2017 Festival Snapshot

Photo by Jessica Rodriguez.

2017 was a thrilling year for the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, as we made our debut in the city’s grand, historic War Memorial Opera House. Hundreds of dancers and musicians proudly showcased their cultures inside – and outside – the Opera House, thrilling and inspiring  our nearly sold-out audiences, and even passersby, who couldn’t help but stop to watch as the post-show celebrations spilled out onto the steps.


The view from across Van Ness Avenue

Some comments from our audience:

“The Festival is always outstanding, year after year. It is a vision of world peace through cultural exchange. It’s all LOVE, PEACE and HOPE.”

“The congregating performers in the lobby after the performance were so full of glee – it was truly unforgettable.”

“Each time, this Festival gives me hope that no matter what, peace in the world is possible.”

“We always feel our world expanded after this Festival. And I loved the gathering outside the Opera House. It continued the celebration.”

“So life affirming!!!”

Opera House Weekend 1 featured performances by:

The Academy of Danse Libre (European Social Dances)
De Rompe y Raja Cultural Association (Afro-Peruvian)
Fogo Na Roupa Performing Company (Brazilian Folkloric—Maracatu)
John Santos Sextet + Alayo Dance Company (Cuban Contemporary Folkloric)
LIKHA – Pilipino Folk Ensemble (Filipino Folkloric—Mandayan and Tboli)
Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu (Hawaiian Hula)
San Francisco Awakko Ren (Japanese Traditional—Awa Odori)
Zakir Hussain + Antonia Minnecola (Indian Kathak)

Leung’s White Crane Lion & Dragon Dance Association / Photos by Will Lee

Weekend 1 audiences were welcomed to the Opera House by Leung’s White Crane Lion & Dragon Dance Association (Chinese Lion Dance) and Vinic-Kay (La Gente y El Canto) + John Santos (Mexican Folkloric)

Opera House Weekend 2 featured performances by:

Ballet Afsaneh (Persian-Iranian Contemporary)
Ballet Folklórico México Danza (Mexican Folkloric)
BITEZO BIA KONGO (Congolese Traditional)
Gurus of Dance, an Aditya Patel Company (Indian Bollywood);
Māhealani Uchiyama (Zimbabwean Mbira)
Natya at Berkeley (Indian Bharatanatyam)
Te Mana O Te Ra (Tahitian Oteʻa)
Theatre Flamenco + La Tania (Spanish Flamenco)
YaoYong Dance (Chinese Folkloric—Mongolia)
Zena Carlota (West African Kora)

Audiences for our second weekend of performances were welcomed by Gamelan Sekar Jaya (Balinese Jegog) and Zena Carlota (West African Kora)

Gamelan Sekar Jaya / Photos by Will Lee







Praise from the press:

“…the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival is still uncovering examples of the Bay Area’s inexhaustible cultural bounty and displaying them with uncommon flair.” – Allan Ulrich, San Francisco Chronicle

“(The Festival) filled the big room with inspirational world music and movement, serving up a powerful, uplifting contrast to the current divisive political climate.” – Leslie Katz, San Francisco Examiner

(Click here to see more press coverage)

San Francisco Chronicle Features Columnist Leah Garchik beautifully summed up the scene at the Opera House during our Festival:

“As one entered the lobby, the hum of people arriving was multicultural, multihued, multilingual, a whirl of patterns and ornament…the city at its best.”  (Read more here.)

Two 2017 Festival performances were nominated for prestigious Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, which recognize the very best in Bay Area Dance:

Ballet Folkórico México Danza / Photo by RJ Muna. Click to see an excerpt of their Izzies-nominated performance

Ballet Folkórico México Danza was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Performance (Click the photo to see an excerpt of their performance)

LIKHA-Pilipino Folk Ensemble was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography (Click here to see an excerpt of their performance)


Read the 2017 Program Book online! Click the image above to read detailed essays about all of the performances and the artists who presented them.

The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival returns to the War Memorial Opera House for a grand 40th Anniversary Celebration, July 14-15 and July 21-22, 2018. Tickets go on sale April 24, 2018.

Want more? Click here to see more photos taken in and around the Opera House during our 2017 Festival.

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