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'It's been a long wait': Outdoor Salsa sessions start on Saturday nights in Coquitlam

It's fiesta time on Saturday nights at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam.

If you’re not ready yet to head indoors for physical fun this summer, a Coquitlam group has a solution: outdoor Salsa dancing.

Until July 31, the Hot Salsa Dance Zone will run free classes on Saturday nights at the TD Community Plaza in Town Centre Park.

For the first 45 minutes, starting at 6 p.m., attendees can learn Salsa, bachata, merengue and cha-cha moves from Alberto Gonzalez and Teresa Szefler.

The fiesta is open afterwards, until 9 p.m., and anybody can join in as no registration is required (there is no session on July 10).

Gonzalez told Tri-City News that the pair did test runs on site on June 19 and 26, with dozens of couples physically distanced.

“We did it very carefully,” he said. “We are confident that we are able to control the crowd in a safe manner, and open space.”

Participants don’t need a dance partner, and all ages are permitted. Park visitors can also pop in, or listen to the Latin beats.

Gonzalez said the past 15 months have been a strain on his artistic industry, with dance professionals around the world grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic health orders to prevent the disease transmission.

Now, with restrictions easing in B.C. on July 1 — with no face masks or physical distancing required (but recommended) — Gonzalez said many people are itching to get outside, be social and active.

“It’s been a long wait,” he said. “It’s a relief to many residents to have more interaction with each other.”

Meanwhile, the Hot Salsa Dance Zone’s regular dance lessons at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam are scheduled to return in September, when Stage 4 of the provincial health orders kick in.

• Visit or call 604-725-4654 to learn more about the outdoor dancing at Town Centre Park.