BOSTON, MA- During the past six weeks, the rhythms of Salsa, Samba, Bollywood, African Healing, Swing, Fox Trot and other dances have drawn crowds to the Esplanade for free dance lessons. For its season closer, Dancing Under the Stars will feature free dance classes in Mambo and Salsa, as well as performances by professional dancers, this Thursday, August 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. People of all ages and all dance abilities are encouraged to join the fun.

The Esplanade Association (TEA), a non-profit organization working to restore and enhance Bostons historic Esplanade, and World Rhythms Dance & Fitness, a professional dance company, have been hosting Dancing Under the Stars, a free dance program Thursday evenings on the Esplanade in front of the DCR Hatch Shell. The venue is provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and their Esplanade staff.

In an email to TEA, an enthusiastic Mary Ellen Reardon wrote, I can’t tell you how much fun I had, learning the various dance steps along with a bunch of equally excited strangers. All the teachers were excellent, though I have to say that since they were probably the most foreign to those of us there, the Bollywood steps were the most fun. Looking at the smiles on the faces around me, I think every one of us imagined we were in some big Bollywood musical production number. What a wonderful, unexpected surprise on a gorgeous summer night. I think it’s a great way to bring people together.

The music, the dance moves and the big smiles on the faces of the very diverse group of individuals dancing on the lawn captivated passers-by who just happened to be jogging, bicycling or strolling through the park. Many people stopped to watch, many joined in, and many returned week after week, bringing along friends, co-workers and family members.

The summer dance program has been successful in many ways, stated Sylvia Salas, TEAs Executive Director. Individuals of all ages and backgrounds children and adults have found common ground in dance that represents many different cultures. Very importantly, park visitors have had a chance to experience the Esplanade in a new and unique manner. In addition, TEA staff and board members, who have been at the park each Thursday evening, have been able to share information about the parks history and needs with hundreds of dance participants.

World Rhythms Dance & Fitness, which has organized the dances and provided the professional dance instructors for DUTS, has opened a new dance studio in Davis Square at 313 Highland Avenue, Somerville. The studio is holding an open house and offering free dance classes during the week of August 24. Dancing Under the Stars has opened up new avenues of exercise, fun and cultural learning for many individuals who were adventurous enough to join us on the Esplanade this summer, says Javier Salort, World Rhythms CEO. And, hopefully, World Rhythms will gain several new clients among the DUTS participants.

Founded in 2001, The Esplanade Association is a dynamic park friends group dedicated to caring for the Charles River Esplanade, a three-mile park along the Charles River between the Museum of Science and the Boston University Bridge. TEA has developed a high profile of success by partnering with the Department of Conservation and Recreation as well as with other non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals to complete important capital projects and to establish enriching and park-enhancing programs. To learn more about TEA, please visit our website at www.esplanadeassociation.org or call us at 617-227-0365. The Esplanade Association office is located at 10 Derne Street, Boston, MA 02114.

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