Step up and step out
If you are a fan of the tango then Nelson is going to be the place to be next month.
The third annual Summer Tango in Nelson festival will be a celebration of the Argentinian form of the dance held from March 8 to 10.
Unlike many dance festivals, Summer Tango will be all about people dancing together - no performances, no classes, no tutors, no workshops, just dancing and having fun.
Organiser Anne-Maree Therkleson said dancers would be coming from around New Zealand as well as from overseas.
She said so far she knew of one couple coming from Canada and another coming from Australia.
"We're expecting around 120 dancers from outside Nelson," she said. A free public event will be held at Fashion Island on Saturday, March 9 from 11.30am till 4.30pm.
A portable dance floor donated by Nelson Pine Industries and Gibson Timber will be set up in Fashion Island's car park and the event will start with members of Salsa Buena dancing from 11.30am till 1pm.
Tango dancers will be invited to take to the dance floor from 1pm till 4.30pm.
"This is a free event for people to come and watch, get a free merengue lesson from Salsa Buena and watch the tango," Anne-Maree said.
"We're encouraging people to grab lunch from one of the five eateries in Fashion Island, pull up a chair and while away the afternoon watching the dancing and listening to the beautiful music."
Anne-Maree, who runs the Tango Libre Dance School, said tango sessions are known as milongas and the dance enables people to connect with others on a different level from everyday life.
"When you connect with people through dance, especially tango, it's about sharing moments with them," she said.
Another thing Anne-Maree loves about tango is its international popularity.
"It's great being able to go to any country where you don't speak the language and turn up at a milonga and dance," she said.
Anne-Maree knows about 40 active tango dancers in Nelson but believes there are hundreds of others in the region who can do the dance.
She would love to see as many of them as possible at the festival.
"Tango dancers can turn up and pay at the door," she said.
DETAILS People who would like to attend the milongas as spectators are also welcome to buy tickets at the door. The milongas are being held at The Playhouse on Friday, March 8 from 7pm till late, the Masonic Hall in Nile St on Saturday, March 9 from 7pm till midnight and at Fellworth House in Milton St on Sunday, March 10 from 1pm till 5pm. Signing up for the whole weekend costs $75. To find out more visit summertangoinnelson. co.nz or call 027 238 0568.