The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)
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Information: Rudy Ulibarrí, teacher of German, Mexican, and international dance.
Rodolfo Seidel Ulibarrí was born on May 20, 1930. He was known to all as "Rudy" and was a well-known, long-time dance leader and teacher in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, area. He had taught folk dance since the mid 1960s. In addition to teaching for schools and for folk dance groups, he taught at various folk dance camps, including the Lighted Lantern Folk Dance Camp held on Lookout Mountain above Golden, Colorado.
Rudy was born in the town of Roy, New Mexico, but spent his childhood summers in the little town of Montezuma, Colorado, wrangling horses for his uncle John Erickson, who owned the Erickson Mine, high at the top of the hills (horse back was the only way to reach the mine!).
In 1951, Rudy went to Hawaii. At the University of New Mexico (UNM), Rudy majored in Spanish-English education, joined Kappa Sigma fraternity, and was drum major of the UNM band. Rudy Graduated in 1957.
Rudy became an Arthur Murray instructor in Albuquerque for two years, then taught English and music at the high school in Roy, New Mexico. Moving back to Albuquerque in 1962, he began a career teaching English grammar and literature at the Harrison Middle School. That same year, he took up folk dancing seriously.
He then taught and danced with a number of groups, including the UNM International Folk Dancers, the Northland Dancers, a youth Scandinavian group, an adult group called the Scandia Dancers, the German-American Edelweiss Folk Dancers, and Rudy's International Folk Dancers. Rudy also did some choreography, especially for his New Mexico Folk Dance Ensemble (alias "Rudy and the Gringos" - 1984 photos at right) and Rudy's International Folk Dancers (RIDE - 1991 photo at left).
In 1982, another folk dancer at a folk dance camp near Cuernavaca, Mexico, invited Rudy and his German dance group to visit Germany. He saw folk dancing as a powerful force for good. Rudy said, "I would like to see all of the world dancing. When they're holding hands, they're not holding rifles."
Rudy retired from teaching school in 1984, and continued to teach, perform, and direct folk dance performances.
Rudy died peacefully in his sleep on December 17, 2011, at his home in Albuquerque. A celebration of his life was held at the Edelweiss am Rio Grande German American Club on January 14, 2012, at which nearly 300 friends and relatives attended.
Dances that Rudy taught in the United States include Azul Cielo, El Baile de los Machitas, El Rascapetate, Evangelina, Jandals, Jarabe Tapatío, La Adelita, La Burrita, La Cachucha, La Marieta, Lantti, Machar, Machetes, Mexican Mixer, Piros Csizma (Red Boots), Santa Rosa, Šestorka, Shindig in the Barn, and Solaisai na Bealtaine (Sweets of May).
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