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Classical Indian Dance Center Stage at SF Ethnic Dance Festival

Port of San Francisco

June 14 & 15 Sees Classical Indian Dance Center Stage at SF Ethnic Dance Festival

Media contact: David Perry & Associates, Inc / (415) 693-0583 /

2 June 2014 — San Francisco, CA: The incredible depth and breadth of classical Indian dance is in the spotlight during the second weekend of the 36th annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival ( ), June 14 – 15, where audiences can see a rare presentation of all eight styles of Indian classical dance on the same stage.

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.

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. “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.


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 is a rare presentation of all eight classical Indian dance forms on one stage. Performances by Chitresh Das Dance Company (Kathak), Guru Shradha (Odissi), Kalanjali: Dances of India (Bharatanatyam), Bhavajan Kumar (Bharatanatyam) , K.P. Kunhiraman (Kathakali), Sujata Mohapatra (Odissi), Sunanda Nair (Kathakali and Mohiniyattam), Natyalaya (Kuchipudi), Nava Dance Theatre (Bharatanatyam), Sohini Ray (Manipuri), Sattriya Dance Company (Sattriya). 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, of Berkeley. High resolution photos and broadcast quality video are available by request by contacting David Perry & Associates, Inc.: / (415) 693-0583. Images can be downloaded at in late April.

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