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Where to dance under the stars in NYC

Written by
Jennifer Picht

When you're feeling stressed or worried, sometimes the best thing you can do is dance it off. There are a lot of awesome DJs performing at bars all over town, but when the weather is this beautiful, it's hard to stay inside (although the AC is pretty appealing). Judging by our list below, it's clear that the best places to dance this summer are actually at NYC's best parks—not in da club.

Bryant Park’s Barefoot Ball
Normally, we would tell you to put your dancing shoes on, but tonight, Bryant Park wants you to kick ’em off. The midtown landmark is hosting its first-ever ticketed dance party, and it’s going to be a real humdinger. DJ Questlove provides the tunes while Sud de France, Bronx Brewery and Wines of Germany serve the booze. It all goes down on the Great Lawn—and did we mention that there's an open bar? After guzzling a few cups of wine, you won't even care about being barefoot—but you might forget where you left your shoes. 40th to 42nd Sts between Fifth and Sixth Aves ( Wed 20 at 7:30pm; $50.

Barefoot Dancing
Apparently whirling and twirling around on the dirty ground sans shoes is a trend in this city? Go figure. But who doesn’t love the feeling of cold, lush grass between your toes? Venture to the Bronx and sashay into Van Cortlandt Park, where you’ll get some quick dance instruction before getting jiggy to live music by bluegrass group James Reams & the Barnstormers. Van Cortlandt House Museum, Broadway at W 246th St, Bronx ( Thu 21, Thu 28 6:30–8pm; free. 

Arts, Culture & Fun presents: Dance Away the Night
Give a loud “yee-haw” while learning how to square dance at Rockaway Beach. The good folks from City Stompers will teach you all the right moves so you can do-si-do to live American fiddle music. Swing your partner ’round and ’round in the sand—and feel free to wear your cowboy hat. Beach 94th St off Shorefront Pkwy, Queens ( Thu 21 6:30–8pm; free.

Summer on the Hudson: Quiet Clubbing
Bust a move without bursting your eardrums while enjoying stunning waterfront views during this Quiet Clubbing event. Here’s the skinny: You control the volume and the style of music you’re dancing to through a set of wireless headphones. Choose from three DJs—each plays a different genre, like hip-hop or Top 40—and start shaking your rump like there’s no tomorrow. On the Pier, W 125th St ( Sat 23 5–10pm; free.

Learn to Tango Nights
It takes two to tango, but you can totally turn up solo at this class. Folks of all ages are welcome to learn this exotic rhythm taught by instructor Esmeralda at Stuyvesant Square Park. After the 45-minute class wraps, you can strut your stuff and practice your new moves until the sun goes down. West Fountain in Stuyvesant Square ( Sun 24, Sun 31 6–9pm; free.

Summer on the Hudson: Everybody Tango!
Learn to Tango by the water with introductory lessons by Strictly Tango NYC. Argentine music will be blasting through the speakers, while you confidently spin and twirl with a supportive community of professional tango dancers. On the Pier, W 125th St ( Aug 4, Aug 11, Aug 18, Aug 25 6:30–9:30pm; free.

Swing Dancing
You know what they say: “It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing.” Sing the “doo-wahs” while strutting your stuff in Forest Park, Queens. Elton Street and Jamaica Avenue, Highland Park Queens (718-235-4100,

Salsa Warriors at FMCP
Shake like a señora (or señor) with the Salsa Warriors. The crew will be dishing out a rowdy night of traditional and new music. From the live band to salsa lessons, you’ll be moving and grooving until your feet go numb. Unisphere, Flushing Meadows Corona Park; 7–9:30pm; Free.

Industry City’s Salsa Dancing Series at Sunset
Shake your hips and learn sexy salsa dance moves with music from Willie Villegas’ Entre Amigos until the sun goes down. Industry City Courtyard, 220 36th St, Sunset Park, Brooklyn; 1–5pm; free.

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