OXFORD, England – The little girl wearing a sundress and a pink bow in her hair had not been on the schedule for the July Dancin’ on the Green, but that did not stop her from accepting an invitation to get on stage for a duet with the Zumba instructor.

She followed the moves of the instructor, who wore a black tank top, red gym shorts and white athletic shoes. The duo stretched their arms, bent their knees and kept their feet moving to the music. When their duet ended, the instructor invited more of the audience to come on stage, and the little girl helped lead the next number.

Dancin’ on the Green, set up amid the regular Saturday market of world foods, clothing and resale items at Gloucester Green, is one of the events offered through an organization known as Dancin’ Oxford.

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Program director Claire Thompson explained that the organization is “about giving people a good time and introducing them to dance, which may then lead to them trying out a dance class or event going to see a dance show in a theater.”

The four-hour daytime event featured a mix of professionals and student dancers from some area schools.

The act that followed the Zumba dancers featured two women billing themselves as Rebel Tap – Blues and Shoes. Dressed in overalls and head bands, one woman tap danced, and the other one played a piano or guitar while they sang standards such as “You are my Sunshine.”

The James Wilton Dance company previewed its upcoming fall show, “The Storm.” One male dancer opened the act, and then a man and woman followed him. The choreography included a mix of acrobatics, break dancing and martial arts in a contemporary style.

“Placing dance in the outdoors often also changes people’s perception of that space and what it means to them, which is always interesting,” Thompson said.

More information about Dancin’ Oxford can be found at www.dancinoxford.co.uk.

Emily Berwick is a St. Bonaventure University student studying in Oxford, England, this summer in the university's Francis E. Kelley Oxford Program at Trinity College.

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