39th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
Dance, like music, is a universal language. No words are needed to accompany the movement of bodies on a stage. Whatever our cultural background, whatever our life experience, dance exists as a powerful signifier of the human spirit and its potential. Few events recognize this power like the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Now headed into its 39th year, the SFEDF has been highly praised by such outlets as The New York Times as being one of the most compelling annual dance events in the country. Visitors to San Francisco in the early weeks of June have the opportunity to experience for themselves this magical cultural event.
Held in the War Memorial Opera House, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance festival spans two weekends, from July 8th-July 16th. During these weekends, 24 dances and musical ensembles from the Bay Area will take to the stage for their explorations of music, culture, spirituality, and connection. Drawing from many distinct ethnic backgrounds, this year’s festival will feature performances by groups specializing in musical styles from:
- Central Europe
- West Africa
- The Philippines
As well as the various dance and musical ensembles that will perform these works, the SFEDF will also feature the collaboration of world-renowned musicians like John Santos and Zakir Hussain. The festival organizers had the foresight to spread this rich lineup throughout the two weekends, so the only way to ensure that you experience the best of the event is by staying the entire time.
During the 1st weekend, July 8th and 9th, the War Memorial Opera House will feature performances by groups such as:
- San Francisco Awakko Ren (traditional Japanese)
- Fogo Na Roupa Performing Company (Brazilian folklore)
- The Academy of Dance Libre (social dances from Europe)
- LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu (Hula music from Hawaii)
The 2nd weekend of the festival will be held on July 15th and 16th with performances by:
- Ballet Afsaneh (contemporary music and dance in the Persian-Iranian style)
- Natya at Berkeley (Indian classical dance)
- YaoYong Dance (Chinese folklore)
- Te Mana O Te Ra (Tahitian Ote’a)
Each of the two weekends also features performances before the show, so arrive early to get the most from the ticket price.