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Outdoor dancing on Long Island: 3 hot local spots

Alina Manzueta and Joseph Wong of Brentwood dance

Alina Manzueta and Joseph Wong of Brentwood dance during a free Sunday night Latino concert series at the Jones Beach Boardwalk Bandshell on Sunday, July 5, 2015. Credit: Aaron Zebrook

Long Islanders are dancing under the stars, on lawns of estates and in the streets this summer, as the warm weather inspires us to kick up our heels.

"We have people that come every week," says Lance Reinheimer, executive director at Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport where Thursdays are swing days. "This is our fourth summer. People hate it when it ends."

Since it's outside, it's wise to watch the websites for cancellations due to bad weather.


WHEN | WHERE 7:30 p.m. Sundays through Labor Day, Jones Beach boardwalk bandshell, Field 4, Wantagh.

INFO 631-564-0447,

ADMISSION Free parking after 6 p.m.

It's all about salsa dancing on Sundays at Jones Beach, when Latin bands perform in the bandshell with the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop.

Try some Zumba or take warm-up dance lessons in Latin styles including salsa and merengue before the band begins.

The crowd is all ages, and people often picnic before the show, officials say. The concession stand serves food, beer and wine.

Of course, there's always time for a stroll on the boardwalk.

"It's good family fun," says Rocco Panetta, events director for Jones Beach. "This is an event that everyone in your family -- from every generation -- can enjoy."


WHEN | WHERE 7-9 p.m. Fridays through July 31 at the historic bandstand on Audrey Avenue extension, Oyster Bay

INFO 516-922-6982,


Park and hoof it to a street dance party.

It's the fifth annual Dancing in the Streets event, with DJs supplying the music from the iconic bandstand near town hall.

Dancing demonstrations and lessons are free, too. Participants range from children to senior citizens, and dancing styles from Samba to line dancing.

"You get a great mix of music and an opportunity to be outside, dancing under the stars," says Meredith Maus, executive director of the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, which sponsors the event.


No need to wear your Valentino gown for these soirees, but you may feel like one of the rich and famous when you dine and dance on the lawns of these grand historic estates.

WHEN | WHERE 6:30-9:30 p.m. on select Thursdays through Sept. 3 at the Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport

INFO 631-854-5579,

COST $30 ($25 online)

"You can't beat the view, and you can't beat the setting," says Reinheimer, about dancing at the former estate of William K. Vanderbilt II, which is run by Suffolk County and has been open to the public since 1950.

On dance nights, which take place in a 50-by-80-foot tent with a dance floor, there's a half-hour group lesson before the band begins.

Learn the foxtrot July 23; then step up to the cha-cha July 30; learn the routine for that disco-era sensation, the hustle, Aug. 20; move those hips in swing dancing Aug. 27; and reach for your inner Latin lover to learn salsa Sept. 3.

Alex Torres and His Latin Orchestra return for a Friday night dance extravaganza Aug. 7. Gates open at 5, with the band beginning at 7 p.m. As you would for the Thursday night event, bring a blanket and picnic.

WHEN | WHERE 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 12 at Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury.

INFO 516-333-0048,

ADMISSION $10 (free ages 17 and younger with adult admission)

The Picnic Pops Concert series has been going on for 46 years, bringing people to dance on the great estate's expansive lawn. Bring a blanket, picnic and lawn chairs, if you wish. But you may spend most of your time dancing to the music of an orchestra or band.

This week's show features a five-piece Zydeco band, while July 29 brings The Brain Cloud, specializing in Western swing while encompassing bluegrass, Appalachian fiddles, cowboy songs and Mississippi Delta blues.

A hot new band, Vanessa Trouble and the Red Hot Swing -- a bit of jazz, blues and swing -- and plays Aug. 5.

After a rainout earlier this month, dance and swoon to the Harlem Speakeasy Orchestra's Frank Sinatra Tribute on Aug. 12 in honor of what would have been the crooner's 100th birthday celebration.

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