Primary tabs

Ethnic Dance Festival to Open 35th Season

April 2, 2013

Dancer/choreographer Shabnam fuses traditional and contemporary belly dance Photos by RJ MunaFrom a relatively small community organization the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival grew like Topsy into the world's largest such celebration of ethnic dance.

The upcoming season, June 7-30, features more than 500 dancers of 35 companies (selected in auditions), performing in the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Legion of Honor, and San Francisco City Hall.

Festival Artistic Directors Carlos Carvajal and CK Ladzekpo have selected dance companies conveying cultural legacy from Mexico, Brazil, Israel, Egypt, West Africa, India, Bolivia, and all over the globe.

"We are thrilled to present a breathtaking line-up of artists whose work embodies the essence of human experience," says the festival announcement.

"From heartfelt spiritual quests to exhilarating celebrations, dance from cultures that span the globe are thriving in the Bay Area, thanks to thousands of local artists working passionately to sustain and share their labors of love."

De Rompe y Raja Cultural Association Opening night provides a representative sample, with an innovative Cambodian dance tribute to Auguste Rodin, a 14th-century purification dance from Tibet, indigenous Aymara and Quechua dance from the Andes, and a high-intensity set of Senegalese sabar, led by griot master Cheikh Tairou M’baye and Sing Sing Rhythms.

There are several free events, otherwise tickets are in the $18-$58 range, going on sale online on April 18 or by calling (415) 978-2787.

Family matinees on Saturday afternoons offer 50% discounts to children age 12 and under.

Janos Gereben appreciates news tips, corrections, and words of encouragement at [email protected].