One Dance, pictured in San Francisco’s City Hall in 2018, is moving to Yerba Buena Gardens this year. (Courtesy Lydia Daniller)

Free Bay Area Dance Week kicks off in Yerba Buena Gardens

Hundreds of classes, shows across the Bay from April 26 through May 5

The 21st Bay Area Dance Week gets off and running on Friday, with the big kickoff particpatory One Dance at noon in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens.

No experience is necessary to join the fun, which begins with a “silent disco adventure” in which dancers learn the routine’s moves using cellphones and headphones. The warmup is followed by the full-on One Dance session, once again led by Dudley Flores, artistic director of Rhythm & Motion, a program fulfilling the notion that “anyone can dance.” (Those who want to practice for One Dance can check out the online video tutorial at https://www.rhythmandmotion.com/news-events.)

Free festivities continue across the region through May 5 in nearly 400 programs presented by Dancers’ Group, the Bay Area’s primary dance service organization, and numerous collaborators offering dozens of classes, workshops and performances for dancers of all ages, abilities and interests.

Friday’s opening event also includes honors: Sangam Arts, a South Bay organization founded by Usha Srinivasan and Priya Das dedicated to creating and promoting multicultural music and dance performances (ranging from folklorico to tap to kathak and hula), receives the Dancers Choice Award; and innovative, issue-oriented choreographer Sarah Bush receives the Della Davidson Prize.

Among other opening weekend events are a Showgirl Awakening Burlesque Workshop led by Kellita Maloof at Margaret Jenkins Studio in San Francisco at 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday; a folk dancing session for families with Changs International Folk Dancers at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church in The City: a San Francisco Ballet fan fest company class observation open house at 10 a.m. Saturday at the War Memorial Opera House; and, on Sunday, a day-long event at Eastridge Center in San Jose featuring performances by dozens of dance organizations presnted by contemporary troupe SjDANCEco.

There also are activities designed especially for beginners, for families with children and to promote health and well-being, and well as numerous presentations focusing on international dance styles.

Dancers and dance organizations also are opening their studios, offering views of their workspace and rehearsal process.

In the closing event, Kathy Mata Ballet presents a show of classical and contemporary ballet pieces, with live accompaniment, at 3:30 p.m. May 5 at Alonzo King LINES Dance Center in The City.

IF YOU GO

Bay Area Dance Week

Presented by Dancers’ Group

Where: San Francisco, East Bay, North Bay, South Bay

When: April 26 through May 5

Admission: Free

Contact: www.bayareadance.org

Note: One Dance, the participatory opening event, is at noon Friday, April 26 in Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission between Third and Fourth streets, S.F.

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