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The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Returns - On Film


The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Returns - On Film

The critically acclaimed San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival returns this October in a brand new format: film.

The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Film is an original, full-length production that was shot in various Bay Area locales this summer, and features local artists presenting dance, music, and spoken word from Cuba, Guinea, Hawaii, India, Iran and Turkey, Mexico, and the US. Four of the artists are making their Festival debuts.

The film premieres on Thursday, October 7, 2021, in a special interactive online event which will include live introductions by each of the artists featured in the film, and an opportunity for audience members to chat with them. The premiere will be followed by in-person screenings in Oakland and San Francisco on October 9 and 16; and the film will be available on demand online for a limited time in October. There will be additional online events leading up to the film premiere, including a panel discussion and a movement workshop. A full list of events can be found below, along with the list of artists featured. Tickets for the film are priced $12-$25 and are available online now at or by phone at City Box Office: 415.392.4400. See the Festival Film trailer at

"Though we are closer to returning to live performance than we have been in a long time, we are not quite there yet. It takes a full year to prepare for our stage productions," notes Māhealani Uchiyama, who is Festival Co-Artistic Director, along with Latanya d. Tigner. "That said, I am beyond excited for this film. My hope is that more people outside the Bay Area will have the opportunity to experience the extraordinary work of our artist community."

San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival artists are typically selected through a live auditions process, but without that option in 2021, the artists in the film were selected by Tigner, Uchiyama, and Festival producers World Arts West, after careful consideration about the new opportunities presented by the film format versus a stage production. "We were also keen to include artists and traditions that may not have been involved in the Festival before," Uchiyama explains. "Wanting to celebrate the incredible diversity we have in this area, we came up with a short list."

While the 2020 Festival was cancelled due to the pandemic, World Arts West was far from dormant, launching new programs such as the Living Traditions online series. "I'm especially proud that we were able to expand our artist service programs at such a critical time to support and financially sustain the creative work of our community, in order to weather the pandemic," said Anne Huang, Executive Director of World Arts West. "We have also diversified our board and staff to reflect the artist community we support."

"Artists are fueled by creating art and being in community with one another, which is something they've been missing, and it's gratifying to provide a new platform for our artists to do that through this film," added Huang. "I've been so moved by the way the cultural artists have shown up for each other through this very challenging time, providing emotional, spiritual, and even financial support to one another. I've witnessed this care through the production of our film, even among our team, many of whom are artists themselves."

The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Film is made possible in part thanks to partnerships with Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, Dance Mission Theater, Grace Cathedral, and Women's Audio Mission.

2021 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Artists
Darius Simpson*
Spoken Word
Denmis Bain Savigne + Angel Yoel Mulen-Robert*
Rumba from Cuba
Eddie Madril
Native American Hoop Dance
Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco
Son Jarocho from Mexico
Hālau o Keikialiʻi
Hula Kahiko from Hawaii
Lahydi Dance Collective*
Djun Djun & Dance from Guinea
Miriam Peretz
Dance inspired by Sufi poetry & devotional whirling from Iran & Turkey
US Stepping & Body Percussion
Mythili Kumar of Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose
Bharatanatyam from South India

*denotes artists new to the Festival

World Premiere works will be presented by Darius Simpson, Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, Lahydi Dance Collective, and Mythili Kumar of Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose.

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