Traveling dance instructor promotes unity of culture through Latin dance

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Tuesday, November 22, 2022 4:27PM
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With the pride of Haiti and the style of the Dominican Republic, Watson Saintsulne is blending salsa and bachata to promote pride in different cultures.

PHILADELPHIA -- "You don't necessarily need to know someone's background to be able to share a positive moment with them," says Watson Saintsulne, a traveling dance instructor and founder of the Hispaniola Latin Dance Company.

Saintsulne, who didn't start dancing until age 21, finds purpose in shaking his hips - he's serving as a unifying force for Philadelphia dancers.

Saintsulne is a first-generation Haitian American with a love of dance influenced by traditions of the Dominican Republic. While the two countries share the island of Hispaniola, their relationship has been marred by violence, and most recently, the expulsion of hundreds of Haitian children from the Dominican Republic without their parents.

Saintsulne advocates for blending the cultures of Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a way to improve relations.

"I just think it means that I'm in a position to really be, some sort of like a unifying force," he says.

Saintsulne has branded himself as a traveling studio dancer, where he teaches salsa and bachata all over the world.

"One of the best ways to enrich your life is to travel the world," said Saintsulne.

Visiting popular dance spots in different states and countries, Saintsulne catalogs it all on social media.

Making friends along the way, Saintsulne has earned respect from his fellow dancers and collaborators at Hispaniola Latin Dance Company.

Saintsulne is always "making sure that everybody is enjoying themselves and is aware that you don't have to be, like, a seasoned professional dancer to dance," said dancer Brandon Walker.

"If you want to grow, you're going to make mistakes, but if this is something you want to do, jump in and enjoy the process," said Saintsulne.

Saintsulne currently teaches at Haverford College for both the fall and spring semesters. For ways to get involved with Saintsulne's traveling dance classes, check out his social media.

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