Coming! The 2017 Dance Fiesta

Posted July 6, 2017

Of the millions of viewers and fans of “Dancing with the Stars,” only a small fraction have ever witnessed an actual dance competition in person. Don’t let this be you! Every year we are offered the great opportunity to see a top notch competition live right here in Albuquerque.

David and Ivory Hammon and Tom and Karen O’Leary will once again bring the New Mexico Dance Fiesta to our city, September 21-24. The UCWDC sanctioned event, held at the Crowne Plaza, 1901 University Blvd NE, is celebrating its 25th year in 2017 and annually attracts some of the best dancers and competitors from across the country. It’s a wonderful opportunity for anyone in our area to inexpensively watch some amazing dancing, or to participate as a competitor at a very reasonable cost.

As in the past, the Saturday night dinner show will feature professional performances throughout the evening that rival anything you might see on television. Always a sellout, you’ll want to get your tickets early to avoid getting shut out ($60 now; $70 after August 1; $75 on site, if available). Returning this year are MCs Ronnie Benedetta and Damon D’amico and anyone who has attended in the past know that with these two on the mics, plenty of laughs are in store for the audience. The Dance Fiesta staff always does a first-class job of creating an evening of great entertainment, great dancing and great fun, so don’t miss it!

And just so you know — it’s not just Country! If you’re a ballroom dancer, this event is also for you. The 9th Annual Ballroom competition will get the party started on Friday morning, September 22nd, with free-style competitions in International and American styles for pro-am and amateur couples. If you’re a ballroom dancer, you know out-of-town competitions can be pricey, so take advantage of the relative low cost of competing in your own back yard. And if you’re someone who stays glued to the tube whenever a ballroom competition is on, get a taste of the sights, sounds and sensations of actually being in the ballroom with the competitors! You’ll get to see those amazing moves and dazzling costumes up close and admire and learn from the lineup of talented dancers from in and out of New Mexico. When the ballroom competition concludes, stay for a jam-packed weekend of other competitions, workshops (more than 35!) and, of course, the not-to-be missed dinner show. Dance Fiesta info: – Click on “register” for all the latest information, or call 303-319-2716.

The event begins Thursday evening at the Crowne Plaza with a Welcome Dance Party, which includes a workshop with Ronnie DeBenedetta (included in “Hot” event pass or $15 for both dance & workshop; $10 for dance only). The rest of the weekend will be filled with additional workshops, Jack & Jills (all levels so anyone can enter), open dancing (including a separate room for swing dancing on Friday at 6pm: $10 or free w/wristband), vendors like Dance Connections shoes and much more.

FREE ADC DANCE: Once again the ADC will host the Farewell Dance on Sunday evening in the Swing room, with a variety of music played by our very own D.J., Frank. Many of the out-of-state dancers stay over until Monday just so they can attend this always popular and fun gathering. So come out to make new friends and meet and dance with our guests. The dance is open to the public and there is no admission charge. The fun begins at 4 p.m., though some dancers take a dinner break after the Awards Ceremony and return later to dance and enjoy the celebratory cake.

REGISTRATION: ADC EVENT PASS DISCOUNT – ADC members can take off an 10% off the early bird price for any Fiesta “Hot” or “Mild” weekend passes. This discount expires on August 1, 2017. To receive this discount, be sure to write your ADC membership number (found on your membership card) in the box on the Fiesta registration that was provided in the ADC Jan/Feb/Mar newsletter. You can also pick up a form at ADC activities or get one online on the ADC website at Note: The 10% discount is not good on the 1-Day Event Passes.

DINNER SHOW: If you wish to be seated with a particular person(s), please make note of this in the box at the bottom of the registration form and mail your forms in one envelope, or, if mailed separately, at the same time. Seating is based on date of registration, so register now to reserve the best tables in the house. For those not attending the dinner & show, who would like to attend just the dance afterwards (admission at about 10 p.m.), you can purchase dance-only tickets for $10 (dance is included if you have an event wrist band).

HOTEL SPECIAL: The Crowne Plaza Hotel is offering Dance Fiesta attendees the special rate of $105 per night (1-4 people per room) but the discount expires September 6th or whenever rooms sell out – so book early! Many of our local dancers turn the Dance Fiesta into a mini-vacation and book a room for the ease and convenience of being right on site. This makes sense even if you live in the Albuquerque area and is so much more relaxing and fun! Having a room makes it easy for you to dance late and still arrive fresh for competitions and workshops the following morning. Booking a room also helps the event organizers meet their required quota of rooms sold for the weekend, so it helps to insure we will have this event to look forward to for years to come. Allotted rooms always sell out, so make your reservations now to insure you’ll received the discount. Call 877-270-1393 or 505-884-2500 and mention group code “NMD” to receive the special rate. If you are interested in sharing a room, email: and we’ll try to connect you with a roommate.

Many of you have read this before, but it’s worth repeating for all the new members in the club…
If you haven’t been to a dance convention yet, what are you waiting for? We are so lucky to be living in an area where we have a MAJOR dance event right in our own backyard! Many who have attended for the first time have been impressed by the high caliber of dancing, instruction and competitions, and have enjoyed browsing the great variety of dance apparel, dance shoes (including dance boots) and dance jewelry offered by the many vendors who attend. We also have several ADC members competing in this year’s Dance Fiesta, so please come out and cheer them on.

And don’t miss this opportunity to improve your own dancing. Those who’ve attended in the past can attest to the leap forward in their progress after attending a convention, not only because of what they have learned in the workshops, but just by observing so many gifted dancers and, consciously or not, emulating their captivating style. It’s also a great time to make new dance friends from across the country that you can reconnect with at other events in other places. These connections can pave the way for some great vacations and competitions in the future.

As anyone knows who has attended an out-of-town competition and paid for hotel rooms, meals and transportation in addition to competition or spectator fees, for those of us who live in the Albuquerque area, this is a rare chance to soak in the entirety of a high caliber competition at an extremely low cost (the full weekend pass is your best bet). So stop the “Dancing with the Stars” day dreaming on the coach and join the fun at the 2017 New Mexico Dance Fiesta. Register today!

VOLUNTEERING: Please contact Karen O’Leary at 505-363-9333 or for more information.