Your Event Directors for 2019:

Ivory Hammon
Noelle Linch
Chad Graber
Karen O’Leary

Our Story

New Mexico Dance Fiesta began in 1989 thanks to Mike Haley, Patti Miller, and Steve Stevens. That means this year we celebrate 30 YEARS!! We are honored that they still attend Dance Fiesta every year! We now also offer Ballroom competition on Friday, and Swing competitions throughout the weekend. We want everyone to have a great time dancing, competing, and spending time with their friends and family!

Who are we??

Ivory and David Hammon have been Directors of New Mexico Dance Fiesta since 2008. In 2010, Karen and Tom O’Leary joined the team. They have continued the tradition of making Dance Fiesta a “don’t miss” event!

Tom and Karen O’Leary first started dancing back in the early 90’s. They attended their first UCWDC event shortly thereafter and have been hooked ever since. Getting their first “real” competing routines from none other than Mr. Mike Haley himself,  they have enjoyed many competitions over the years, in both couples and Pro-am. And daughter Ivory joined them, dancing in the Pro-Am Division. Tom has won 4 UCWDC World Championship titles. Ten years ago, Ivory and David took over as Event Directors for the New Mexico Dance Fiesta, and Tom and Karen joined them 2 years later. They enjoy all the time they spend with their “Dance Family” and have enjoyed all the times spent helping run such an awesome event as Dance Fiesta. They are excited to welcome Noelle and Chad and are looking forward to helping write the next chapter.

Your new Directors

Noelle Linch and Chad Graber were approved by the UCWDC as “new” event directors for New Mexico Dance Fiesta in January 2019.

Chad Graber started dancing his second semester at the University of Texas, as evidenced by his GPA trend. After finishing his studies in Molecular Biology with a focus in Genetics, he moved to the DFW area and began teaching at the Fred Astaire Franchised Studio in Fort Worth in the early 90’s. A friend, Gail Kemery, got him to volunteer at the Dallas Dance Festival and he found his home. He has been involved in the Country Western dance community ever since; teaching, coaching, judging and helping wherever and whenever possible. To date, he holds 3 UCWDC World Championships as well as numerous National and Regional titles. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas where he continues to teach and focus on bringing the joy and home that he has found in Country dancing to all he works with.

Noelle Linch found dancing in the early 90’s, at a much-loved place in Little Rock, Arkansas – BJ’s Star-Studded Honky Tonk. She learned her first steps like many do, on the social dance floor taking free lessons. Noelle quickly joined the dance club and started attending dance competitions to cheer on her friends. Family and career came before her love of dance, and she was never able to pursue competitive dancing; however, she began volunteering at competitions in the late 90’s by learning how to work in the scoring systems and other various “behind-the-scenes” aspects of any dance event. Learning these skills allowed her to travel around the country and make even MORE dance friends (family)! You may recognize her face – she’s a bit of a selfie taker – but never alone! One of Noelle’s favorite things to do at any dance event is to take pictures with as many attendees as possible and post those pictures on Facebook to help promote the event and share the love of dance! Noelle moved from Cabot, Arkansas to Houston, Texas in late 2015, where she works for a large regulated utility as a CPA.


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