Nina Sazevich (415) 752-2483
28th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
World Arts West Presents Three Weekends of World Dance and Music
June 10 & 11; 17 & 18; 24 & 25, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO-- Experience extraordinary dance and music from cultures throughout the world, performed by over 500 Northern Californian artists over three weekends in June at the 28th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Thirty-two companies representing dance traditions from more than 20 cultures will perform Saturdays at 2 & 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. on June 10 & 11; 17 & 18; and 24 & 25, 2006 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco with a special Opening Night Gala on Saturday, June 10 at 6 p.m. This year’s theme Intersections: Time, Place and Spirit reveals universalities of world cultures as expressed through dance. Each weekend features a different line up of performers (full list by weekend follows this release).
For sheer beauty, energy and breadth, nothing surpasses this annual dance event, the largest and most prestigious gathering of its kind in the country. San Francisco is considered the epicenter of ethnic dance in the United States – outranking Los Angeles, Miami and even New York for the incredible pool of internationally renowned dancers and choreographers that now live and work in the Bay Area.
The Festival is an unparalleled opportunity to see many of these performers at one venue. It is also a fascinating way to experience both the diversity and commonality between cultures. “At first, the audience notices the wonderful variation from group to group and culture to culture,” says Julie Mushet, Executive Director of World Arts West. “The range of movement, costuming, and music is vast and varies enormously, but then there will come an incredible moment when you suddenly notice a hand gesture or step that both the Indian kathak performer and the flamenco dancer use. How did that happen? Well, history, religion, politics and the movement of people from place to place have an enormous influence on the performing arts and the convergence of cultures can be revealed in the flick of a wrist. It’s very exciting to sense these deeper stories behind the dances being performed on the Festival stage.”
Many of the area’s acclaimed ensembles will be in this year’s Festival and include:
Charya Burt Classical Cambodian Dance – This solo performer was trained at the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and is a living testament to the heroic efforts of Cambodia’s master artists to preserve cultural traditions during the take over of the Khmer Rouge. Charya performs Forever My Ancestors, a gorgeous tribute to these individuals and the Khmer dance ancestors before them.
Diamano Coura West African Dance Company – Under the direction of Dr. Zakarya Sao Diouf, one of the country’s foremost authorities on West African dance and recent recipient of the San Francisco Foundation’s Community Leadership Award, Diamano Coura performs a spirited masked dance of the Baga people of Guinea.
El Tunante – Since the age of 15, Nestor Ruiz has been a multiple award-winning, champion dancer in Peru. This pioneer of the country’s most popular and flirtatious partner dance, La Marinera, performs the Marinera Nortena with several members of his group.
On June 10, the opening night of the Festival, the Board of Directors of Festival producer World Arts West hosts an Opening Night Gala and reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The public is invited to attend this annual fundraiser featuring food and wine from some of San Francisco’s top restaurants, an exciting auction, and the evening’s exhilarating performances. Tickets are $125 each.
Later that evening, World Arts West will present its annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award to Patrick Makuakane, Kumu Hula/Director for the dynamic Hawaiian dance company, Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu. A creative force in the hula world, Makuakane is well known for his innovative choreography and the unique style of hula he has developed called "hula mua," which blends traditional hula movements with non-Hawaiian music, creating a greater depth and accessibility to the dance form, as well as for his masterful presentation of traditional hula. He is the fourth recipient of this prestigious award, established in 2003 to honor Bay Area dancers who have served as visionaries and whose dancing and teaching has enriched the lives of thousands.
Tickets to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival are $22 - $36. A subscription package for all three weekends of performances is priced from $60 - $98. Group discounts for 20 or more are available by calling (415) 474-3914. Tickets are available by calling City Box Office at (415) 392-4400; online at www.cityboxoffice.com or www.tickets.com.
The 28th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival is supported in part by Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, the California Arts Council, the Walter and Elise Haas Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, KPMG, Target Corporation, The San Francisco Foundation, and East West Bank. Media sponsors include: ABC7/KGO-TV, Asian Week, India-West, KPFA, KQED Public Broadcasting, KTSF TV 26, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco Business Times, and SF Station.com.
World Arts West has been presenting and promoting the dance and music traditions of the world since 1978, creating opportunities for individuals and communities to celebrate, share, and sustain the vitality of ethnic dance. Our work promotes the importance of cultural heritage for strengthening community and building cultural understanding. For more information about World Arts West, visit www.worldartswest.org.
PHOTOS ARE AVAILABLE BY REQUEST by contacting Nina Sazevich at (415) 752-2483 or email@example.com or can be downloaded in high resolution JPG format at http://www.worldartswest.org/about/press/photos.html.
B ROLL VIDEO IS ALSO AVAILABLE BY REQUEST.