36th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival: June 5 – 29, 2014
36th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival: June 5 – 29, 2014
Classical Indian sattriya dance, return of kathakali after 35 year absence, Nelson Mandela Tribute and announcement of Pan-Pacific International Exposition Centennial details among highlights of annual event featuring over 300 dancers and 31 internationally-focused dance companies
Media contact: David Perry & Associates, Inc / (415) 693-0583 / email@example.com
26 February 2014 – San Francisco, CA: 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 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 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 present Katherine 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
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)
Ziva Emtiyaz – Lebanese belly dance* (*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
Music and dance featuring Diamano Coura West African Dance Company.
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)
June 14 & 15 – Festival Weekend Two: Eight classical Indian dance forms presented in partnership with Sangam Arts: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 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.
June 21 & 22 – Festival Weekend Three: Nine dance companies in a classic Festival program: 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, El Hawary, Los Danzantes de Aztlán de Fresno State University, Nlolo Kongo, Parangal Dance Company, Suciawani Balinese Dance.