The Celebrity Series Tells Boston “Let’s Dance!”

If Swing is your thing or you have always wanted to learn how to Mambo, The Celebrity Series of Boston invites dancers of all ages and abilities to grab their dancing shoes and head to the Rose Kennedy Greenway tonight for the return of Let’s Dance Boston, a five-day music and dance festival.

The event, being held nightly through Sunday, features a different style of dance along with a live band each day beginning with a 45-minute free dance lesson beginning at 6 p.m. taught by professional teachers in the dance style of the evening. After the dance lesson, a live band performs a 90-minute set at 7 p.m. to accompany the dancing and continue the party.

Let's Dance Boston NightPhoto Credit: Robert Torres

Let’s Dance Boston first appeared on The Greenway two years ago when the outdoor dance and music party was introduced to Boston on a specially installed dance floor with an elevated performance stage at Dewey Square Park. This year’s event is being sponsored by Leslie & Howard Appleby, Amy & Joshua Boger, Stephanie L. Brown Foundation, Donna & Mike Egan, and Eleanor & Frank Pao. Additional support is provided by the Barr Foundation. 

Tonight’s event is all about Swing with Michael Gamble and the Rhythm Serenaders, featuring Laura Windley. Tomorrow, expect a little bit of Mambo with Tito Puente, Jr. and His Orchestra and Disco returns Friday with The Loser’s Lounge. Things heat up on Saturday, with Salsa from Orquesta SCC “La Excelencia” and the grand finale on Sunday features Yiddish Folk Dance with Alicia Svigals’ Klezmer Fiddle Express.

Lets Dance Boston SwingPhoto Credit: Robert Torres

We caught up recently with Gary Dunning, president and executive director of the Celebrity Series of Boston, to learn a little bit more about the event.

Why is it important to have something like this in Boston?

“I think for us, it’s a direct manifestation of our vision that the arts are for everyone. Not everyone is going to be a world class artist or dancer, but it’s a chance for people to learn a few steps and have fun.”

What age group is the event geared toward?

“It’s really multi-generational even if you just want to watch it. You can see senior people moving gracefully and families dancing together or kids watching their parents dance. It’s not about skill; it’s about having some fun. Let’s Dance Boston really embodies that vision, bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together on the dance floor for a shared experience.”

What can a first timer expect at this year’s performance?

“Each night, we offer one hour of free dance lessons of a particular style dance, so you could learn everything from disco to salsa. We have added in folk and world music with ethic dancing that is akin to line dancing. Swing and Latin dancing are the most popular, and you can learn the difference between East Coast Swing, which is very different from West Coast Swing. It’s really meant to be an invitation to Boston to just say, Come on, Boston, let’s dance.”