“Let’s dance Boston!” » come to Rose Kennedy Greenway

Attendees get to the heart of the matter at the previous “Let’s Dance Boston!” events. PHOTO: ROBERT TORRES

Celebrity Series from “Let’s Dance Boston!” from Boston! event onelows Bostonians the opportunity to shake off two years of pandemic stress on the Rose Kennedy Greenway dance floor. The free five-day dance festival runs from May 11-15 and features live music and lessons in a wide variety of dance styles.

No dance experience is required to participate in the event, just enthusiasm. Each night will include a structured dance lesson and a DJ will spin music for freestyle dancing before and after class. Non-dancers are also welcome to enjoy the music and watch the festival, which promises a week of communal joy.

Attendees get to the heart of the matter at the previous “Let’s Dance Boston!” events. PHOTO: ROBERT TORRES

Classes and themed nights include East Coast Swing with instructors Katie and Paolo Piselli and music from the Eyal Vilner Big Band; Mambo with instructors G “Masacote” Rossignol and Lisa Field-Coleman and music by Tito Puente Jr. and his orchestra; West Coast Swing with music from Motor City Revue; Salsa with instruction from Jenna Robey & Luis Talavera and music from Edwin Perez and his orchestra; and Garba with instructor Heena Patel and music from Kashyap Jani & Friends.

“It finally feels like we can have a full season of events,” says Keelin Caldwell, director of programs and community engagement for The Greenway Conservancy. “What better way to start than with great musicians and free dancing in the park?

Joy is at the heart of “Let’s Dance Boston!” experience, but a pleasant side effect is a cultural education. Patel, the Indian Garba lesson teacher, says, “When you have spaces where people can experiment and play and be exposed to different styles, I think that’s really powerful because it allows people to come in in these niche communities.

PHOTO: ROBERT TORRES

Garba is a dance originating in the state of Gujarat in India and lends itself particularly well to the cautious return to group gatherings. It’s a community dance, but no one touches each other during it. Groups dance in concentric circles, performing a repeated sequence of steps while rotating slowly and then faster as the dance progresses. Everyone dances together, but not always the same sequences, and each dancer has their own flair. The result is a group of dynamic, multi-generational dancers who come together to dance as a community.

In a way, what Garba creates is exactly what “Let’s Dance Boston!” aims to bring together a wide range of people to celebrate with the joy of movement. “Folk dancing, folk music, is by the people, for the people,” says Patel. “Come with an open mind and be prepared to sweat!”

Colleen D. Ervin