Albuquerque dance fest aims to build community

“The most exciting thing about partner dancing, in particular salsa dancing, is that it crosses, economic, cultural and age gaps, if you will. … Your economic background makes absolutely no difference when you’re out dancing,” Santiago Candelaria, programming chair for the Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival, said. Candelaria and others are working with Guanábana Productions and the National Hispanic Cultural Center to put on the first Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival. The festival will run Monday, Aug. 23 through Sunday, Aug. 29 and will showcase various types of dance including salsa, tango and swing dancing. There will be social events each of the seven nights of the festival and an equal number of teaching events, if not more, each morning. Styles of dance that will be taught during the morning classes includes Los Angeles style salsa, mambo or New York style salsa, Cuban style, bachacha, which is a dance style coming from the Dominican,  cha-cha classes, Argentine tango classes, flamenco and zumba. “Before all the social dancing there are classes beforehand, through the week. If you don’t have any idea how to cha cha or salsa or anything like that, if you go beforehand you’ll know how to apply them,” Kyla Donner, a UNM student doing public relations for the event said. The Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning classes will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the NHCC. The evening events will be:

  • Monday — Double Time Dance Studio
  • Tuesday — Live band in UNM Student Union Building partnered with Lambda Theta Phi, Latin Fraternity
  • Wednesday — The Library Bar and Grill, smaller live bands
  • Thursday — One Up Elevated Lounge, local band
  • Friday — Hotel Andaluz, two local bands
  • Saturday — NHCC and the Cooperage Restaurant and Lounge, Son Coma Son
  • Sunday — Salsa Baby dance venue, DJ Louis Head and smaller live band

The event is still organizing and getting bands and performers lined up. A more official schedule of events will be posted on their website,, on its launch date, May 20. Many of the evening social events that the festival is hosting are already on-going events in Albuquerque. Donner said “All weekday events are events that are always happening. If after the festival you decide that it’s something you really like, it’s a continual thing. Monday night at double time — that’s going to be there; that’s a constant thing. This is not just something that lasts just a week. It can be something you add into your life.”

Candelaria said the event was inspired by other similar dance festivals that happen across the country. “The model that we’re really looking at is an event called the Capital City Salsa Conference in Austin, (Texas),” Candelaria said. They plan to make the Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival an annual event.

Tickets vary in price from daily rates around $10 to $150 for a week-long pass. Tickets can be purchased online on their website and will be available at some point through Ticket Master. They can also be purchased through the NHCC. Those who want to perform or teach can e-mail and