Cambridge, September 2014

dance party

central square dance party (sonya kovacic)

central square dance party (sonya kovacic)

Boston has a dance named after it, called ... the Boston.
A variation of the waltz, the Boston was reportedly introduced at a party thrown in 1834 by Sally Foster Otis, a Beacon Hill socialite. At the time of the performance, the Viennese Waltz was the favored waltz of the upper class — but it was characterized by a fast tempo that made it difficult for the average dancer. For her party, Otis sought out master dancer Lorenzo Papanti to give a dance performance at her home. Papanti shocked the audience by dancing a much slower type of waltz using longer steps. The dance caught on, and became known as "the Boston".
The Boston evolved into what we now know as the Slow Waltz, which is still performed in ballroom dancing competitions today.

(Papanti was a successful and skilled dancer who taught the children of Boston’s elite. In the 1932 book "Boston and the Boston Legend," author Lucius Beebe states: “All good Boston children went to Papanti's, where his lean figure, glossy wig and elegant patent leather dancing pumps, and above all his pointed fiddle-bow, used both as an instrument of correction and harmony, struck terror to all juvenile hearts.”)

Even if you you aren't a master dancer like Papanti, you can get your groove on tomorrow night at "Retro-futurism," an outdoor dance party under Somerville's McGrath Highway.