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Tony Lepore likes to play in traffic.

In the middle of intersections, he gyrates like Ricky Martin. He drops to his knees at red lights. He jumps while waving pedestrians by.

Lepore, a retired Providence police officer who lives in Pawtucket, has been dubbed the "Dancing Cop" for his holiday traffic direction that's more entertainment than public safety.

"Oh, I love him," said Mabel Brunetti, transfixed by Lepore's footwork.

"Oh, baby!" one man shouted as Lepore swung his hips and blew his whistle.

Lepore, 52, works two weeks each December to bring holiday cheer to shoppers at Westminster and Dorrance streets in the heart of downtown Providence.

Dressed in police blues, white gloves and an officer's cap, he draws smirks, applause and honks from passers-by. Some take pictures. Others shout, "Merry Christmas!" Traffic slows, and Lepore grooves.

He began his routine in the 1980s while directing traffic at the intersection, which did not then have a signal light.

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