At 11:45 Friday there was almost no one on the New Haven Green. That changed in 15 minutes as the members of the Bossa Nova Project took the Green’s mainstage, starting off the second-to-last day of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas.
“Feel free to dance. Feel free to sing. Feel free to have fun with us today,” pianist and singer Isabella Mendes said with a wide smile. Without further ado the band launched into a light, fleet groove, piano and guitar and bass weaving in and out from one another while Mendes’s vocals and lines from the flute floated over the top.
As guitarist Joe Carter took a lyrical solo, the people who had already parked themselves on the Green bobbed their heads and smiled. Meanwhile, people who were just walking by decided to linger.
Developer Randy Salvatore plans to buy a lot on the corner of George and High Streets, now that the city’s given him the necessary approvals to revive a plan to build a hotel there for long-term guests.
There was no particular sign that the New York City-based Fulaso was going to be a party band when it took the stage at the International Festival of Arts and Idea’s first big show on the Green Saturday evening.
The trombone player blew a few notes into his microphone. The band members took their positions. Someone counted off. “One, two.” And boom: instant groove.
“Now I like salsa, and I like the mambo too,” singer Erica Ramos crooned. “but nothing gives me that fever like doing the bugaloo.”
Svenja Wacker is trying to teach her daughters Stella and Luna that it’s OK to move to their own rhythms. So when she found out that a big, public dance lesson was rolling into town, she didn’t miss a beat. Or in this case, a one-two step. She scooped up her daughters into the car, and drove right for downtown New Haven.
A lone dancer appeared on stage, exuding childhood, the sense of freedom, of not being sure what to do with her limbs and not caring. She tapped in her sneakers. She did the running man. And at last, she began kicking up chalk dust. It rose around her, still dust, but in the light, it looked a little like steam, too, or like smoke.
For just a minute, it seemed as though the dancer was tapping across the surface of a hot skillet. Like if she stopped moving, she’d be cooked. So the dancer’s exuberance had danger in it. Her joy was an end in itself. But maybe it was necessary for her survival, too.
New Haven shop girls could attain the Victorian hourglass figure they craved when Strouse, Adler & Company finally came up with an affordable corset with stays made from metal, not from expensive whale bone.
And when the very last slave auction was held on the New Haven Green, back on March 23, 1825, a mother and daughter — 40-year-old Lois Tritten and her 16-year-old daughter Lucy — were sold at a bargain price, two for ten dollars. Their buyer, Anthony Sandford, a member of Trinity Church and an abolitionist, immediately freed them.