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New Mexico State University

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NMSU chosen to hold international dance conference

Coming to New Mexico State University for the first time in more than two decades is the 34th Asociación Nacional de Grupos Folklóricos conference, "Dancing in the Land of Enchantment," an annual circuit from July 1-7 that presents a variety of cultures through the education and art of traditional dance.


Coordinators from the university's dance program helped make NMSU the official venue for the conference, which travels to a different location each year.

"We're trying to meet some community needs," said Debra Knapp, director of the NMSU dance program. "So we talk about multiculturalism, diversity, and the heritage from many different areas."

More than 400 dancers and musicians from around the world are expected to participate in the conference, which includes three dance classes, lectures, exhibitions and performances each day of the week.

The conference faculty will include Mexican master dance teachers from Baja California, Colima, Veracruz, Chihuahua, Nayarit and Yucatán. In addition, Las Cruces dancers Jose Tena, Lucilene de Geus, and Paco Antonio will teach folk dances from New Mexico as well as Flamenco and Classical Spanish Dance.

"The area of land that is now New Mexico used to have its own traditional dances before being nationalized," Knapp said. "A goal is to teach that New Mexico tradition."

ANGF is an international non-profit organization founded in 1973 dedicated to the "research, preservation, presentation and education of la Cultura Mexicana and Latina dance, music and art."

"Very few cultures don't have dance," Knapp said. "We're excited to have something this big in Las Cruces."

The conference is holding three evening events during the week that will be open to the public.

On Thursday, July 5, a variety of dance groups from across the U.S. will be performing in the "Folklorico Showcase" at 7 p.m. in the Pan American Center. Tickets for this event are $10 for adults and $8 for children.

On Friday, July 6, the Rarajipame Dance Company from Chihuahua, Mexico, will be presenting traditional dances from their state and its native population, the Tarahumara Indians, at 7 p.m. in the Pan American Center. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for children.

The finale for the conference will be "Salsa Nights," a community dance in the Corbett Center ballroom at 8 p.m. on July 7. El Paso's "Azucar" will provide live music with their wide repertoire of rhythms, such as Salsa, Merengue, and Cumbia, as well as many other favorites. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children.

There will be limited spaces available for registration and classes fill up quickly. For more information about registration, visit www.angf.org.