A rehearsal hall at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. (Photo by Megan Gleason / Source NM)
Following the pull of the music, New Mexico seniors can line up at the National Hispanic Cultural Center for free dance classes this month and next.
This is part of the multidisciplinary arts series, Siempre Creativo. Albuquerque’s National Hispanic Cultural Center will be hosting free dance classes, art workshops, genealogy classes and literary events through fall.
New Mexico folk dance is up first.
Local instructor Lucy Salazar will be leading the class on Thursday afternoons in May, before Carlota Silva steps up in June to teach salsa and tango every Wednesday until the last class on June 28.
The dance classes are free to attend. Seniors can register here.
Noël Merriam is the artistic director at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She said the series gives seniors an entry point into different art experiences.
It’s also a way to keep up with physical and mental health needs, she said.
“We’re really providing something that’s specifically catering to the needs of seniors, keeping them physically, mentally active while giving them opportunities for socialization with each other,” Merriam said.
This is something particularly prevalent after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was dangerous to gather, especially for those more at-risk to the virus like seniors. Merriam said loneliness was an issue even before the pandemic, and COVID only intensified it.
Siempre Creativo is a good social outlet for seniors, she said, and they can express themselves creatively at the same time.
“We really wanted to find ways for senior citizens to come and not only experience the arts, but have opportunities to socialize with each other in this setting that’s really specific for them,” she said.
COVID is still around, and people who are older or immunocompromised are at a higher risk of contracting the virus and getting a severe case. However, Merriam pointed out that these are small gatherings with only the senior community.
She said as a state organization, the National Hispanic Cultural Center follows state guidelines, which don’t require masks to be worn. “However, we encourage everybody to do what makes them feel safe,” she said.
A $15,000 grant from AARP, a nonprofit focused on the needs of people over 50 years old, is funding the series.
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