Next week kicks off the first of Celebrate Brooklyn’s free dance parties at Brooklyn Bridge Park, and if you haven’t been yet, this is the year you need to get down there.
Dancing isn’t even a requirement. The waterfront beer and wine gardens, food trucks, and stunning city views are reason enough to come. And as the sprawling lawn of Pier 1 becomes a sea of dancers moving to live New Orleans funk, Afro-Cuban music and old-school hip-hop, every night becomes one of those “This is why I live in New York” moments. Each party is produced by BRIC, the same folks who bring us Celebrate Brooklyn’s free outdoor concerts in Prospect Park.
Thursday, May 9 the dance party brings on New Orleans funk band, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, led by the electronic trombone-wielding Big Sam Williams. The Freedom Party NYC DJs Cosi, Herbert Holler, and Marc Smooth–whose Friday night dance party, now at Le Poisson Rouge, is the longest-running weekly dance party in New York–will warm things up with a mix of classic hip-hop, R&B, reggae, 80s, rock, house, soul and funk hits.
The Afro-Cuban dance party on May 16, pairs Havana-born, congas master Pedrito Martinez and DJ Nickodemus of Turntables on the Hudson fame. If you want to master the moves of Cuban and African dance, get there early for lessons from Yesenia Selier of Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance.
The last party on May 23 will be a blow-out old-school night of funk and hip-hop with Zapp and D-Nice. Zapp goes way back—Parliament-Funkadelic discovered them in 1979 and their hits, like “More Bounce to the Ounce” and “Computer Love” have been sampled by everyone from 2Pac to Jay-Z. D-Nice is a familiar face at Santos Party House and the White House—he DJed at Obama’s second inaugural ball. Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie (of Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, and Joffrey Ballet School) will be on hand early for hip-hop dance lessons.
Each party is free and takes place on the massive lawn of Pier 1, starting at 7pm, rain or shine. The bike valet is also free, though arriving by East River Ferry is a pretty sweet way to go, too.