Before the center was founded in 1938, the building at 42 Brattle St. in Cambridge was home to the Cambridge Social Union. The union, incorporated in 1876, also held some literary and self-help classes. But it was not until the Cambridge Center bought the building from the union that the philosophy of adult education took firm hold in the Boston area.
There still are, [Stephanie Moura] and [James Smith] said, the classes in belly-dancing, tai chi and the wines of France. There are courses in "I Hate Geometry," beer tasting and flower-arranging. This fall, a learn-to-ride-a-bicycle class began, filling up two sections.
2. Globe photo /[Yunghi Kim] / Dancers in the ballroom dance class at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education practice their tango steps to "Luna Bossa."