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Celebrate Brooklyn! Dance Parties Kick Off City's Summer Outdoor Music Season

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Find storage for those snow boots and winter jackets. May's warmer climes signal the return of one of the city's most beloved traditions: live music outdoors. On Thursday night, the "Celebrate Brooklyn!" summer music series in Prospect Park is kicking off earlier than ever with a series of dance parties in Brooklyn Bridge Park. For the next three Thursdays, revelers can get into the summer music spirit with music especially chosen for its power to get people moving.

Each Thursday night concert focuses on one type of music — funk, salsa and bhangra — and includes performances from live big bands like Maceo Parker and Red Baraat with help on the turntables from DJ's like DJ Spinna and DJ Rekha, among others. For those whose grooves need a little instruction, the salsa and bhangra dance parties will have free dance lessons.

One of the most exceptional things about the Celebrate Brooklyn! outdoor concert series just might be location. Time Out New York music critic Sophie Harris said that no other city is quite as good at getting live music to huge groups of people en plen air.

"Dancing outdoors with your feet on the grass is one of life's great pleasures," Harris said. "And because it's early evening, you can actually see people who you're dancing with and it's not this kind of anonymous rock experience."

Another thing that makes the outdoor music experience different — and for many better than heading to dance the night away in the club — is the price. All three Celebrate Brooklyn! dance parties are free and open to the public.

Here's what to look forward to:

Thursday, May 12 at 7 P.M.: Funk superstar Maceo Parker headlines a night of funk aided by DJ Spinna.

Thursday, May 19 at 7 P.M.: The salsa dura band La Excelencia gets people in a hip-swaying, spinning kind of mood.

Thursday, May 26 at 7 P.M.: Bhangra big band Red Baraat brings its addictive South Asian sounds with help from DJ Rekha.

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