We love Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu, the local hula supergroup. We love Ensambles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, a group that goes deep into the Yucatecan history of Chiapas to bring the world premiere of "Las Cortes Mayas," inspired by temple wall art. But we have to admit a major bias: Only one dance troupe at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival is called Hiyas Philippine Folk Dance. This group is our favorite by far, and not just because the group takes a clear stand on the important issue in all traditional art forms: "Let folk dances be as they are " the company's Web site affirms, "of the folk. We can not sacrifice heritage for progress." Meaning: this stuff is a-u-t-h-e-n-t-i-c. But the secret of our admiration for the group is in its name. "The word hiyas means 'jewel' or 'gem,'" the site continues, and that's just somehow very attractive. (If you haven't looked at the byline yet ...) The festival spans three weekends, each with a different lineup and each featuring international superstars of folk dancing from Ireland, Thailand, Oakland, and more.
June 8-29, 2 p.m., 2008