A free and popular outdoor summer series for all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, Salsa In The Park is an innovative community engagement project that transforms public space for public benefit through music, dance and education. A public health initiative, featuring movement as a key to wellness, it draws over 500 people from all walks of life every Monday evening from 6 pm to 9 pm for salsa instruction (dance and percussion), high-quality performances showcasing a variety of cultures and genres, social dancing and health and wellness promotion. Our weekly Salsa In The Park is held at South End’s Blackstone Community Center courtyard every summer.
In 2007 at the Charlestown Community Center, MetaMovements, with the support of the salsa community in Boston, produced the very first Salsa In The Park (SITP) program. In 2008 SITP expanded to the Blackstone Community Center to increase positive activities inside and outside of the Center in an effort to reduce violence and drug use that was happening in and around the courtyard. In 2014 SITP expanded again to include a Cuban area in which Boston Rueda has been an integral part of through teaching and engagement. To date, the collaborative efforts have provided arts programming (dance, percussion, theater, events hosting) for thousands of families, including meaningful summer jobs and internships for over 150 youth, year-round internships for college students, and free weekly outdoor events which so many people look forward to every summer.
Many salsa & Latin dancers in Boston claim Salsa In The Park as their favorite event of the city, not only for the appeal of dancing outside “al aire libre,” and witnessing engaging performances but as a way to give back to the community. Dancers, and non-dancers, volunteer all summer by donating their time to teach dance lessons to people of all ages and varying abilities; performing at the event; setting up and breaking down the dance floors; assisting with event staffing; maintaining a recycling program, and cleaning up from the festivities late into the night.