How to enjoy the Rio Grande Dance Classic
The Rio Grande Dance Classic will feature competitions in ballroom (smooth and International), Latin (rhythm and International), swing, and Country-Western smooth and rhythm. The competition opens Thursday evening, March 31, with a West Coast workshop and social dance, and closes Sunday morning, April 3, with workshops. Most of the dance competitions are on Friday and Saturday, April 1 – 2. See the full schedule here. The venue is the Albuquerque Marriott Uptown, at I-40 and Louisiana Blvd. NE.
Rio Grande organizers have scheduled three days of workshops across three tracks: West Coast Swing, Ballroom/Latin, and Country-Western. See the workshop schedule here.
There will be social dancing on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Here are a few ways to enjoy the Rio Grande Dance Classic if you aren’t competing:
• If you just want to watch some dancing. Admission to individual sessions – Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday daytime and evening, and Sunday daytime – is $10 per session, except for the Saturday evening session which is $20.
The Saturday evening show is the highlight of the competition, featuring the top competitive dancers along with solos, formation teams, a professional show, and social dancing to the live music of Luna Upfront (pictured).
• If you also want to take workshops. You’ll need a $129 All-Access Pass, which gives spectators access to all daytime and evening sessions and all workshops, plus the opportunity to enter the J&J events (which have an additional charge).
• If you want to dance in the J&J events. The J&J contests — formerly known as Jack & Jill events — mix leaders and followers at random. Anyone can sign up as a leader or follower in the following styles: West Coast swing (several levels); Country-Western Two-Step; salsa and bachata; Smooth (waltz, tango, and foxtrot); and Rhythm (cha cha, rumba, and East Coast Swing). Each J&J style costs $15 to enter. Participants also need to purchase an All-Access Pass if they aren’t otherwise competing.
The first round for the J&J events is Friday evening and the second round Saturday evening.
• If West Coast Swing is your thing. Come to the opening workshop and dance on Thursday evening. Well-known WCS coach John Lindo will lead a workshop at 6:30 p.m., followed by a welcome dance party at 8 p.m. that will feature West Coast music.