The Brandon, Florida, branch celebrated the completion of extensive renovations to our building with a Grand Reopening ribbon-cutting ceremony and refreshments Friday evening May 25, 2012. A blue lion danced in, bringing good fortune and good wishes from the International and National TTCS dignitaries in attendance. A letter was read from a local county commissioner, and the ribbon was cut, officially reopening our “palace of a practice hall,” to quote Sean Dennison. The celebration included a tai chi demonstration with narrative accompaniment providing insight on the workings of the body, mind and spirit as tai chi affects it. The hour-long program concluded with two dances and a fairy tale—a creative version of the benefits of the arts of Taoist Tai Chi, particularly health recovery weeks in Orangeville. Then we ate! Delicious sandwiches and desserts were accompanied by sparkling beverages in honor of the occasion, attended by almost 200 guests.
The most auspicious way to inaugurate our wonderful space was to fill it with participants in a weekend tai chi workshop. Attendees who began arriving on Friday were greeted with warmth and enthusiasm by Brandon branch members and inviting and tasty soups prepared by members of the Temple Terrace external class. For the workshop, Tony Kwong continued his “Florida series,” accompanied by Karen Laughlin, for two days of intense work on foundations and the first several moves of the set. Society members from distant locales such as Canada, Oregon, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Arizona, and New York joined representatives of most Florida branches and a number of southeast region branches to swell the number of attendees to 159 the weekend. The new space was filled front to back and end to end as well as with smiles and giggles as people found themselves running out of space and adjusting with the typical good humor that characterizes tai chi practitioners. And we sang as we did many, many danyus! (watch video)
Heartfelt thanks to all of you who, by your membership and participation in previous workshops in various locations, have made this renovation and particularly our kitchen possible. Thank you also to everyone who lent a hand to make this a successful and rewarding first post-renovation workshop. We look forward to many more opportunities to welcome you to your Brandon, FL, practice hall!