Bay Area Dance Week Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary This Spring

Bay Area Dance Week Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary This Spring

Bay Area Dance Week celebrates two decades as one of the nation's largest, most inclusive celebrations of movement and dance, April 27 - May 6. For the past 20 years, the Bay Area dance community has thrown open its doors during Bay Area Dance Week, inviting the public in to experience its vibrant and rich dance scene, completely free of charge.

BADW has something for everyone, regardless of experience, age, and agility. Participants can choose from workshops, performances, classes, open rehearsals, and more. First time dancers can explore a variety of dance styles, art aficionados can go behind-the-scenes to see how a dance gets made, young movers can participate in a variety of family-friendly classes and activities. Greek dance, Jazz, Congolese Dance, Hula, Hip Hop for adults (or kids), even dance classes for those with Parkinson's disease - this festival has something for everyone. For two decades this festival has reflected the unending generosity of the local dance community.

This year's festival kicks off with everyone's favorite globetrotting dance sequence and dance party, One Dance, led by Dancers' Group and Rhythm & Motion at San Francisco City Hall on Friday, April 27 at noon. The event this year begins with something new, a "silent disco adventure," riffing on the Mp3 Experiment that took the nation by storm. Everyone will download or stream an audio track through the headphones of their smartphones and follow along with the simple movement instructions. No previous rehearsal necessary or dance experience required. After the "tour" ends and everyone's warmed up, the music starts for One Dance, a short dance sequence in Rhythm & Motion's trademark style of fun movement.

The recipients of the 2018 Dancers Choice Award and the Della Davidson Prize will also be honored at the City Hall kick-off.

This year's Dancers Choice Award goes to Carla Service, the founder of the Oakland Dance Festival, a free event that brings dance artists from all over the Bay Area, representing many different cultures. Service has been working in the dance field for over 30 years, both nationally and internationally including in Cambodia, Japan, and Costa Rica. After working for a decade in the Los Angeles entertainment industry, she brought her years of industry experience to Oakland. Locally and abroad, Service provides entertainment consultation for cruise ships, resorts, and entrepreneurs. Her clients have gone on to open up dance studios, perform in their dream location and work with the industry's top stars.

This year's Della Davidson Prize recipient is Dawn Frank Holtan, a dance theater artist known for her interdisciplinary collaborative work. An Oakland native, Bard College graduate, and former co-director of Frank and Bryan Dance, Dawn's early work was performed throughout the greater Bay Area, in New York, and abroad. After taking a 13-yaer hiatus from directing in order to be with her children, Holtan is currently creating an original evening-length performance with a newly assembled ensemble of artists called Cracking Open - it will premiere at SAFEhouse Arts in 2018. The Della Davidson Prize honors the life and work of Bay Area dance luminary Della Davidson, who passed away in 2012. An annual prize is awarded to a choreographer/dance-maker producing work in the spirit of Ms. Davidson.

With nearly 400 events to choose from, there is something for everyone at Bay Area Dance Week. The public can pick up a free event guide in early April or visit anytime to explore free events including dance classes, open rehearsals, performances and more. A few festival highlights include:

Opening Weekend

MACLA's Family Art Day

Sat, Apr 28, San Jose, MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana

An outdoor festival for youth and families with hands-on visual art activities, bilingual gallery tours, multicultural dance and music performances, and dance classes.

Freestyle Community Dance

Sun, Apr 29, Berkeley, Soul Sanctuary Dance

An inclusive community dance to an eclectic blend of funk, blues, world music, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, soul, jazz, rock, electronica, pop, and other music to free mind, body, and soul.

Dance & Drum Party

Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Alyssa DeCaro and Rhythm Cafe All-Star Drummers

Fun, easy to follow dances and then a freestyle jam to cross-cultural rhythms of the All-Star Drummers, with arrangements from Mali, Havana, Brazil, Oakland, Haiti and New Orleans. Stay late for a DJ dance party!

Ethnic Dances from the Balkans and Beyond

Fri, Apr 27, Mill Valley, Kopachka Folk Dancers

Dance to unusual rhythms and mesmerizing music from the Balkans and beyond, with feet and arms often moving together in a line, in couples, and with solo dances.

AXIS Open Rehearsal

Fri, Apr 27, Oakland, AXIS Dance Company

A sneak peek of AXIS' Radical Impact Tour including works choreographed by Nadia Adame, Amy Seiwert, and Marc Brew. Experienced adult dancers are invited to come early for Open Company Class.

Matinee Munch Choreographer's Showcase

Sun, Apr 29, Oakland, Danspace

A showing of works by resident company dNaga and performances by COterie DAnce, and students of the choreography, adult, and repertory classes.

Congolese Dance

Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Dimensions Dance Theater / Lakiesha Golden

Congolese dance is depicted by its pelvic and/or torso rotations, groundedness, funkyness as it's danced to polyrhythms played on the Ngoma (drum).

For First-Timers

Afro Fusion

Thu, May 3, Berkeley, A. Spearman & Co.

This class will take you on a journey through stylistic dance from the continent of Africa to the barre of ballet, from the theatre of modern dance to urban innovative street styles.

Beginning Hip Hop

Sat, Apr 28, SF, City College San Francisco PE and Dance Department

Move to the beat with isolations, footwork and have a power warm up to get you toned and ready to learn hot new fresh moves.

Beginning Salsa

Tue, May 1, Berkeley, YWCA Berkeley/Oakland

L.A. Style Power Salsa class includes footwork, mini-patterns, lead and follow techniques, and styling.

Jazz Dance for Adults

Sun, Apr 29, Los Altos, Arete Dance Center

Follow along to basic jazz dance fundamentals right from the warm up. Pop music, current and classic dance movements, flexibility, isolations and increasing are some of the core aims of the class.

American Tribal Style® Belly Dance

Wed, May 2, Alameda, Sandi Ball + Wendy Allen

Learn the basics of this unique belly dance language. Discover posture and body awareness, slow and fast movements, zils, as well as introductions to lead and follow concepts and group formations for improvisation.

Intro to POI Spinning: A Foundation for Beginning

Tue, May 1, Emeryville, flowtoys

What is poi? Poi involves swinging and dancing with tethered weights through a variety of rhythmic and geometric patterns. In this class, we will explore the basics of poi spinning, covering planes, direction, timing, and body mechanics.

Kane (Men's) Hula

Thu, May 3, Alameda, Halau Makana Polynesian Cultural Arts, Inc.

Hula just for men! Invite your dad, son, brother, cousin, boyfriend, husband, neighbors and friends and join us for Kane Hula.

International Exchange

Kuduro Dance

Wed, May 2, San Leandro, DNA Dance Tribe

This is an upbeat choreography class of Kudora Dance, from Angola.

Introduction to Argentine Tango

Wed, May 2, San Anselmo, Alma del Tango

This class is an introduction to the social form of Argentine Tango as danced in Buenos Aires. Learn a code of movement that will get you started with this improvised dance.

Intro to International Folk Dance

Thu, May 3, Saratoga, Saratoga International Folk Dancers

Join in an evening of international dance - from Japan to Bulgaria, from Brazil to Serbia, from Poland to Turkey. There will be lots of fun, easy-to-follow dances for all ages.

Step into the World of Greek Dance

Mon, Apr 30, SF, Greek Feet

Learn fundamental steps and distinctive rhythms in this introductory class. Discover the rich culture and spirit of Greek music and dancing.

Flamenco with Yaelisa

Sat, May 5, Berkeley, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center

Start with Beginning Flamenco: for new or more experienced beginners to build foundation in rhythm, footwork and upper body dynamics. An intro class for the Bulerias follows.

Rhythm, Drama, Beauty: Intro to India's Kathak

Thu, May 3, Berkeley, Chhandam School of Kathak

Experience the dynamic art form of Kathak, classical dance from North India. Known for its powerful footwork, lightning pirouettes, delicate hand gestures, and dramatic storytelling, Kathak gives a window into India's rich history, philosophy, and rhythmical mathematics.

Family Fun

Ashkenaz International Dance Showcase

Sun, Apr 29, Berkeley, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center

Performances by Ashkenaz' teachers and community, with music and dance from around the world, such as African, Balkan, Brazilian, Cajun/Zydeco, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Reggae, American roots from Bluegrass to Swing, and more.

What's Up?! Performance

Wed, May 2, Berkeley, UpSwing Aerial Dance Company

A studio showing of contemporary aerial dance that explores the magic of dancing on the floor and into the air. We will be dancing on the wall, in the air and everywhere in between.

Family Folk Dance Party

Fri, Apr 27, SF

Changs International Folk Dancers

Learn simple dances from around the world, hear music, eat snacks, and enjoy the company of dancing friends of all ages. Bring your kids (babies welcome too), parents, grandparents, adopted aunties, etc.

Dances for Camera - Film Screening

Thu, May 3, SF, San Francisco Dance Film Festival and San Francisco Public Library

Watch one of the Dance Film Festival's popular highlight reels from their 2017 festival, which includes award-winning screendance shorts plus a feature selection.

Afternoon World Dance

Thu, May 3, Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Folk Dancers

Join in a variety of dances from around the world. No partner is needed.


Sun, May 6, Berkeley, Terrain

An afternoon of informal performances will feature a diversity of dance forms from Contemporary Dance to Middle Eastern Dance to Dance Theater and more. Meet informally with the dancers afterwards.

Young Movers - Designed for Kids

Sensory-Friendly MAGIC Movement - Dance, Tumbling, Singing!

Fri, Apr 27 & Sat May 5, Milpitas, MAGIC Dance Arts Inc.

A variety of sensorimotor experiences, including beginning tumbling skills and interactive dance routines. Classes are focused on developing social skills, communication skills, and motor skills.

Parent & Me Dance Class (Parents and Children Ages 5-9)

Sat, Apr 27, Mill Valley, Performing Arts Academy of Marin

Get moving to the beat, and challenge the coordination of your feet, while we do an active warm-up, learn a short duet routine, and finish with some fun hula hoop skills and games. This class is designed for one parent and one child (ages 5 - 9), but trios are welcome, too.

PUSHfest Spring Kids Hip Hop (ages 4-6)

Thu, May 3, SF, PUSH Dance Company

Explore the fundamentals of various styles including Popping & Locking, B-boyB-girl style, and more. This class is focused on learning choreography in a specially designed combination and self-esteem through freestyling to promote healthy living.

Intro to Folk Dances from India

Sat, Apr 28, Saratoga, Xpressions - Dances of India

For ages 8 and up: Join us on a journey through India as we explore different folk dances and styles. Participants can join in a presentation at the end of the workshop enhanced with simple costuming.

Tahitian Dance

Tue, May 1, Alameda, Halau Makana Polynesian Cultural Arts, Inc.

Men and women ages 13+ will enjoy a vigorous yet fun-filled introductory session of Tahitian Dance. Pulsating tahitian drum beats keep everyone moving.


Dance for Parkinson's Disease

Thu, May 3, Berkeley, Berkeley Ballet Theater

These classes are appropriate for anyone with Parkinson's disease, no matter how advanced. No dance experience is required. Whether in chairs, at a barre, or standing, everyone in the class explores comfortable dance movements in an enjoyable, non-pressured, social environment in which live music energizes, enriches and empowers.

Biodanza with Zora

Tue, May 1, Berkeley, Biodanza

Through dance and inspirational music Biodanza reduces stress, awakens your zest for life and inspires you to fully embrace your unique expression of who you are.

Body Tales & Authentic Movement

Wed, May 2, Berkeley, Oliva Corson & Lysa Castro

A simple and profound, self-listening movement exploration done with one's eyes closed. Body Tales integrates intuitive movement, voice and spoken word for creative expression and healing.

Tamalpa Dances with Iu-Hui Chua

Sat, Apr 28, Kentfield, Tamalpa Institute

Whether in preparation for performance, personal growth, or just to have fun, this class will introduce participants to Anna Halprin's unique approach to dance. Using the Tamalpa Life/Art Process, we will focus on developing fundamental tools of kinesthetic awareness and innovative choices in scoring, movement, and improvisation. Dancers of all levels are welcome.

Dance Conditioning

Mon, Apr 30, SF, City College San Francisco PE and Dance Department

Dance conditioning draws from barre conditioning techniques, Pilates, and yoga, to deliver a solid workout for strengthening, stretching, and maximizing performance potential.

Hoop Dance for the Body and Mind

Fri, May 4, Berkeley, Hoop Power

In this all-levels class, we'll explore movement in a hoop, both on and off the body. Hoops provided.

Bliss Grooves Playful Dance Fitness

Wed, May 2, Oakland, Dance Play Thrive

Dance moves come from around the globe, taught in an easy to understand format. You choose the level of intensity to get the workout that suits your body.

YOLO (You Only Live Once)

Day of Dance for Every Body

Sun, Apr 29, Berkeley, Big Moves

Celebrate all bodies with an afternoon of free beginner-friendly classes with the most joyful and body-positive instructors on the block.

YSTYLE with Yeni Lucero

Wed, May 2, Oakland, Flying Studios

A dance conditioning program for the working mover who wants to build strength and see results, through creative dance moves and high paced cardio.

Being Danced. An experiment in communal play!

Sat, May 5, Emeryville, Shannon Sahaja

Work as an ensemble in silly and theatrical ways to co-create an alive response to our togetherness. You will be delighted with playful ways to connect, and scores that challenge your habitual patterns of movement, activate group mind, and breed spontaneity.

Quantum Dance

Sun, Apr 29, SF, Sahar Dehghan Dance

Through raw free wild improvisation, sometimes blindfolded, in a serene artistic space, a sacred sanctuary or sometimes outdoor in nature, Sahar Dehghan guides various groups across the globe to experiment together waves and particles as ONE.

Bhangra Dance Class

Tue, May 1, SF, Dholrhythms Dance Company

The class is a one of a kind experience that will get your hips shaking, feet pounding, shoulders bouncing, while giving you a great cardio workout. Fun and easy to learn steps to Bhangra beats that will make you sweat and smile at the same time.

Dance Jam Berkeley: Your Somatic-Ecstatic Audio Apothecary!

Fri, May 4, Berkeley, Dance Jam Berkeley

Offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere for all ages. The musical roots are in the psychedelic sounds of the 60's, the soulful dance grooves of the 70's, the waves of the 80's, the raves of the 90's, and today's freshest EDM, along with world beats and popular rhythms to open your heart and move your body and soul. There is no guidance or facilitation, this is a "move-as-you-choose" event!

Inside the Dancer's Studio

MJDC Open Rehearsal

Thu, May 3, SF, Margaret Jenkins Dance Company

The focus of the rehearsal will be preparation for, Towards Forty-Five, Part I, which will be premiering at the Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in May.

Ways Not To Drown

Sat, Apr 28, SF, Deborah Slater Dance Theater

Introductory physical theater workshops for artists of all disciplines. Choreographer Deborah Slater will provide structure, guidance and support for you to learn new ways of creating work for audiences.

Intro to Duncan Dance

Sun, Apr 29, SF, Mary Sano Studio of Duncan Dancing

A free class in the dance techniques of Isadora Duncan taught by Mary Sano, followed by an opportunity to observe an open rehearsal by Mary Sano and Her Duncan Dancers with composer/pianist Tony Chapman as they prepare for their 20th anniversary production. This natural and expressive dance form is great for all levels and ages of students.

Company Class Onstage & Dance Series 02 Performance

Fri, Apr 27, SF, Smuin Contemporary American Ballet

Watch Smuin's company dancers take class onstage, followed by a Q&A with the dancers. Then, stay for the Dance Series 02 performance, featuring works by Helen Pickett and Amy Seiwert, as well as a world premiere by Val Caniparoli. Space is limited.

Open Rehearsal/Improvisational Performance

Sat, May 6, SF, Aura Fischbeck Dance

Join Aura Fischbeck Dance as they research material for an evening length work entitled DUSK, and as part of their process they will be practicing/performing during the sunset at Ocean Beach.

The Music of the Tango

Sun, Apr 29, San Leandro, Tango & More Argentine Dance

There's a long tradition of tango bars in Buenos Aires where cigars, strong coffee or a stiff drink reign, but the tango is for listening. So why are people inspired to dance to it? Understanding how the music shaped the dance is what Gigi Jensen, director of Tango & More Argentine Dance, will talk about. She shares her love of the dance through its music.

Large Scale Gatherings

sjDANCEco Festival

Sun, Apr 29, San Jose, sjDANCEco

Sixty Bay Area dance organizations (from young children to professional companies and everything in between) perform over a 7-hour-plus program. Styles include Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Latin/rhythm, Classical Indian, World Dance, Swing, Belly Dance, Experimental, Folk, Ethnic, Street Dance/Breaking.

Blossom Festival - International Dance Party

Sun, Apr 29, SF, Folk Dance Federation of California, North

Participate in a large program of dances from around the world. First hour to be instruction time for dancers of all ages and experience. Beginners encouraged.

April Follies Same-Sex Ballroom Dance Competition

Sat, Apr 28, Oakland, Bay Area Same-Sex Dance Association

The largest and longest-running same-sex partner dance competition in North America. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to participate in this annual event, which includes a day full of competition followed by dinner, an evening show and social dancing!

Baile en la Calle: The Mural Dances 2018

Sun, May 6, SF, Brava! for Women in the Arts

An annual event takes over the streets and alleys of the Mission to celebrate and preserve the neighborhood's living cultural heritage. The Bay Area's most dynamic dance companies and performing artists offer an artistic interpretation of the murals with narration by Precita Eyes Muralists docents.

Rotunda Dance Series

Fri, May 4, SF, Dancers' Group & World Arts West

Alonzo King LINES Dance Center presents choreography showcasing the talents of their world class instructors, many with nationally known dance companies. See performances by adult students from Alonzo King LINES Dance Center and LINES Education Programs.

HeART of Market

Fri, May 4, SF, Alonzo King LINES Dance Center

This family-friendly, participatory celebration of creativity will feature choreography showcasing the talents of our world class instructors, many with nationally known dance companies.

Closing Weekend

Kathy Mata Ballet Performance

Sun, May 6, SF, Kathy Mata Ballet

Celebrating 30 years, showcasing classical and contemporary ballet pieces, performed with live accompaniment. Company members and guests will be performing many different dance styles, including musical theater, modern, lyrical fusion, contemporary, character and much more.

Scandinavian Dance Party

Sat, May 5, Menlo Park, Nordic Footnotes

Hambo, Polska, Springar, Schottis, and more! Dance to live, traditional music of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. A one hour class will precede the dance party, and the dance party will include many dances that are easy to join in without prior knowledge.

International Folk Dance Party

Fri, May 4, Berkeley, Berkeley Folk Dancers

Explore over 200 social dances from Europe, the British Isles, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, USA, and others. Dances are at all skill levels, many suitable for beginners. Our repertoire includes couple, line, circle, and set dances.

Contemporary Congolese Dance Class

Sat, May 5, SF, Alonzo King LINES Dance Center

Explore movements inspired by the Congolese traditional dance forms and how these dances are a springboard to the African contemporary dance aesthetic. Whether you are new to African ethnic and/or contemporary dance forms or have years of dance experience, you are welcome in this class.

Fiesta Sin Fronteras

Sat, May 5, Oakland, BANDALOOP

Hosted by Luka's Taproom & Lounge with short performances by aerial dance company, BANDALOOP.

LadyBOS Women's Performance & Workshop

Sun, May 5, Oakland, Flying Studios

Join in for the culmination ritual performance of a 5-week women's series. LadyBOS is an avenue to empower our innate feminine strength, beauty, and intuitive connection as women.

Showgirl Awakening 101: a transformational approach to dance and life

Sun, May 6, SF, Showgirl Awakening

Weaving together dance, psychological growth, and spirit - combined with sizzle, vivaciousness, glitter, ruffles, fringe, feathers, and shiny things. This workshop could be for you if you are drawn to dance, improv, costume-like-clothing and glitter as well as embodied movement-based practices.

Korean Traditional Fan Dance Workshop!

Sat, May 5, SF, OngDance Company & School

With instructors from Korea who have professional and certified dance skills and knowledge. We will provide fans for this workshop and also you are welcome to bring your own.

Full details, including exact times and locations are available online at

The History of Bay Area Dance Week

National Dance Week was founded in 1981 to increase awareness of dance and its contributions to our culture. The first Bay Area Dance Week (BADW) festival grew out of a public dialogue in 1998, when dance artists, administrators, and organizations came together to explore how best to spotlight Bay Area dance. The festival that emerged took a national initiative and imbued it with the innovative and inclusive spirit of the Bay Area. As the largest per capita center for dance in the US, the Bay Area's festivities have been the most extensive and best attended celebrations in the country since BADW's inception. Each year, over 200 dance organizations and artists present events during Bay Area Dance Week, involving more than 2,500 artists and 20,000 attendees. Dancers' Group presents the annual event.

Dancers' Group promotes the visibility and viability of dance. Founded in 1982, we serve San Francisco Bay Area artists, the dance community and audiences through programs and services that are as collaborative and innovative as the creative process. As the primary dance service organization in the Bay Area, we support the second largest dance community in the nation by providing many programs and resources that help artists produce work, build audiences, and connect with their peers and community.


Dancers' Group presents Bay Area Dance Week

April 27- May 6, 2018

10 days featuring nearly 400 free dance events at locations throughout San Francisco, the East Bay, North Bay & South Bay


One Dance

Friday, April 27 at noon

City Hall, San Francisco


More information about Bay Area Dance Week is available online at

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