San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
June 1-29, 2008
Palace of Fine Arts
San Francisco, California
by Rita Felciano
copyright @ Rita Felciano, 2008
By most measurements, the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary this season, has been a success. It has built a reputation for well-produced, evenhanded shows. Every January a changing set of panelists selects individual artists and companies from open-to-the public auditions. EDF has spun off a well-respected educational series, “People Like Me.” A documentary film is in the making. Touring has become a possibility. Most encouragingly, the music component has been vastly improved; much of it is being performed live. These days EDF is almost as much a world music as a world dance festival. (A grant this year brought in guest musicians from around the globe). The commissioning program—to foster re-thinking of traditions—is another positive trend. Ticket sales prove that audiences love their EDF; the shows this year were, apparently, 99% sold out. So what if anything is wrong with this picture?