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Millerton shines under the stars

MILLERTON — Bodies twirled, feet shuffled and a few kids got balloon animals during “Dancing Under the Stars” July 24, a free dance event at Eddie Collins Field in Millerton.

The event was organized by Handy Boys Enterprise, a Lake- ville, Conn., based company. The event drew in many local business sponsors, a DJ, a balloon-animal maker and face-painter for children, a local musical collective and a dance instruction duo well versed in many styles and steps.

The main attraction of the night was the Esther and Ben Dance Academy, based out of Pleasant Valley. Ben Murtha, a rather silent man, was the perfect complement to Hungarian Esther Odescalchi, who played the role of sassy instructor as the duo moved through the tango, merengue and many other dances.

“Ladies, we have only four beats to go on, so will you get moving?” she asked sarcastically in a thick eastern European accent, to the delight of the crowd.

In all, there were perhaps 50 local residents who filled the pavilion at Eddie Collins Field, near the swimming pool. There was plenty of room for everyone, whatever the activity.

“It’s fabulous,” said Amy Baden, who was watching her 5-year-old daughter, Chloe, get a butterfly painted on her cheek. “The kids are having a great time.”

“Dancing Under the Stars” is the latest free community event put on by Handy Boys, which is run by Troy Ramcharran. He had been busy for the past few weeks, reaching out to the local newspapers and radio stations, advertising for the dancing event as well as two “Movie Under the Stars” planned for Aug. 14 (the movie is “Planet 51”) and Aug. 28 (“Astro Boy”). Both of those events are free as well, and will take place on Eddie Collins Field, starting when it’s dark enough to see the large projection screen.

“My thing is all about the kids,” Ramcharran said on Saturday. “They’ve got plenty to do, they’re having a good time. We want to make it fun from July to September, and it’s simple to be a part of.”

Local businesses in the area pitched in to help with everything from the cost of hiring Ben and Esther to providing free drinks and ice cream after dancers had worked up a sweat. And it was all provided free of charge, with maybe a few business cards handed out at the end of the night.

“A simple, ‘That was a great job,’ that’s all it takes to get me going,” Ramcharran said, smiling, about what motivates him to organize such special nights “under the stars.”

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