Temperatures soared into the high nineties, but they didn’t deter about 85 people from attending the Taoist Tai Chi International Workshop with Tony Kwong June 28-30, 2013, in Denver, Colorado. Approximately 40 of the attendees came from many locations across North America including Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Montana, New York, Ontario, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and British Columbia.
Tony divided attendees in to smaller groups with individual leaders for the weekend. Over the two days, the group did plenty of karaoke dan-yus, many cloud hands, and also worked on several of the moves in the last part of the Tai Chi set.
“I was thrilled to spend time on the last part of the set,” said Denver member Maureen McGuire. “I can now relax more when doing that part of the set. It was extremely helpful.” Maureen, who has been practicing Taoist Tai Chi for five years said the workshop also enabled her to “get more in touch with the internal aspects of Tai Chi. That makes more sense to me now,” she said.
Executive Director of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA Sean Dennison led a team of six kitchen volunteers in preparing food for the site’s first international workshop since the Denver kitchen was completed in the spring. Dishes served included zesty lemon chicken and fish with a special black bean sauce created by Tony.
Because Tony’s special day fell on the first day of the workshop, participants surprised Tony with both Chinese and American birthday celebrations. During the morning break on Saturday, members served “Sao Bao”—a steamed bun shaped like a peach, with red bean paste inside. The peach is a symbol of longevity in China.
In the afternoon, the group presented Tony with a birthday cake decorated with both Chinese and English writing. In English it said, “Happy Birthday, Tony!” In Chinese, “This is a special birthday greeting to elders meaning, ‘May you have good fortune as immense as the Eastern Sea, may you live as long as the Southern Mountains.’”
At night, as the last dish of the day, the group served longevity noodles. “In the Chinese tradition, the foods served on special occasions are also symbols of our intention. Noodles are long to symbolize long lasting… longevity,” said Denver member Helena Trent, who helped prepare the noodle dish.