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Dancing at the Festival

The dancing just gets better and better every year at the Festival. On Saturday, the dance workshops, in two venues, start at 10:30 a.m. Take a dinner break at 6:30 p.m. and then come back for the Saturday evening dances that start at 7:30 p.m.. This year, the Contra Dance, sponsored by FolkMADS, will feature the Albuquerque Megaband. In the Downstairs Dance area, we're introducing International Folk Dancing, hosted by the Thursday International Folk Dancers, with live music by Goddess of Arno.

Of course, you can always dance to the live music at various venues around the festival. And if you feel like dance jammin', you can join in the Band/Dance Scramble, with planning, rehearsal, and name creation from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and performance from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Dance Workshops

Here's our 2017 dance workshop schedule, with two dance venues. Don't miss the chance to try all kinds of different dancing styles. Thanks to Deb Brunt for organizing the dance workshops.

Downstairs Dance

TimeSessionNameDescription
10:30 AMArgentine TangoJohn Roy

Learn the basics of Argentine tango. Then join us at our weekly classes at Lloyd Shaw: Mondays 8-9 pm.

11:30 AMInternational Folk DancingBill Croft, Carol Toffaleti, Patsy Gregory & Marianne Arkeat

Teaching international folk dances from Europe, the Balkans and the Near East.

Bill Croft has been dancing international folk dance since 1981, and Carol Toffaleti since 1977. Bill and Carol began dancing in California, led the international folk dance group in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the late 1980s, and danced in Manchester, UK before moving to Albuquerque in 2006. They have attended workshops in California, Michigan, Illinois and the UK.

Many of you already know Patsy Gregory. She was the Albuquerque Folk Festival Dance Manager for the past 6 years before she "retired" and gave the job to Deb. She started doing international folk dance in about 1957. Patsy discovered Balkan dances at that time, and has been dancing them ever since. She specializes in dances that are done by folk at parties, rather than ones choreographed for a particular piece of music or the stage.

In 1971, Marianne Arkeat attended the Berkeley Folk Dance Festival and fell in love with folk dancing. She taught at the Mandala Coffee House in San Francisco for over 12 years and performed with Westwind International Folk Ensemble directed by Neal Sandler for 7 years and Marcus Moskoff's Bulgarian Ensemble for 2 years.  

12:30 PMScottish Country DanceKenneth Armstrong with music by Edith Boulevard

The Enchantment Scottish Country Dancers love dancing. We meet on Friday nights and new people are very welcome to join us. Scottish Country Dancing is usually done in a four couple set. The dances are Reels, Jigs and Strathspeys and are great fun and good exercise. Further information from Kenneth Armstrong at 294-0042 or karmstronІ0@comcast.net.

Edith Boulevard is a new local band featuring musicians Deb Bluestone on fiddle and Clara Byom on accordion and keyboard.

1:30 PMCloggingSandia Mountain Cloggers

The Sandia Mountain Cloggers are a local folk dancing group specializing in an American percussive style non-partnered line dance which contains elements of Irish, Scottish, and African Dance. Clogging predates tap dancing and is one of the first "street dances." Our dancing is very rhythmic with our feet keeping time with the downbeat. We wear leather shoes with a two-piece aluminum tap and enjoy making as much noise as possible. We dance to a large variety of music including country, bluegrass, pop, and we even danced to Mozart once!

Our group has been dancing in Albuquerque for over 30 years. We have an annual beginners class in the summer. Please contact us at sandiamtncloggers@live.com for more information as we dance almost every Thursday night at New Mexico Dance Academy, 10410 Comanche NE.

2:30 PMIrish Step DanceColeman Academy of Irish Dance - Jennifer London and Kim Coleman with music by Saoirse

Irish Step Dance is noted for leaps, points, and other precise foot movements, done to complex rhythms such as jigs, reels, and hornpipes. Two varieties, soft shoe and hard shoe, can be done as solos, in couples, or in larger groups.

Saoirse, Albuquerque's finest 'Celtic-Eclectic' band, plays progressive Celtic World music. Complimentary vocals, along with a richly layered mix of flutes, fiddles, concertina, guitars, banjos, mandolins and Bodhrans and sometimes uilleann pipes, make Saoirse an enjoyable listening experience, and a great introduction the power and beauty of the Celtic musical tradition. Band members are:

  • Harlow Pinson: fiddle, concertina, mandolin, uillian pipes, Irish wooden flute, low whistle, guitar, vocals
  • Lisa Nichols: concert flute, vocals
  • Claire Brown: vocals, clarinet, percussion
  • Tessa Frias: cello, vocals, percussion
  • Glenn Maxwell: bodhran(Irish drum), bones, other percussion
  • John Brinduse:  guitar, vocals
3:30 PMHawaiian HulaCindi Heffner, Ha`aheo O Hawai`i

Come and learn the basic hand, foot, and body movements that gracefully entwine to tell stories of Hawaii's history, places, people and traditions...all infused with the spirit of Aloha.  Hawaii's beautiful, joyous cultural dance is suitable for everyone of every age.

4:30 PMVariations on the Western Two-StepHigh Desert Dancers with music by Soda Rock Ramblers

The western two-step is one of the most popular country and western dances in the Southwest.  There are many variations on this dance depending on what part of the country you live in.  This workshop will teach a few of the more popular styles seen in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.

The High Desert Dancers perform mostly Southwestern style dances, some of which date back to the mid 1800s. Western Swing, Waltzes, Cotton-eyed Joe, and 2-step are but a few of dances performed.

The Soda Rock Ramblers, united by their love of traditional music, delight dancers and listeners alike with their unique blend of spirited music featuring old-time American fiddle tunes from the South and Midwest and the haunting melodies from the Southwest, including Mexican tunes, music of the Rio Grande (Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado), and the beautiful and rare Guachi tunes from Arizona. Rounding out their repertoire are ragtime pieces and music from other parts of the world. Among them they play fiddle, mandolin, guitar, accordion, guittaron, bass, mandola, octave mandolin, manjo-uke, and banjo-uke. The SRR have appeared at festivals, concerts, house concerts, and square and contra dances throughout the West. Their dance music will keep you moving and their concerts showcase lovely harmonies and original compositions. The band features Scott Mathis on mandolin and guitarron, Linda Askew on guitar, Larry Edelman on fiddle, and David Cahn on fiddle.

5:30 PMPolkaDonna Howell

Polka is an easy, lively couple dance of Bohemian origin in duple meter (it isn't counted in 3's!). It's traced back to one young woman who invented it, then showed her dance teacher who disseminated it. The dance was so well received by both dancers and dance masters in Paris and London that its popularity was referred to as "polkamania.". This craze spawned clothing styles and its own fabric pattern (yep, polka dots).  It was introduced to America in 1844, and has spread to several music and dance genres like country+western, conjunto and Norteño and waila. It is also popular in Ireland, the Nordic countries, parts of South America and of course, the U.S. Midwest and Texas hill country.

Come learn the basics and a few fun moves in this upbeat dance form. We'll be dancing to a variety of polka music: Classic Midwestern, Country, Waila, Mexican, Irish and old-time. Bring a water bottle!! 

Instructor Donna Howell has taught historic and modern couple dances for over 25 years. She currently teaches at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center in Santa Fe, produces a show of dance music on Santa Fe Public Radio KSFR 101.1 FM and can be reached at donna_jhowell@hotmail.com.

7:30 PMInternational Folk DanceGoddess of Arno

International folk dancing to live music. Use what you learned in the workshop and more!

Pioneers of the world music scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico, members of Goddess of Arno have been performing, teaching and studying traditional Balkan and East European folk music for over 30 years. The award-winning five-piece ensemble accompanies dramatic solo and powerful multi-part vocals with traditional ethnic string and percussion instruments as well as violin, guitar, saxophone, accordion and electric bass. Goddess of Arno's repertoire includes instrumentals and traditional songs from Albania, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Hungary (many in the Romani language and style). Goddess of Arno's musicians love the exotic rhythms and scales, which the southern Balkans absorbed from the Ottoman Empire. The virtuosity of the Balkan and Roma musicians is the source of inspiration and study for the band's improvisations, phrasing and ornamentation.

Upstairs Dance

TimeSessionNameDescription
10:30 AMCross Step Waltz--The most beautiful dance you've never heard of!Holly Gilster with music by SyZyGy

Cross Step Waltz is a relatively new social dance form, resurrected by Stanford dance historian Richard Powers in 1995. It has roots in dances of the ragtime era but is a waltz. This workshop will teach the basic waterfall step in a group setting. No experience necessary and no partners needed. For a demonstration and more info search on "Richard Powers cross step waltz" or go to: socialdance.stanford.edu

With multi-instrumentalists, the timbre of SyZyGy draws from fiddle, piano, flute, mandolin, cello, percussion, piccolo, and guitar.  They strive to create a unique sound for every piece of music. The main focus of SyZyGy is contra dance music covering the gamut from old time to Irish to contemporary new tunes and sometimes originals. Core members are Sherilyn Urben, Cleve Sharp, Tom Stewart, and Scott Ware.

11:30 AMDare to be SquareDoc Litchman with music by Soda Rock Ramblers

This workshop will explore western traditional square dancing for everyone. These accessible dances will be taught so no one will be left out. You won't need any experience to try a little do-si do; everyone's welcome. Come and have a good time!

The Soda Rock Ramblers, united by their love of traditional music, delight dancers and listeners alike with their unique blend of spirited music featuring old-time American fiddle tunes from the South and Midwest and the haunting melodies from the Southwest, including Mexican tunes, music of the Rio Grande (Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado), and the beautiful and rare Guachi tunes from Arizona. Rounding out their repertoire are ragtime pieces and music from other parts of the world. Among them they play fiddle, mandolin, guitar, accordion, guittaron, bass, mandola, octave mandolin, manjo-uke, and banjo-uke. The SRR have appeared at festivals, concerts, house concerts, and square and contra dances throughout the West. Their dance music will keep you moving and their concerts showcase lovely harmonies and original compositions. The band features Scott Mathis on mandolin and guitarron, Linda Askew on guitar, Larry Edelman on fiddle, and David Cahn on fiddle.

12:30 PMCuban Social Dance (Casino and Rueda de Casino)Sarita Streng

In Cuba, "Casino" is a vibrant dance that has incorporated son, mambo, chacha, Afro-Cuban sacred dance, East Coast swing and more into its movements. Casino may also be danced in a circle or wheel - similar to contra dance - with partner switching and a caller. Come experience the "de facto" national dance of Cuba at this workshop taught by Sarita Streng.

Sarita Streng has a M.A. in Dance Education from UCLA's World Arts and Cultures program and is a co-director of the documentary film "La Salsa Cubana." She is the director of the Rueda 505 Dance Company and teaches at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. She can be reached at saritastreng@yahoo.com or at 505-288-8713. Check our website at rueda505.org and our Facebook page facebook.com/Rueda505/.

1:30 PMCountry SwingSusan and Gary Kellogg

You'll be dancing NM's most popular country dance, Country Western Swing, by the end of class! No partners/experience needed.

Presenters Gary & Susan have been teaching dance in ABQ for over 25 years. Susan is editor of the free E-newsletter called "Local DanceNews" which posts LOTS of fun dance activities in New Mexico, as well as where to learn just about any form of dance. To subscribe to LDN, Gary & Susan's dance class schedule, or info about the ABQ Dance Club (over 600 members), please e-mail glkello@nmia.com or call 505-299-3737. "We look forward to dancing with you soon!"

2:30 PMEnglish Country DanceNoralyn Parsons with music by Boxwood Consort

If you've watched Pride and Prejudice on TV, or seen Sense and Sensibility or Emma at the movies, you have seen English Country dancing. People love English Country dancing because of the hauntingly beautiful music, the grace and elegance as you glide through the moves, and the fleeting connections and flirtations between you, your partner, and the other dancers. Learn these easy but elegant dances, flirt with your partner, channel your inner king or queen, and pretend you are Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy!

During the late 1980s and early1990s a band called Boxwood Consort, led by clarinetist Bill "Doc" Litchman, became the first band in New Mexico to focus on playing English Country Dance music.  Doc, along with a number of dancers interested in the English style, organized the first regularly occurring English dances in Albuquerque. These dances, which started as pure ECDs, eventually morphed into the present-day second Sunday dances in Albuquerque, which combine contra and English Country dancing.  Over the years, Boxwood Consort comprised perhaps a dozen players, some coming and going, but with a solid core of five or six musicians who were in the band from start to finish.  Now, six members of the original band have revived the group, and they sound better than ever!

  • Bill "Doc" Litchman--clarinet
  • Scott Mathis--bass, mandolin, others
  • Linda Askew, Gary Mayhew--guitars
  • Juli Palladino--violin, viola
  • Jack Klintworth – concertina
  • Katie Harlow – cello, mandolin
3:30 PMContra DanceBen Werner with music by Cheap Shots

This "rhythmic swirl of awesomeness and dancing" is a style of traditional American folk social dance in long line sets down the dance hall. These dances are social, providing opportunity for dancers to relate to each other in a fun and non-stressful way. All of the dances are taught, and beginners are welcomed warmly and encouraged.

Every Saturday you can enjoy contra and traditional community dancing with the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society (FolkMADS). On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month dances are in Albuquerque, and on 2nd and 4th Saturdays they are in Santa Fe (see FolkMADS.org).

Caller Ben Werner started calling in 2013 after moving to Albuquerque. After having grown up dancing in New York, he wanted to contribute to the community by calling and leading dances. Ben has been calling dances in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe since 2015, with the occasional workshops and guest appearances at national dance events.

An eclectic acoustic dance and performance band featuring a mix of traditional American old time, new time and Celtic music. The band also plays bluegrass, swing, vocal, and original tunes and songs. The band keeps their music styles diverse and occasionally throws in crazy arrangements - all for the purpose of making dancing interesting and lots of fun! Members are:

  • Peter Esherick on hammered dulcimer and mandolin and banjo
  • Jimmy Abraham on fiddle, harmonica, guitar, and vocals
  • Pat Aruffo on fiddle
  • Erika Gerety on bass, mandolin, and vocals
  • John Brinduse on keyboard, some guitar, and percussion
  • Bill Balassi on guitar and mandolin
4:30 PMKlezmer & Yiddish DanceRikud Yiddish Dancers and Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band

Rikud Yiddish dancers will lead you in traditional Eastern European Jewish dances to Klezmer music performed by the Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band.

Both groups rehearse regularly and are open for the public to join. The groups also co-produce, along with the non-profit Nahalat Shalom, "Klezmerquerque" - a weekend of workshops and performances featuring world-renowned klezmer dancers, musicians & scholars held annually over Presidents' Day Weekend.

For more information regarding klezmer/Yiddish music and dance events in the area, Rikud, the Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band, and Klezmerquerque visit: nahalatshalom.org (click on "klezmer music/dance") and/or contact Beth Cohen at (505) 243-6276, E-mail: cohenedmunds@netzero.net

5:30 PMIrish CeiliNorita Callahan

A lively Irish hoedown, led by Norita Callahan, with round, line and square figures danced to reels 'n jigs 'n hornpipe music.

Traditional Irish Ceili (K-lee) folk dance classes for beginners - teen to adult - are held on Wednesday evenings at 7pm. These classes have been on going in Albuquerque since 1985.

Ceili dances are simple, mildly aerobic and no partner is needed. We dance 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 16 hand dances in round, square and line formations. The lively music - which makes your feet want to dance - are reels, jigs, polkas and hornpipes.

Please call/email Norita 298-2708, noraabq@yahoo.com for more information. IT'S FUN - Join us...

7:30 PMFolkMADS Contra DanceErik Erhardt with music by Albuquerque Megaband

Music by the Albuquerque Megaband and calling by Erik Erhardt.

Erik Erhardt calls contra and English country dance and teaches couples dancing (such as rotary and cross-step waltz and Scandinavian) at local community dances, dance weekends, and dance weeks throughout the U.S

The Albuquerque Megaband is an open acoustic band that plays for each 3rd Saturday contra dance in ABQ. Since its beginnings in the early 1980s it has provided a place for experienced musicians and those just starting out to play together at FolkMADS dances, workshops, and occasionally other events.




Evening dancing for everybody

Saturday Night

International Folk Dance in the Downstairs Dance area, 7:30-10:30 p.m., hosted by the Thursday International Folk Dancers with live music by Goddess of Arno. Use what you learned in the workshop and more!

Pioneers of the world music scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico, members of Goddess of Arno have been performing, teaching and studying traditional Balkan and East European folk music for over 30 years. The award-winning five-piece ensemble accompanies dramatic solo and powerful multi-part vocals with traditional ethnic string and percussion instruments as well as violin, guitar, saxophone, accordion and electric bass. Goddess of Arno’s repertoire includes instrumentals and traditional songs from Albania, the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Hungary (many in the Romani language and style). Goddess of Arno’s musicians love the exotic rhythms and scales, which the southern Balkans absorbed from the Ottoman Empire. The virtuosity of the Balkan and Roma musicians is the source of inspiration and study for the band’s improvisations, phrasing and ornamentation.

and

NM FolkMADS Contra Dance in the Upstairs Dance area from 7:30 - 10:30 p.m..  Music by the Albuquerque Megaband and calling by Erik Erhardt.

The Albuquerque Megaband is an open acoustic band that plays for each 3rd Saturday contra dance in ABQ. Since its beginnings in the early 1980s it has provided a place for experienced musicians and those just starting out to play together at FolkMADS dances, workshops, and occasionally other events.

Erik Erhardt calls contra and English country dance and teaches couples dancing (such as rotary and cross-step waltz and Scandinavian) at local community dances, dance weekends, and dance weeks throughout the U.S.