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In June, the Ethnic Dance Festival arrives in town, a heartwarming month of dance celebrating cultural traditions and the roots that connect us all. Today, however, there’s the nastiness of who gets picked to nourish those roots, to be determined by a panel of judges at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Auditions. Of course, this ain’t TV: It’s doubtful we’ll see, say, an unbalanced Russian kazotsky kicker who busked his way to the West only to have some prick judge wonder aloud how he ever made it through Customs (and, anyway, most of the groups are from Northern California). What we will see, however, is up to 30 groups per day auditioning in ten-minute bursts (five for soloists), doing their damned best to make their particular style stand out among the more than 75 expected genres. They’ll be leaving it on the stage, in other words. And what it costs is even better — just a quarter per group, if you make a day of it.
Jan. 17-18, 11 a.m.; Jan. 24-25, 2009

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