SF Ethnic Dance Festival triumphs, despite budget cuts and the loss of its main venue
A relatively recent phenomenon is dancers and companies who rethink their heritage and reframe it into the kind of individual expression that Western art encourages. Charya Burt is one of them. Another is La Tania Baile Flamenco, whose Tierra translated the quintessential male farruca into a women's dance. The trio became a striking expression of female power — rigorous and utterly convincing. Solo artist Oreet incorporated modern and ballet vocabulary into her spunky belly dancing, making it a decidedly contemporary expression of womanhood.
I do find it problematic, however, that dance from Mexico — there are over two dozen folklórico groups in the Bay Area — inevitably is represented by suites that are happy, fast, and loud. Surely there are more varied ways to showcase that culture's rich variety of traditions.
The Palace of Fine Arts is scheduled to re-open in 2015. The people at World Arts West would like the complex to become a center for art and culture from around the globe. Sounds like a good idea to me.