Saturday, March 4, 2023

OPENING NIGHT - New Zealand International Summer Tango in Nelson Festival


Opening Night NZ Summer Tango Festival - Nelson College -  Photo Stevan Polder

Energy and Excitement evident at Opening Night of the Nelson International Summer Tango Festival

The 11th annual International SUMMER TANGO IN NELSON FESTIVAL started last night, Friday 3 March, in Nelson and will end on Sunday 5 March.

The festival has always been organised and directed by Mrs Anne-Maree Therkleson Director and Tango teacher of Tango Libre Richmond.

Opening night DJ was Frida Kotlyar from Sydney playing Tango music for the first nights ‘Welcome Milonga,’ during which well over 150 tangueros from throughout New Zealand and overseas all danced away a wonderful evening in the spacious and magnificent Nelson College, Assembly Hall, Waimea Road, Nelson.

Opening night DJ was Frida Kotlyar from Sydney 

Walking into the hall felt like walking into a magical other world of colour and sparkle, a space where you knew something phenomenal was about to happen. 

Special hall decorations planned ahead for months, but “actually years” Anne-Maree said as they had to cancel two festivals due to covid. The decorations were assembled during the days before the festival and all put in place by a dedicated small team of Tango volunteers, under the close eye of Anne-Maree. 

The boys and teachers at assembly on Friday morning must have had quite a surprise with the decorated assembly Hall.

A very inviting supper was supplied which was enjoyed by all. I noted there was little left by the end of the evening.

“A splendid well organised evening” was one comment I received from one of the Tango dancers and another said “so much work has been done creating such beautiful decorations."  

"Anne-Maree is always so welcoming and her festivals are always really well run - it is a joy to be here.  We go to all of her festivals every year - we are tango junkies!”

Opening Night Nelson Summer Tango Festival 2023

Anne-Maree produces four festival per year around the country, but this festival is a special one in her home town.

I asked Anne-Maree how she felt about the opening night. Mrs Anne-Maree Therkleson said “I was so excited to see everyone arriving full of energy and excitement at what the weekend would hold. We have had to cancel the last two years festivals due to Covid and it was obvious from the buzz in the room that dancers were very happy to be in each other’s arms again, feeling that awesome tango embrace.”  

“This year we have the most international visitors which is really exciting for us - being able to share our love of Nelson with people who speak the same language as us, but who come from all over - Venezuela, Germany, Vancouver, Hawaii and just about every state in Australia is represented here." 

Magical decoration with different changing colour combinations made by Mike from Westport - one of the Tango Dancers

"We have four more milongas over the weekend with different DJs and tonight is the best opening night I could have hoped for. The hall looks magnificent, fit for a tango journey.”

Anne-Maree said “We will be dancing in the Nelson  College Assembly Hall on Friday and Saturday night and on Sunday afternoon. We were going to have the Queens Garden Milonga in the Queens Gardens on Saturday afternoon, where we put down a dance floor, but we may have a few showers so we have to go to the alternative venue the Trafalgar St Hall.”

The DJ’s for this afternoon’s ‘a splash of colour' Milonga is Junko Kobayoshi from Nelson. This evening is a glitzy night of dancing where tangueros will be dressed up in their finest threads, nothing being too glamorous or too fabulous! The DJ for this evenings dancing is Deb Waltenberg from Christchurch.

Anne-Maree and her husband Stevan Polder hope this afternoons festivities go off with a great show of colour and then this evenings Milonga, back at Nelson College, where they hope all dancers will have a fabulous glitzy evening ending at midnight just in time for that carriage ride home!

Pigeon Post News Richmond, Tasman.

4 March 2023

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