Traveling dance teacher from Philadelphia promotes cultural unity through Latin dance
PHILADELPHIA CREAM — “You don’t necessarily need to know someone’s background to be able to share a positive moment with them,” says Watson Saintsulne, traveling dance teacher and founder of the Hispaniola Latin Dance Company.
Saintsulne, who didn’t start dancing until he was 21, finds purpose in shaking his hips – he serves as a unifying force for dancers in Philadelphia.
Saintsulne is a first generation Haitian American with a love of dance influenced by the 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 mixing the cultures of Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a way to improve relations.
“I just think that means I’m able to be really, kind of a unifying force,” he says.
Saintsulne established 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,” Saintsulne said.
Visiting popular dance spots in different states and countries, Saintsulne lists it all on social media.
Making friends along the way, Saintsulne earned the respect of fellow dancers and collaborators at the Hispaniola Latin Dance Company.
Saintsulne “always makes sure everyone is having fun and realizes that you don’t have to be a seasoned professional dancer to dance,” said dancer Brandon Walker.
“If you want to grow, you’re going to make mistakes, but if it’s something you want to do, go for it and enjoy the process,” Saintsulne said.
Saintsulne currently teaches at Haverford College for the fall and spring semesters. To find out how to get involved in Saintsulne’s traveling dance classes, check out its social networks.
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