Some 73 people gathered in midtown Manhattan for the NYC Tri-State Branch National Workshop last weekend. Members came from as far away as San Francisco, South Carolina, Ontario, Quebec, and across the New England region. The weekend began with a potluck dinner and registration on Friday night, the food reflecting the cultural diversity of the local Tri-State membership. Spanish tortilla (potato omelet), Cuban chicken with rice, Mexican avocado salad, and more.
An unexpected setback with a rental space made for a cozy environment at the branches main location on day one of the workshop. Instructors Marsha Eberhardt, Karen Laughlin and Sean Dennison easily adapted the program to fit the configuration. Focusing on the foundation exercises worked up an appetite for a catered Greek lunch.
That evening, the local branch hosted its first Holiday Banquet, for which 80 guests met at Delight 28 Restaurant in Chinatown. Organized around the four Aims and Objectives of the organization, the banquet program included testimonials from those who felt their Taoist Tai Chi practice has improved their health. Others shared stories of cultural exchange, community, and the help offered some members in the face of the devastation brought on by Hurricane Sandy. The evening concluded with beautiful musical performances from members of the branch.
Day two of the workshop focused on the kick sequence of the set. Karen Laughlin revisited the moves Tony Kwong demonstrated at CIT Week in Orangeville earlier this year. Emphasis was placed on the teaching methodology used in Orangeville, that is, small groups led by instructors who make individual and group corrections.
At the end, the instructors elected to donate the Red Envelope contents to a local Sandy relief organization. It was a full and rich weekend that reinforced the importance of practice and of the openness of heart that is a hallmark of the Taoist Tai Chi Society.