Photo credit: Peter Esherick
New Mexico Folk Music & Dance Society • FolkMADS  

The New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society - FolkMADS - is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting and teaching traditional music and dance. FolkMADS sponsors Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos contra dances, Megabands, concerts, camps, and other special events.


Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When are the dances?

We hold four contra dances a month: two in Albuquerque and two in Santa Fe. The ABQ dances are on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays; SF dances are on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays.
We also sponsor a mixed contra/English Country dance in ABQ on the second Sunday of each month (except summer). Our affiliated organization in Taos holds one dance a month; see calendar for dates and details.



Why did the dances move from the Heights Community Center?


In 2012 we moved to a new, regular location at the Albuquerque Square Dance Center. The reasons for the move were numerous, and there are many benefits to being a member group at the ASDC. Among the most important are two benefits that address major issues for our organization: secure storage for our equipment, and our own key to the facility. As much as we love the Heights Community Center, these factors make it feasible for us to continue our dance series. We also enjoy having the area of tables and chairs at the end of the dance hall, where we can socialize, take a break, and have snacks and beverages while still being in the same room.

Q: What is a contra dance?

There are lots of great answers to this question on the web. Rather than add to them, here are some good links:

This video shows why we love contra dancing.

Tucson caller Becky Nankivell has a good description, with a printable step-by-step guide to contra dancing, on the Tucson Friends of Traditional Music website.

Santa Barbara caller Gary Shapiro's page has good info, as well.

And, ya gotta love Wikipedia.

Q: Do I need to bring a partner to the contra dances?
A: No! Just show up!
Q: Do I need a special outfit?
A: No! Wear whatever you are comfortable moving in. However, to protect the dance floor, we ask that all dancers please wear clean, soft-soled, non-marking shoes, such as dance shoes or sneakers. We also recommend layering, since the dance hall (and its occupants) can get warmer as the evening progresses.
Q: What is this Megaband I hear about?

The Albuquerque Megaband is an all-volunteer, open, acoustic band that plays for our 3rd-Saturday dances. The Megaband was hatched in the mid-1980s, and has been an incubator for new musicians or musicians new to this genre. The current Megaband plays mainly southern Old-Time tunes, with the occasional nod to New England or Celtic styles. Check out the ABQ Megaband webpages for tune lists, sound clips, and more information.

The Santa Fe Megaband practices at the ODD Fellows Hall on ODD (1st and 3rd) Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Contact Gary Papenhagen at 242-1104, for more information.