So we went to a party last night after the workshop. It was crazy, I tell you! We're looking at the house from the road saying, surely that can't be it.
To give you an idea of what we've seen thus far, all of the houses have been more or less one story, or derelict old mansions. EVERYTHING has been in walking distance -- typically within 8 blocks, maximum. There are very few parking lots, so most everything is parallel. All of Cristchurch is kind of built up around little central blocks that have little fountains and statues in them.
This house belongs to the Uncle of one of the swing dancers here who is leaving. I never really met her -- since she is leaving, she packed instead of coming to the workshop. Her uncle, apparently, is one of the foremost sculptors of Christchurch and his sculptures are displayed all throughout town.
The house is a huge three story house built by the Uncle himself entirely out of recycled materials. It is covered with broad windows and sits atop a steep incline. We walked up to the house in the dark, and the ragged stone steps were punctuated by hand lit candles. To either side were large, dimly lit sculptures in the shape of crosses, and geometrically curvaceous naked women. It sort of looked like the graveyard of the Adams Family.
Inside, I have to confess, I actually had a very good time talking to people who I barely knew at all. We had many good conversations about the habits, origins, and influences of Zombies, the cultural differences & comfort zones of New Zealanders and Americans, comparing and contrasting the Indigenous peoples of America and New Zealand respectively (you'll have to ask me if you're curious -- it's some interesting stuff). I didn't even get into a dance conversation until the end of the night, and I think I only danced 4 songs.
The inside of the house was covered with artwork -- paintings and etchings that the Uncle had collected. Some of them we had seen in a nearby gallery earlier that week.
As for the rest of the house, I imagine that it was quite grand, but, honestly, it was so covered with people that I really couldn't see that much of it. There were a BUNCH of people there, and I felt very underdressed. Nevertheless, Mike and I, being Americans and the best dancers in the scene, were a big hit.
So funny how something completely unexceptional somewhere (and out of your control, for the most part), could make you such a splash in a different setting. If we stayed here too long, I could definitely see a tendency towards big fish / little pond syndrome.
Thanks to the brevity of our stay and my stubborn insistence on my own suckage, I will return to you all as determined as ever :)