SF Ethnic Dance Festival Announces 2014 Line Up

One of the world’s greatest gatherings of dance artists returns to San Francisco this year, June 5 – 29, at the 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (www.sfethnicdancefestival.org).  Audiences will thrill to 31 extraordinary dance companies and over 300 dancers and musicians at the wildly anticipated event, highlighting the rich cultural and artistic diversity of the Bay Area.

Classical Indian sattriya dance, the first Festival performance of kathakali since 1978, a special Nelson Mandela Tribute at San Francisco City Hall, and the announcement of details about next year’s Pan-Pacific International Exposition Centennial are among the highlights of this year’s Festival. In addition, Indian Consul General Nagesh Parthasarathi will present Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman with the Festival’s annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award at the June 14 evening performance.

“Kathakali dance is at risk of being lost forever and K.P. Kunhiraman is one of the few people alive who are sustaining this transcendent cultural tradition,” said Julie Mushet, Executive Director of the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, noting that this year’s Festival will mark K.P. Kunhiraman’s final U.S. appearance. “K.P. Kunhiraman’s departure raises many questions about the future of dance and how, and even if, cultural traditions will be passed to the next generation, as they have been for millennia.”

Of all of the classical Indian dance forms, kathakali is the most stylized and is often compared to the kabuki tradition of Japan, especially in regards to the elaborate make-up worn by the performers. After this year’s Festival, K.P. Kunhiraman will be returning to India at the end of June after an illustrious 67-year career to live out his final years in his homeland.

Also as part of this year’s events, Festival artistic directors Carlos Carvajal and CK Ladzekpo will announce plans to celebrate the Centennial of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition with two weekends of performances in February 2015 at the Palace of Fine Arts, the Festival’s home for more than 25 years and the only remaining grand structure from the 1915 Exposition. Further details about the Centennial celebration and the twenty groups performing on the Festival stage will be released soon.

Since its inauguration in 1978, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival has maintained its preeminent scope and reputation as one of the most comprehensive, widely respected, diverse, and engaging events of its kind in the world.

Following is an overview of the 2014 / 36th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and list of artists.

June 5 – 8: The 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival opens on June 5 at San Francisco City Hall with a tribute to late South African leader Nelson Mandela as part of the free Rotunda Dance Series. Concurrently, there will follow a series of workshops and panel dialogues throughout the Bay Area.
June 14 – 29:  The Festival continues at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts with three weekends of classic Festival performances, featuring a different group of performers on the stage of the Lam Research Theater each weekend. As always, audiences will experience an inspiring lineup of Bay Area artists and musicians collectively sustaining important cultural heritage from around the world, including Bali, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Congo, Hawai`i, India, Lebanon, Mexico, Okinawa, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa,  Tahiti, the continental United States, and West Africa. Audiences will have the chance to see 10 world premiere performances and 16 Festival debuts, including the wildly-popular Academy of Hawaiian Arts. Each weekend’s program is a different lineup and includes nine or ten dance performances in a two-hour show, with numerous cross-cultural, collaborative and transitional pieces.
Shining a spotlight on classical Indian dance, June 14 – 15: This year’s Festival includes a special weekend of performances where audiences can watch all eight classical Indian dance forms together on one stage for the first time in the United States. While the Festival has often featured four of the classical Indian forms—bharatanatyam, kathak, kuchipudi, and odissi—rarer are the remaining four: kathakali, manipuri, mohiniyattam, and sattriya. This weekend of Indian classical dance performances is presented in partnership with Sangam Arts, a Bay-Area non-profit dedicated to connecting cultures through Indian classical arts. More detailed information about the classical Indian dance forms can be found at:www.sangamarts.org. This will be the first time that sattriya dance will be seen on the Festival stage. Kathakali dance was featured only once in the Festival’s 36 year history, in the very first San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival program in June 1978. The performers were Katherine and K.P.Kunhiraman of Berkeley, CA.

Indian Consul General Nagesh Parthasarathi will presentKatherine and K.P. Kunhiraman with the Festival’s annual Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award at the June 14 evening performance.

2014 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Artists:

^ Academy of Hawaiian Arts* – Hawaiian kahiko
^ Alafia Dance Ensemble – Brazilian traditional
^ Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisen-kai Kinuko Mototake Ryubu Kenkyu-jo USA *– Okinawan classical
^ Bal Anat – Egyptian Folkloric (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – November)
^ Ballet Folklórico Compañía Mexico Danza – Mexican folkloric (Guerrero)
^ Bolivia Corazón de América – Afro-Bolivian
^ Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company – Chinese contemporary
^ Chitresh Das Dance Company – Indian kathak
^ De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis Alliance – Afro-Peruvian
^ Diamano Coura West African Dance Company – West African traditional
^ Dimensions Dance Theater – South African traditional
^ Ziva Emtiyaz* – Lebanese belly dance
^ Guru Shradha* – Indian odissi
^ Jubilee American Dance Theatre – Appalachian clogging
^ Kalanjali – Indian bharatanatyam and kathakali
^ Karavansaray Dance Company* – Egyptian folkloric (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – November)
^ Bhavajan Kumar* – Indian bharatanatyam
^ Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University* – Mexican calabaceados (Baja California)
^ Sunanda Nair* – Indian mohiniyattam and kathakali
^ Natyalaya – Indian kuchipudi
^ Nava Dance Theatre* – Indian bharatanatyam
^ Nlolo Kongo* – Congolese traditional
^ Parangal Dance Company – Filipino traditional (Mindanao)
^ Proyecto Lando/Cunamacué Collaboration* – Afro-Peruvian
^ Sohini Ray*– Indian manipuri
^ Sahiyar Dance Troupe* – Indian folkloric
^ Sattriya Dance Company* – Indian sattriya
^ Sewam American Indian Dance – Native American hoop dance
^ Suciawani Balinese Dance* – Balinese traditional
^ Te Mana O Te Ra – Tahitian ‘ōte’a and ‘aparima
^ Tiruchitrambalam*– Indian bharatanatyam (Festival Rotunda Dance Series performance – April)
(* Artists who are new to the Festival)

June 2014 Festival Schedule:

Thursday, June 5, 12 noon
Opening event: Tribute to Nelson Mandela
Rotunda Dance Series
San Francisco City Hall
FREE
Music and dance featuring Diamano Coura West African Dance Company.
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June 6, 7 & 8 – Festival Weekend One: Workshops and panel dialogues. Friday, June 6 at UC Berkeley; Saturday, June 7 at Stanford University; and Sunday, June 8 at the Palace of Fine Arts. (Specific times TBA)
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June 14 & 15 – Festival Weekend Two: Eight classical Indian dance forms presented in partnership with Sangam Arts: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

This will be the first performance in the United States featuring all eight classical Indian dance forms on one stage. Performances by Chitresh Das Dance Company, Guru Shradha, Kalanjali, Bhavajan Kumar, Sunanda Nair, Natyalaya, Nava Dance Theatre, Sattriya Dance Company, Sohini Ray.
Saturday, June 14, 1pm & 7pm*
Sunday, June 15, 1pm
*The June 14, 7pm performance includes the presentation of the Malonga Casquelourd    Lifetime Achievement Award to Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman, founders of Kalanjali: Dances of India, in Berkeley.
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June 21 & 22 – Festival Weekend Three: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Performances by Academy of Hawaiian Arts, Azama Honryu Seifu Ichisen-kai Kinuko Mototake Ryubu Kenkyu-jo USA, De Rompe y Raja – Asociación Cultural Kanchis Alliance, Dimensions Dance Theater, Ziva Emtiyaz, Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University, Nlolo Kongo, Parangal Dance Company, Suciawani Balinese Dance.
Saturday, June 21, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 22, 2pm
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June 28 & 29 – Festival Weekend Four: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: Lam Research Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street, San Francisco

Performances by Alafia Dance Ensemble, Ballet Folklórico Compañía Mexico Danza, Bolivia Corazón De América, Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company, Jubilee American Dance Theatre, Proyecto Lando/Cunamacué Collaboration, Sahiyar Dance Troupe, Sewam American Indian Dance, Te Mana O Te Ra.
Saturday, June 28, 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, June 29, 2pm

Tickets to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival are $18- $58 and go ON SALE BEGINNING APRIL 11 online atwww.sfethnicdancefestival.org, or by calling (415) 978-2787. Family matinees on Saturday afternoons offer 50% discounts to children age 12 and under, and group discounts are also available. For complete ticketing information and performance details visitwww.sfethnicdancefestival.org  or call (415) 474-3914.

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