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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

From the temples of India to the village squares of Mexico, the 31st annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival is a first-class ticket to an unforgettable journey around the world.
The city will come to vivid life in a swirl of sublime gesture, exuberant energy, and soul-stirring rhythms as 37 companies representing dance traditions from more than 20 cultures and featuring more than 500 of Northern California’s most acclaimed dancers and musicians take to the stage. Recently cited as one of the Top 10 Bay Area dance innovations by the San Francisco Chronicle, the festival is considered the largest and most prestigious gathering of its kind in the country. Below are some of the South Asian performances.


Weekend One (June 6-7)

Athira Pratap is a Fremont-based soloist at just 9-years-old. She will be presenting Ohm Kaara, a dance that depicts the story of a sage who implores the powerful goddess Shakti to visit him, agreeing to her condition that he walk ahead, keeping track of her presence by the sound of her anklet, until the sound ceases and the spot becomes a place of worship.


Weekend Two (June 13-14)

The Santa Clara-based Prabhath Academy for Music and Performing Arts presents an invocation to Lord Ganesh in Sankashta Ganapati, a bharatanatyam dance inspired by the ancient recitation of hymns from the Vedas.


Weekend Three (June 20-21)

Savitha Sastry is a solo artist from San Jose. She will perform Anjali, invoking the guardian angels of different directions in order to appease the gods, highlighting the geometric-patterned movements of bharatanatyam based on the nritta, or pure structures, of this classical Indian dance form.


Making its festival debut, the Sanhiti group will also perform this weekend. Their dance, Kummi Adi, meaning “let’s clap together,” is a vibrant performance that showcases six different folk dance forms from Tamil Nadu depicting a village carnival with balancing acts, dancing horses, rhythmic sticks, and martial arts.


Weekend Four (June 27 & 28)

Shreelata Suresh will premiere a dynamic bharatanatyam piece that includes an offering to Mother Earth and an invocation to the Gods of the eight directions.

June 6-7; 13-14; 20-21; 27-28. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St., San Francisco. $22-$44. Tickets: (415) 392-4400;

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...