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Rumba 101 With Two Ballet Pros


Cassandra Trenary and James Whiteside doing the rumba at Midsummer Night Swing in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center.

Julieta Cervantes for The New York Times

It was a steamy Friday night in New York, but that didn’t keep the crowds from coming out to dance at Midsummer Night Swing at Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center. The open-air dance party, now in its 29th season, runs through mid-July.

The theme on Friday was ballroom. As the band, Margi and the Dapper Dots, started in on a rumba, “Sway,” it was joined onstage by two dancers, whose highly coordinated moves soon caught people’s eyes. The dancers were Cassandra Trenary and James Whiteside, both from American Ballet Theater, which has been performing next door at the Met for the past seven weeks. Ms. Trenary is a promising young soloist, Mr. Whiteside a principal dancer.

Their routine, peppered with dramatic pauses, tricky partnering moves and quick, flashy turns, opened with a comic flourish. She stumbled on, teetering in her high heels, pretending to be drunk. He acted the part of the overbearing roué, dragging her onto the dance floor.

Both admitted after their dance that they knew little about rumba except what they gleaned from a quick perusal of YouTube.

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