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Community is key at Latin Dance Festival

The Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival features workshops at which people can learn various styles of salsa as well as bachata, flamenco, son, merengue and more. (Courtesy of Ryan Dobbs Photography)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — ¡Viva La Mujer! This year’s Albuquerque Latin Dance Festival pays homage to women. The musical talent, dance instructors and presenters will predominantly be women for the ninth annual event, from Thursday, Aug. 22, through Sunday, Aug. 25, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

“What I really tried to do was bring instructors, mostly women, who have really paved the way and really come through in ways of inspiration and motivation and courage through their dancing careers,” said Jessica Montoya, director of programming for the dancers. “Several have made their way to movies and films. Some have started their own businesses in countries abroad. Really, I wanted to find women who our community can identify with and also really appreciate and be inspired by their courage and their talent and their perseverance.”

A lecture by Ana Alonso-Minutti at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, will focus on La Reina de la Salsa, Celia Cruz.

Alonso-Minutti is an associate professor of music at the University of New Mexico’s Latin American and Iberian Institute and a research associate at UNM’s Southwest Hispanic Research Institute.

A panel will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25.

There will also be a free music performance by Ivón Ulibarrí & Café Mocha in Old Town on Friday, Aug. 23. La Amazona & Calixto Oviedo Orquestra will perform on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the NHCC. Tickets are $20 in advance, $18 for NHCC members.

“We have an incredible lineup of women, locally, nationally and internationally,” Montoya said. “We also really want to make sure we are inclusive of all community members. We want to support our LGBTQ community, people who have migrated here especially in wake of the recent climate of our administration and our country, but also really just pay homage to women even from pay differences that men traditionally make more money. We’ll have a panel of women give a lecture, and it’s a question-and-answer. That is during the festival on Saturday, and it will be an entire panel of women. They’ll be able to talk about their challenges, people who inspired them, really, their experiences in the dance and music world.”

A number of Latin dance workshops will be held Friday, Aug. 23, through Sunday, Aug. 25. Tickets can be purchased for one dance workshop or for an entire day of workshops. An all-access pass also is available.

“We really try to be really inclusive of all dances,” Montoya said. “We have salsa, Cuban-style salsa, New York salsa, (Los Angeles) salsa, bachata, merengue, kizomba that comes from Nigeria. It’s a Nigerian dance. We’ve got flamenco. We’ve got boot camp classes on salsa or bachata for people who are brand new and starting to learn. We’ve got belly dancing and we’ve got son. I mean a ton of stuff. Son, it is Cuban. It is very different than salsa. It’s actually what developed out of salsa. (It is) one of the staple dances in Cuban dance tradition coming from Santiago de Cuba.”

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