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Salsa swings as the main course

Louie Cruz Beltran and his orchestra perform Thursday in Burbank.

August 26, 2012|By Laura Ferreiro
  • Nathaly Rafton and Jason Salinas, who are dance friends, learn how to salsa dance at the ninth annual 'Come Out and Dance Under the Stars' in Burbank.
Nathaly Rafton and Jason Salinas, who are dance friends,… (Tim Berger / Staff…)

To the casual observer, Burbank may not look like a hotbed of salsa and swing dancing. But anyone looking a little more closely this summer would have discovered crowds filling the sidewalks of downtown Burbank every Thursday night, stepping out to the smooth stylings of renowned salsa, rock and swing ensembles.

Concluding next week with a performance by Louis Cruz Beltran and his orchestra, Burbank's Business Improvement District has been organizing the popular “Come Out and Dance Series” for nearly a decade. Events are held along the AMC Theatre walkway at San Fernando Boulevard and Palm Avenue, and are free and open to the public. The series draws an eclectic crowd, including local families, young and seasoned music lovers and dance aficionados, as well as those who fortuitously stumble upon a free show while shopping in the popular downtown district.

Lively bands including rock 'n' roll revivalists Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries, L.A. Cuban salsa purveyors Orquesta Charangoa and renowned salsa orchestra La Sirena y Orquesta Mar De Ashe have performed at the weekly, all-ages concerts this summer, which bring out an average of 2,000 people every Thursday night.

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“I really enjoy playing events where the whole family can attend,” said La Sirena, leader of Orquesta Mar De Ashe. “That's the beauty of events like this. You don't have to pay for a babysitter — bring everybody and bring your kids and let them be exposed to culture and let them learn to dance. That's one of the things that attracted me to salsa in the very beginning. It attracts people of all ethnicities and socio-economic levels, and of all ages. And you're never too young to learn to dance salsa!”

The city of Burbank also organizes other events throughout the year, such as family celebrations for several holidays, the Burbank Arts Festival in November, car shows, and the Downtown Burbank Farmer's Market every Saturday morning.

“The main goal of the Business Improvement District is to benefit business and property owners,” said Marissa Minor, the district's operations coordinator. “We hope to strengthen the Burbank community and bring in lots of shops and restaurants. It's a fun area where people can come together.”

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