouk dance workshop taught by Auckland dance teacher, Futa Ofamo'oni. Cost $25 for the 2-hour workshop of this dance evolved from the Lambada danced to zouk music, the music of the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti. It was kind of a closed workshop i.e. only people in the salsa scene knew about it. I wasn't aware of such a workshop until Christina mentioned it to me on Monday at Willy-John's birthday party. I've always been interested to see what zouk is all about - it's currently the 'next big thing' in the salsa dance scene and everyone is getting into it. Unfortunately, it is not yet taught in Wellington (or NZ-wide, actually) so will take some time before enough dancers are able to dance it socially. I enjoyed the dance and class thoroughly - the dance itself was slow, relaxed and with sexy body movements where the female would move hip first towards the male dancer's hip (er, yes, kind of looked a little dodgy on the dancefloor but it's just a dance, ok?), lolling her head as she tosses her long hair to the sultry music. I don't know what it is about this dance but I feel as if in a trance when I dance it. Can't quite describe the feeling but it just felt euphoric. Hmm...Oh, and the teacher is quite hot too, especially when he moves those hips...makes me drool...hehe... :P It was an awesome class - I'm glad I came to the workshop! Can't wait to try out the moves on the dance floor!!

Had lunch after class with good old friend Ramnish whom I've not caught up for a very long time then back home to chill out before James came to pick me up around 6pm to Happy Feet in Lower Hutt. Having done a whole block of beginner's swing dance class, I decided to tag along to their monthly social dance event, Happy Feet. It was a first for me dancing swing socially so I really didn't know what to expect. Shall be interesting!

Cost $5 for the event held at Link Church Hall in Lower Hutt. You've heard me say this before but I will say it again - in the Hutt???! Frankly, the chances of me going any event would be much slimmer if it was in the Hutt. Didn't quite understand why their social dancing is usually out of the city centre. Rather inconvenient for dancers to head out into town after the event. James was really clever - he knew well I might back out so told me not to worry about driving tonight and he drove instead. Damn, I was stuck with him :P Made a stop at the local supermarket to buy a cake for supper - apparently everyone brings a plate for supper which is served partway through the event. Hmm, interesting...we never have that in salsa...

James was the only guy around when we arrived and the place was still quite empty. Phil (another dance teacher from Full Swing) started the event with a half hour lesson on how to dance the Shim Sham. The Shim Sham is a popular swing/tap dance routine that has somewhat similar moves though there are several variations to the choreography and usually, everyone stops dancing in partners and dance solo in a large group to the songs. Definitely a good warm up dance! Note to self - heels are not very good for swing dancing. Will need to wear flat shoes or heels that are lower and larger to help with balance.

Being new to the crowd, I felt a little outcasted and it was difficult to be part of the group even though I tried to talk to others while James was busy dancing. Also, my lack of confidence with my swing dance steps meant I wasn't bold enough (like in salsa scenes) to walk up and ask guys for a dance so spent most of the night sitting and watching people dance. It was ok - I expected this to happen and it is pretty much the same with any new social group. It is initially difficult to break into the group but over time, everyone gets to know each other a bit better and eventually, you become part of the group. From my observation as I sat there watching the crowd, I feel that the swing folks are more laid back compared to the salsa crowd. In the salsa scene, I often find smaller groups by class batches or dance schools, and even groups segregated by dance aptitude. Didn't see any of it here - everybody just dances with anybody which was nice.

Had a few dances with boys James, Richard and Daemon who were all very nice to me even though I made mistakes in my dance steps. We just laughed it off! The dancing took a break at 9pm for supper - all the cakes and biscuits were out, served with hot tea or coffee. A rather interesting twist to a social dance scene with no alcohol served. More dancing after supper and headed back into town with James around 10pm. Photos taken at Happy Feet:

I haven't had enough of my dance fill tonight so ended up heading to St James Theatre after James dropped me off home for the Salsa Ball. Cost $10 tonight and as usual, had plenty of fun dances and brief catch-ups with friends who were there. Danced a bit of zouk and also salsa with boys Hayden and Jay, both whom I've never danced with before - fun, fun, fun :) Left around 12.45am and popped over to Hooch to see James who was there for his workmate, Felix's birthday party. Did a bit of mingling and sang the birthday song while I was there having a cocktail called Lita Butt (how sexy). Left around 1.30am to meet up with Peter at Alice who was there with Daemon and another couple from the swing crowd. James and I shared a Nonsensical Tea Party cocktail in a teapot - not too bad. Left the gang for home around 2.30am - was way past my bedtime.

Sunday was a day at home doing my chores, reading a book and just spending ME time. Wasn't planning to leave the house at all but Claus 'bribed' me with a Bombom (Brazilian candy) to accompany him to Fringe Bar to watch an improv comedy show where his work colleague, Jonathan, was playing the saxaphone. I thought the comedy festival had ended yesterday but turned out it was tonight. Alright, alright, I'll come - wasn't so much there for the candy but more so for improvised comedy which I've never seen before. Cost $15 door sales for the show WellingSIN City by Wellington Improvisation Troupe (WIT). It was such a cool show and I'm really glad Claus dragged me along! Improvised comedy is SO different from the other shows I've seen at the festival - here, the audience calls the shots. A group of 7 comedians came on stage, beginning the show with open ended sentences where the audience filled in the gaps with keywords that made up the core of the story. It was hilarious to see how clever these comedians were thinking on their feet for a funny continuous storyline to fit around the words. Nothing was scripted, all impromptu and it was amazing to see how they work together to make the audience laugh. Even Jonathan deserved a pat in the back for his saxaphone accompaniment to suit the mood in the story. There was murder, revenge, justice all rolled into one. Of course, there were moments where the story didn't quite work out right e.g. there was fake smoke in the air which one of the comedians described as a ghost. Still, I was really impressed by their wit and had a great hour at the show.


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