Shall we dance … for free?

Bay Area National Dance Week, marking its 10th year, starts Friday and runs through May 4.

More than 300 free classes, performances, rehearsals, lecture demonstrations and studio open houses make up the event.

Coverage isn’t limited to ballet and modern. Fire dance, hula, Argentine tango, classical Indian, jazz, hip-hop, samba, Chinese classical, belly dance, aerial dance, West African and contact improvisation are also covered.

Barbara Kaplan, one of the BANDW founding organizers, says, “The slogan ‘All Dance, All Free, All Week’ captures the heart and strength of this amazing event. The intention is to make dance in all its forms accessible to the general public. Anyone and everyone can participate. There is a great tradition of community arts activism in the Bay Area, from the WPA to the formation of the Neighborhood Arts Program 40 years ago; BANDW continues in that tradition to engage, serve and celebrate the arts and cultures we hold so dear to our hearts.”

Festivities kick off, as it were, Friday at noon in San Francisco’s Union Square, with a public conga line, followed by a bevy of performances, including Hot Pink Feathers and the Blue Bone Express, dancers from West Africa and the hip-hop classic Funkanometry.

On Saturday from noon to 5 p.m., the Mark Foehringer Dance Project presents 30 local dance companies — including Stephen Pelton Dance Theater, Company C Contemporary Ballet, the S.F. Conservatory of Dance, Lines Ballet School — along with a Young Choreographers Festival in the band shell in Golden Gate Park. For the full schedule, visit www.bayareandw.org.

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