Dancing the night away

Big-name entertainers and free dance lessons are part of the seventh annual Come Out & Dance summer music festival every Thursday night on the AMC Walkway.
Starting this week and continuing through August, dance lessons begin at 6 p.m., guided by Francisco and Stacey Martinez of the Dance Family Studios in Pasadena. The husband-and-wife team will teach East Coast swing lessons in July and then turn up the heat with salsa lessons in August. After class, live music continues from 7 to 9 p.m. The event is presented by the Downtown Burbank Partnership.
“We are so excited with this summer’s schedule,” said Gail Stewart, business district manager for the city of Burbank. “July will be more than swinging with great bands, some new and some of our favorites returning. August will be a blast too with the salsa music. Ronnie Gutierrez played on ‘The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien.’ And, we are extremely excited to end the season with Pete Escovedo.”
Groups that have appeared over the years and invited back by popular demand are Barbara Morrison and the Bu Crew, the Wiseguys Big Band Machine, High Street and Orquesta Charangoa, she said.
Also returning are dance instructors Francisco and Stacey Martinez, Stewart added.
“They help complete the whole package of a great concerts on Thursday nights,” she said. “They are great in that they are adaptable and flexible in teaching the steps with the type of music played each week.”
East Coast swing will be taught during the lessons in July while the couple will conduct salsa lessons in August. Classes are appropriate for learners at and classes are for both the beginner and intermediate levels, said instructor Francisco Martinez.
“At the beginning of the class, the first 15 minutes to a half-hour, we go over the beginners steps so new people can jump in.”
As the month progresses, less time is spent on beginning instruction and more on intermediate, he added.
“The last week, we lightly go over the beginning stuff and jump sooner into the new dance steps,” Francisco Martinez said. “I also teach something new  and different for the repeat attendees. As we get into the third and fourth week, we expand the lesson to incorporate more challenging moves. We repeat things so people can keep up.”
For the basics, he teaches men how to lead the women and the women how to follow the men, he said.
“Turns are most important,” he said. “I’ll go to lead a lady to teach her how to react to a lead for a turn and what to do with her body and her arms during a turn.”
This August, Francisco said, he plans to add instruction in bachata to the salsa lessons. , a new dance form to the salsa lessons in August, he said. It’s the bachata a little different style of Latin dance.
“It’s huge in the nightclubs,” he said. “It’s more intimate and an easier form of dancing.”
The purpose is that If students learn a couple of new things during the class, they walk away with something new they can take it to a club that weekend,” Francisco Martinez said.
The dance couple is are returning for the fifth year teaching the classes at the outdoor venue., which is a welcomed change from inside a studio, he said.
“I don’t get to teach outdoors much, so being outdoors in the summertime captures the essence of the season,” he said. “The live music makes it spectacular.”

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