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UNM Contra!

Friday May 1, 2015

1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131




Website: Click to Visit

More events at UNM SUB Ballrooms

NM FolkMADS presents contra dances and lessons, as well as music by the Virginia Creepers and a Beltane Morris performance.

See also: Culture Shock


Dancers were contra-ctually obligated to have a blast at this UNM contra dance in October 2014. Pictured in foreground: FolkMADS VP Emily Ruch and UNM student Joe Hay.
Ben Werner

For those unacquainted with contra dance, consider it the 17th-century British precursor to the “Cupid Shuffle.” Generally, it involves group step-dancing to old-time fiddle-and-banjo tunes as a “caller” directs participants in synchronized movement. It’s “the sort of dancing you’d see in a Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice-type movie,” says Erik Erhardt, president of the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society (FolkMADS).

With a lineage winding from France to England, Nova Scotia down through the Appalachians and into the South, contra-culture picked up a bevy of influences before FolkMADS’ 1983 formation in Albuquerque. On Friday a three-hour lesson, hoedown and performance commemorating the pagan festival of May Day will take place at the UNM SUB (1 University of New Mexico, second-floor cafeteria, 7:30pm, $5/members $4/FREE for UNM students, staff and faculty with ID).

Those of the two-left-foot disposition need not be dissuaded. “If you can walk and hold hands, you can contra dance,” Erhardt says. The Virginia Creepers will provide old-time tunes, and Erhardt urges participants to show up on time to learn the calls and steps. If nothing else, make it over around 9pm for FolkMADS’ more-advanced Beltane Morris performance—a costumed whirlwind that unfolds like a gang of drunken Irish chimney sweeps frolicking at Burning Man. (Sam Adams)

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