Bonn · Last summer, there was an uproar about a salsa group that danced at the Alten Zoll in Bonn. The initiator of the group was briefly taken into police custody. Now a compromise has been found.
Migrating birds are back from the south. This heralds the start of summer. Just in time for the meteorological start of summer, the warmth of summer is also spreading at the Alten Zoll (Old Customs). There, on Thursday evening in bright sunshine, the salsa and bachata dancers swung their hips again for the first time.
Ali Aldelfi Alejandro, who immigrated from Iraq in 2015, has been organizing this uncomplicated outdoor event for three years. He has apparently struck a chord with many: The Facebook group "Salsa Bachata y más Bonn" set up by Adelfi currently has 726 followers. The 30-year-old, who says he makes his living as a supplier and from a small online store, maintains that he is not pursuing commercial intentions.
Salsa dancers in Bonn: banned from city square in the summer of 2022
Nevertheless, at the end of August 2022, Adelfi found himself in police custody one evening. He didn’t want the other dancers to be sent home and got into a verbal confrontation with police. A dance school owner had previously asked the public order office whether he could also offer dance events in public spaces. The police then put an end to the loosely organized group's dancing pleasure. There was a suspicion that commercial courses were being advertised.
Fortunately for Adelfi, the lawyer Christoph Ebert from the south of Cologne was among the regular participants. In the meantime, he paved the way for a new beginning. Adelfi had to sign a lease agreement with 25 points listed, which is available to the GA. Dancing is allowed to be held each Thursday until October 19 from 6 to 9pm with a maximum of 60 pairs on a designated surface of 60 square meters in the Stadtgarten (city garden). Participation must be free of charge but Adelfi is required to pay a lease fee of 165.60 euros and 250 euros deposit. Ebert comments that the contract rather reminds him of what is used for a large event. What they find to be especially a pity is that it has to end already at 9 pm since noise laws call for quiet not until 10 pm.
Salsa dancers in Bonn: compromise found following dispute
Ralf Bockshecker, head of the citizens' office, is happy about the compromise: "We were never against the event. That's why we are happy about the solution," he says. Other groups in Bonn have been presented with comparable contracts for public dancing. Bockshecker says, "Even on private property, yes, you would coordinate with the owner." He says the regulations formulated by the Parks Department are primarily intended to protect the Stadtgarten from excessive use and to keep it accessible to other visitors. The space available there is limited, he said. The official end at 9 p.m. was intended to give the dancers time to relax, he said. "We wanted to avoid residents otherwise complaining after 10 p.m. because people were still hanging out during the evening quiet time," Bockshecker explains.
In order to limit the number of dancers, the dance evenings will not be announced in the Facebook group, it says. Only on Whatsapp and Telegramm.
(Orig. text: Martin Wein / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)