How to enjoy the Rio Grande Dance Classic

Rio Grande Dance Classic logo

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.

Luna Upfront

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.

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