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We're working on 2017 information.

We're back at last year's location: The Albuquerque International Ballooon Museum. We're busy planning what should be the best Albuquerque Folk Festival yet, with camping and jamming Friday and Saturday nights, and entertainment, workshops, and dancing all day Saturday, June 3. As soon as we have final information, we'll put it up here. In the meantime, we've left the 2016 information up so you can get a feel for the fun you'll have at the Albuquerque Folk Festival.

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 with Lauren Soherr calling. In the Downstairs Dance area, we're introducing International Folk Dancing, hosted by the Thursday International Folk Dancers, with live music by Rumelia.

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 2016 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

10:30 AMScottish Country DancingKenneth Armstrong

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

11:30 AMDancing Along the Santa Fe TrailHigh Desert Dancers

Jim Calvert has been the director and choreographer of the High Desert Dancers since founding the group in 1982. The main focus of the troupe has always been western dance, but their repertoire is as varied as the cultures of the Southwest and, at times, contains some real surprises. This year's workshop will focus on several dances that were commonly seen around the campfires of the many wagon trains that traveled the Santa Fe trail from St. Louis to Santa Fe, beginning with the Varsouvianna, and a quadrille or two, and ending with a folk version of the "Cotton-eyed Joe". Contact info: email: phone: (505) 869-6391

Live music by Scott Mathis & Linda Askew.

12:30 PMSwing DanceDonna Howell

Learn the 6 count jitterbug-type swing that was developed in the 1930s. Swing can be done to big band, early rock and roll, Western (Bob Wills), or rockabilly music.  It is a versatile dance and is commonly seen on dance floors around NM as well as across the is the swing of the 1990's swing revival. If you do it in wingtips, it's classic swing, if you do it in saddle shoes it's jitterbug or sock hop dancing, and if you're wearing cowboy boots it's western swing! 

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

1:30 PMHula: The Art & Soul of Hawai'iCindi Heffner with 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.

2:30 PMIrish Step DanceJennifer London and Kim Coleman

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.

3:30 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 fall. Please contact us at for more information as we dance almost every Thursday night.

4:30 PMArgentine TangoJohn Roy

Learn the basics of Argentine tango. Teacher: John Roy Then join us at our weekly classes at Lloyd Shaw: Mondays and Wednesdays, 8-9 pm.

5:30 PMInternational Folk DanceBill 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.  

Live music by Rumelia. "Bringing you the exotic and delightful sounds of the Balkans."-Founded in 2010, Rumelia is a group of women putting a new spin on music from eastern Europe, a region generally known as the Balkans. Rumelia comes from the word "Rumeli" meaning "Land of the Romans," a Turkish word used to describe the Southern Balkan region. The music is unique to the western ear in that it uses odd time signatures (5/8, 7/8, 9/8, and 11/8) as well as eastern scales (maqamat) and tonalities. Rumelia's repertoire is derived from traditional and popular tunes of Albania, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria, to name a few. Rumelia is- Nicolle Jensen (vocals, doumbek, bass doumbek, frame drum, & riq); Sitara Schauer (violin, backup vocals, guitar, & mandolin); Deborah Ungar (accordion & clarinet); and Alysha Shaw (vocals, cajon, doumbek, bass doumbek, frame drum, & riq).

Upstairs Dance

10:30 AMCross Step WaltzGary Diggs and Kerrie Gorrell

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. Drawing on tango, swing, as well as waltz traditions, it is designed to facilitate spontaneity and improvisation. For a demonstration and more info search on "Richard Powers cross step waltz" or go to:

11:30 AMKlezmer 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: (click on "klezmer music/dance") and/or contact Beth Cohen at (505) 243-6276, E-mail:

Live music by The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer Band.

12:30 PMIrish Ceili DanceNorita 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, for more information. IT'S FUN - Join us...

1:30 PMDare to Be SquareKris Jensen with Virginia Creepers

Square dancing is a truly American folk dance that's evolved over the years to its current modern form. In this session, we'll learn dances that show how square dancing has changed over time, and you'll see a demo of the exciting modern dance where the dancers never know what will come next. You won't need any experience to try a little do-si-do; everyone's welcome.

Kris Jensen calls both modern and traditional squares locally and around the country.

For more information on modern square dancing in Albuquerque, check the Albuquerque Square Dance Center's website at FolkMADS contra dances often include traditional square dances; check them out at

The Virginia Creepers have been playing old-time music in New Mexico for 25 years. Past winners of the Old Time Band Contest at the Santa Fe Traditional and Bluegrass Music Festival, they play tunes and songs that range from the Civil War era and earlier to newer pieces in the old-time style.

The band features Rick Olcott on guitar, Scott Mathis on mandolin and guitarron, Laurie Phillips on mandolin and mandola, Jane Phillips on fiddle, and Marc Robert on bass and banjo. Based in Albuquerque, they play around NM and beyond for dances, parties, and festivals, and as soothing background music for the quiet and studious patrons of saloons and taverns. Joining them for this workshop is David Margolin on fiddle.

For more info:

2:30 PMCuban Salsa & Rueda de CasinoSarita Streng

In Cuba, the "equivalent" of salsa dance is known as "casino." 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 or 505-288-8713.  Check our website at and our Facebook page

3:30 PMCountry & Western 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 20 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 or for info regarding Gary & Susan's popular dance classes offered through UNM Continuing Education, or info about the ABQ Social Dance Club (over 600 members), please e-mail or call 505-299-3737. "We look forward to dancing with you soon!"

4:30 PMEnglish Country DanceMerri Rudd with 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 Bennett and Mr. Darcy! 

Music by Boxwood Consort During the late 1980s and early 1990s 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

Jack Klintworth--concertina

Scott Mathis--bass, mandolin, others

Linda Askew, Gary Mayhew--guitars

Juli Palladino--violin, viola

5:30 PMContra Dance WorkshopErik Erhardt with SyZyGy

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

Caller 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.

Live music by SyZyGy, a regional band with members from New Mexico and Colorado. With multi-instrumentalists, the timbre of SyZyGy draws from fiddle, piano, flute, mandolin, cello, percussion, piccolo, and guitar.  We 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. Finding we have singers amongst our ranks has also led us to do singing waltzes, ballads, and concert songs which has landed us a spot on stage at the Celtic Festival this spring. Core members are Robin Gurulé, Sherilyn Urben, Cleve Sharp, Tom Stewart, and Jeffrey Haemer.

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 Rumelia. Use what you learned in the workshop and more!

"Bringing you the exotic and delightful sounds of the Balkans." —Founded in 2010, Rumelia is a group of women putting a new spin on music from eastern Europe, a region generally known as the Balkans. Rumelia comes from the word “Rumeli” meaning “Land of the Romans,” a Turkish word used to describe the Southern Balkan region. The music is unique to the western ear in that it uses odd time signatures (5/8, 7/8, 9/8, and 11/8) as well as eastern scales (maqamat) and tonalities. Rumelia’s repertoire is derived from traditional and popular tunes of Albania, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria, to name a few. Rumelia is— Nicolle Jensen (vocals, doumbek, bass doumbek, frame drum, & riq); Sitara Schauer (violin, backup vocals, guitar, & mandolin); Deborah Ungar (accordion & clarinet); and Alysha Shaw (vocals, cajon, doumbek, bass doumbek, frame drum, & riq).


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

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.

Lauren Soherr is a high school student who has been calling dances in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico since she was 10. Lauren became interested in calling dances after attending a workshop led by Erik Weberg at the 2010 FolkMADS dance camp in Socorro, New Mexico. Her interest in contra dance calling has been nurtured by Erik Erhardt, Nils Fredland, Doc Litchman, Noralyn Parsons, Merri Rudd, Donna Bauer and others, and she has found a home in a new generation of callers from the Albuquerque area.