Celebrating diversity through music and dance

Celebrating diversity through music and dance


Experience dance, music and diversity at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (SFEDF) this year.  The event will take place over two consecutive weekends — July 8-9 and July 15-16, at the War Memorial Opera House at the Civic Center in San Francisco.

Heading into its 39th year, the SFEDF is the largest and most comprehensive world dance and music event of its kind in the United States.  This year, there will be 24 Bay Area-based world dance and music groups, with six groups making their festival debut.  The season will also feature five world premieres created specifically for the event.

This year’s Philippine representative is LIKHA Pilipino Folk Ensemble, who will perform dances from the T’boli and Mandayan tribes.

The co-chairs of this year’s festival are Judy Wilbur and David Lei, and leading the Honorary Committee is David Tu.

“The annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival is a beacon both nationally and internationally for inspiring cross-cultural experiences by local artists sustaining the world’s artist legacy,” explains the Festival’s Executive Director Julie Mushet. “The San Francisco Bay Area is a vibrant and innovative crossroads for intangible world cultural traditions in one of the country’s most diverse locales, and we are thrilled to broaden the perspective of great dance and music on the Opera House stage, home of some of the world’s most prominent and enduring forms of performing arts.”

The dancers will be joined by some of the Bay Area’s most accomplished and respected musicians, including percussionist John Santos and tabla master Zakir Hussain, who said, “I am looking forward to being a part of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at this historic moment as it comes to the Opera House for the first time. This unique and groundbreaking festival, a jewel among the Bay Area’s cultural treasure trove, continues to make San Francisco the center for world dance and music. It is a great honor for me to play with Antonia Minnecola for the 2017 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.”

The festival’s Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in the field of ethnic dance and music will be presented to Naomi Diouf, Artistic Director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company.

Other artists for 2017 include:

• The Academy of Danse Libre – European Social Dances Ballet Afsaneh – Persian-Iranian Contemporary

• Ballet Folklorico Mexico Danza – Mexican Folkloric BITEZO BIA KONGO – Congolese Traditional

• Fogo Na Roupa Performing Company – Brazilian Folkloric (Maracatu) De Rompe y Raja Cultural Association – Afro-Peruvian

• Gamelan Sekar Jaya – Balinese Jegog

• Gurus of Dance, an Aditya Patel Company – Indian Bollywood

• John Santos Sextet + Alayo Dance Company – Cuban Contemporary Folkloric Leung’s White Crane Lion & Dragon Dance – Chinese Lion Dance

• LIKHA – Pilipino Folk Ensemble – Filipino Folkloric (Mandayan and Tboli) Ma healani Uchiyama –Zimbabwean Mbira

• Na Lei Hulu I Ka We kiu – Hawaiian Hula

• Natya at Berkeley – Indian Bharatanatyam

• San Francisco Awakko Ren – Japanese Traditional (Awa Odori) Te Mana O Te Ra – Tahitian Ote a

• Theatre Flamenco + La Tania – Spanish Flamenco

• Vinic-Kay (Le Gente y El Canto) – Mexican Folkloric

• YaoYong Dance – Chinese Folkloric (Mongolia)

• Zakir Hussain + Antonia Minnecola – Indian Kathak

• Zena Carlota – West African Kora

There will be world premiere performances by Ballet Afsaneh, BITEZO BIA KONGO, De Rompe y Raja Cultural Association, John Santos Sextet + Alayo Dance Company, and Te Mana O Te Ra.

Tickets are priced $25-$45 and may be purchased at sfethnicdancefestival.org.

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