The past two weekends have been spent away, with Lotte assisting Bill to teach workshops in Dublin and Norwich. The photo is actually from Dublin, although you wouldn’t necessarily know it. The group was really fantastic and learnt an awful lot in two days. The workshop in Norwich was very different — part of a swing, tango and salsa “fusion” weekend. It had mixed success in the sense that their was a lot of learning but not much actual fusion between the different dance styles. I took part in a tango class and marvelled at the technical skills of the teachers. The fundamental concepts were very similar to Lindy Hop, but more emphasis was put on keeping everything on one level in tango instead of “sinking into the floor”. When I took a step I was warned about “collapsing” my legs. I didn’t take part in many classes however. For the most part, I did my own thing at these weekends. In Dublin this consisted of finishing my thesis and watching The Da Vinci Code on my laptop, as well as getting a good look around town. The city is beautiful, and the wide suburban expanse by the bay reminded me of home.
In Norwich the experience was quite unusual. We were staying at Bylaugh Hall (pronounced Beela Hall), an amazing restoration in progress of a rural mansion that was requisitioned during WWII by the RAF. There are still all kinds of temporary wartime structures such as bomb shelters standing near the house, all overgrown with vines and rusting. The building itself had become decrepit before restoration work started 6 years ago, and when you walk through some of the partly restored areas you can still see dead vines clinking to the pillars. It’s now used as an arts and culture venue, and is hired out regularly for weddings and parties. We were treated to gourmet dining and luxury accommodation, all of which was very much appreciated after a hard slog for both of us. Lotte’s been invited to teach with Bill on a more permanent basis in Europe, with the next set of workshops in a couple of months.