Mayor’s Response, October 22, 2019

We have new deatils! Thanks to the diligence of a member of out community we have received response from Mayor Tim Keller regarding the policy. The following is an excerpt from the email response:

Dear [omitted],

Thank you for reaching out regarding the City’s requirement that guests of our Community Center’s obtain and present a membership card for entry. This policy is not a new one for the City and is uniform across all our facilities.

It was recently brought to our attention that the policy had not been followed at the Heights Community Center, and we are now correcting that oversight. I do apologize for any inconvenience, however, having a comprehensive list of who is using our facility at any given time helps us to ensure the safety of our patrons. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding this issue, please contact Aaron Nieto in my office at [omitted].

At the City of Albuquerque we want to know about the issues that matter most to our residents, and I appreciate hearing from you about how we can make our City government work better, smarter and more efficiently to make Albuquerque a safe, innovative, and inclusive community for all.


[digital signature from Mayor Tim Keller]

Timothy M. Keller Mayor

We have omitted a few pieces of the email: 1) the recipient’s name for privacy reasons, 2) the contact number for Aaron Nieto because we have not been able to confirm if the number is public or private, and 3) the Mayor’s digital signature.

We have updated our content with this new information.

What’s happening?

The city of Albuquerque instituted a policy requiring all guests of the city’s community centers “obtain and present” a membership card for entry into any event that is hosted at a local community center. This policy had not been enforced at the Heights community center, and they are now working on enforcing it. This means any persons who would want to attend the local Tuesday Night Swing dance would be required to get a community center ID which entails registering with the city of Albuquerque, getting your picture taken, and obtaining the identifaction card / fob. This ID card would be required to be used every time a person wants entry into the dance.

Further, speaking to Aaron Nieto (whom we are working on getting contact information for), we have been told that the new policy is to improve safety and limit liability, even though the Heights dance has been operating for 21 years without any major problems. These policies are expected to be implemented in the next 6–8 weeks.

How will this effect the dance?

Aside from the obvious privacy concerns associated with registering and obtaining a photo ID from city government, we have a number of concerns centered around accessibility of the dance.

All dance communities survive on the ability for people of various dedication levels to participate. While focus is often drawn to the dedicated dancers that spend their free time practicing and honing their craft, it is through the support of dancers of all dedication levels that maintain a strong dance community. We rely on those who show up weekly and those who show up when they can get a sitter, when they have the night off work, or simply when they have the time to spare. We also rely strongly on new dancers, who take the risk to try a new activity. We have all been those new dancers, and understand how daunting this can be.

Adding additional barriers to the entry of new dancers will simply deter people from showing up. And any dance scene that does not have a consistent flow of new dancers into the scene will ultimately disappear. Perhaps not tomorrow, but in time.

The Tuesday Night Swing dance at the Heights community center has been a staple of the Albuqeurque social dance scene for 21 years. It is entirely not-for-profit and exists through the efforts of its coordinators and volunteers. This dance not only introduces the Albuquerque community to East Coast swing dancing, but also provides a space for local instructors to teach jitterbug, lindy-hop, balboa, various forms of shag dancing, West Coast swing, Argentine Tango, Zouk, Blues, fusion, and many more. It is hard to state the importance of this dance for all of social dancing in Albuquerque, and that’s why it’s so important for us to work to save it.

For more information regarding specific concerns in our community please see our concerns.

What can I do?

First: get involved. We are working on a number of ways that you, as an important member of our community, can help.

Second: Stay tuned! We’re working on organizing some outreach campaigns—letters, emails, and the like. Please take part in these with us.

One great way to help would be to help us reach out to the city government to inform them of the problem and our issues with the new policy. There are a couple ways you can do that:

  1. Call, write, or email Mayor Tim Keller. We’re working on some basic form letters and emails that you can send, so check back soon for those. But if you would like to compose your own, that’s great! Please try to speak to what the dance means to you.

    Mailing Address:
    Office of the Mayor
    PO Box 1293
    Albuquerque NM 87103

    Phone: (505) 768-3000

    Email: you can email the Mayor using this online form

  2. Contact Aaron Nieto. Currently we do not have contact information for him that we can verify is for official use. When we obtain this official contact information we will post it here. Until then, please direct your comments to Mayor Time Keller (see above).

  3. Spread the word. Either digitally or in person. Tell your friends. If you are members of other dance communities, ask for their support as well. Tuesday Night Swing is an important part of the whole Albuquerque dance scene.

    Spread the word online using #savetuesdayswing. Take pictures of you and your friends and share them online with the hashtag. Tag the city of Albuquerque on Instagram, tweet and the Mayor, shout it loudly from the rooftops. We want to spread the word as much as possible.

If you are not a Facebook user and would like to be kept informed about various volunteer opportunities and outreach campaigns that we’re planning, send us an email with a subject line “I want to help!” (or something like that). We’ll maksure to keep you in touch with various ways that you can help us out.

If you have any suggestions of things we could do, also send us an email.