Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dancing by the Seine

Every evening, May through September, the riverside Tino Rossi sculpture gardens are transformed into open air venues for dancing under the stars. Free lessons are offered starting around 7 p.m. or so, but experienced dancers don't show up until 9 p.m. or later. Many of the participants really know their stuff, but all levels are represented.
Each of the semi-circular amphitheaters along the Seine features a different dance style: tango, salsa, rock or more traditional styles. The music is not live; CDs are the source. This is a spontaneous event, free to the public, but a hat is passed around for donations to help defray costs (a 2€ donation is about average).
The specific area is on the left bank of the Seine at Quai Saint-Bernard, between the Sully and Austerlitz bridges, within the Jardin Tino Rossi, named after the Corsican singer and movie star (1907-1983). This park was created in the late 1970s by architect Daniel Badani, and one of the sculptors represented is Brancusi, the famous Romanian artist whose career was made in Paris. Unlike most Paris parks, which close at sunset, this one stays open all night. Nearby sights are the Institut du Monde Arabe and the Jardins des Plantes (Botanical Gardens). From either of the metro stops listed, just head for the river.
Metro: Jussieu or Gare d'Austerlitz

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