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DANCE | Salsa Under the Summer Stars 

This Friday, Essence of Rhythm Latin Dance Co. is hosting a salsa cruise on the 80-foot boat Harbor Belle. It is the second year the dance group has offered the cruise, the only one in upstate New York.

Darren Price, Artistic Director of the company since its inception 3 years ago and owner of the 5-year-old Rhythm Society Urban Wellness Center (758 South Avenue), told City last week that tickets have been purchased by Latin dance aficionados from as far as Ithaca, Buffalo, and Syracuse.

"[It's] part of a consistently thriving social dance scene in Rochester. Much more so than Buffalo or Syracuse. People travel to dance here," Price said.

The cruise leaves from the Charlotte pier at 7 p.m.(boarding at 6:15), Friday, July 25, and returns at 10 p.m., giving guests three hours to dance on the ship's upper deck to salsa, meringue, bacchante, and other Latin music from a live DJ while enjoying the summer sunset from Lake Ontario. Guests are encouraged to "dress to impress." Onboard festivities include a salsa dance lesson and contest. Pizza and wings are provided. There is a cash bar on the lower level for those 21 years old and over (although people over 18 are welcome on the cruise). Tickets are $30 in advance; $55 for two people. Only a handful remain. Purchase online at rhythm-society.org.

The after-party, with more dancing and a live band, Sonidos Unidos, will be at Papaya Asian Bar at Marketplace Mall in Henrietta. Papaya regularly hosts a salsa night that draws in the Latin dance community. If the cruise sells out, there's still the after-party. Besides, Price is already talking about maybe hosting another salsa cruise in mid-September.

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