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Haligonians dancing under stars as salsa takes over Halifax waterfront

By Skye Bryden-Blom Aug 5, 2022 | 5:30 PM

Haliente Creative Studio via Facebook. (CREDIT: Stoo Metz, Click Productions)

Haligonians are dancing under the stars this summer as salsa takes over the waterfront.

Moses Diallo owner of Haliente’s Creative Studio tells our newsroom it’s about helping people connect with their community and have fun, especially after the last few pandemic years.

You might have noticed couples flying around the outdoor dance floor in recent weeks as the studio holds social sessions at two locations on the waterfront during the summer.

Diallo says like many businesses they were hard hit by the pandemic, so it’s good to see people getting out to socialize again.

“This is couples dancing, so you are in front of each other the whole time, for a 3 to a 5-minute song,” Diallo explains. “For us, it was pretty scary when the pandemic hit. We were basically shut down. We had our masks on the whole time. It was a difficult time. I’m not going to sugarcoat it.”

He says despite the pandemic, dancers still showed up to their events, donning their masks to spin around with their partners. Dancing under the Stars takes over the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia courtyard on Saturday nights. It launched at around the same time as the pandemic and was still met with success according to Diallo.

“People were still coming out with masks on and dancing all night long,” he recalls. He says the event is a great way to meet people, especially for those who are new to the province.

The studio also offers Salsa on the Waterfront on Thursday nights on Lower Water Street near the Nova Scotia Power building. A beginner workshop starts at 7:45 p.m. followed by two hours of social dancing with entrance by donation.

Diallo says you don’t need to be shy as no experience is required. You don’t even need to bring a partner.

“Come on out give it a try. The beginner classes are friendly,” he says. “Everybody is open-minded. We are all there to experience and enjoy each other’s company. Even if you’re nervous come on down and find me. I’ll gladly talk you through it and dance with you.”
He says they’ve been bringing people out to the waterfront for seven years now to help them become a part of the dance community. The events are open to anyone who just wants to learn how to groove.
“One of the things that made me fall in love with dancing, especially salsa and bachata, is not having a clue what you’re doing or what you’re about to do,” Diallo says. “You show up not knowing anybody, but by the end of the night you know a lot of people and that becomes your community. We have people who have moved to Nova Scotia and they didn’t know anyone, and within a week they knew 100 people. If you’re looking for something to do, this is the perfect opportunity.”
Diallo moved to Halifax in 2008 from a refugee camp in Ghana. He grew up dancing urban Afrodances and hip hop. He says his goal in bringing dance to the waterfront was to help people access unique spaces and physically bring them out into the community to enjoy its beauty. He adds dance is also a great opportunity for anyone who wants to get to know people without hitting the Halifax bar scene.
“I remember going out to the bar all the time, but when I discovered salsa I never went to the bar,” Diallo says jokingly.

Halifax Salsa and Bachata Festival coming to the city in August


Haligonians can also get to know the dance community at the upcoming three-day Halifax Salsa and Bachata Festival. This will mark the fourth year Haliente is putting on the event.

The Afro-Latin dance-inspired festival will take place at three locations around Downtown Halifax from August 18th – 20th.

The locations include the Halifax waterfront, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Rogers Square.

Diallo says there will be dance lessons, family-friendly events, and live Latin music performances. There will also be dance performances by local and visiting instructors.

“The purpose of this festival is to share, educate, and celebrate the Afro-Latin culture with Halifax through dancing and music, and to strengthen and empower cultural diversity within our community,” Haliente’s says on its website. “This year, we believe our festival will be something that brings life back into the city after the past two years we have all experienced.”

You can find out more details here.


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