Aimed at dance awareness and celebrating the local dance community, Bay Area National Dance Week (BANDW) is the ideal time to dust off those jazz shoes stuffed in the back of your closet and step-ball-change it to the nearest dance jam. BANDW, now in its 12th year, starts tomorrow and spans 10 days (so it’s a weekend, then a work week followed by another weekend!) totaling over 400 free classes, demos, lectures, flash mobs, parties, and performances, the largest in the country. Wayne Hazzard, the executive director of Dancers’ Group and a steering committee member for BANDW, says,”for me, I just love the potential of it all, that there are so many entry points [into the festival].”

What: Bay Area National Dance Week

When: April 23-May 2, 2010

Admission: FREE classes, workshops, performances, and discussions.

Isa “GlitterGirl” Isaacs heads up Temple of Poi, a poi fire dancing and flow arts school based in SOMA, and will be offering free classes as well as leading the Fire Dancing Expo the evening of April 24th at Union Square. Isaacs may be self-taught, but she says, “These days, [fire dancing] isn’t nearly as hard to learn as when I started. [Then] the art form was really new, there were no videos, and the internet wasn’t as prolific. There was no YouTube!” If you’re interested in dancing with hoops, LED staffs, and/or fire, then you’re ready to rock and roll. According to Isaacs, students should “just have a positive attitude and a willingness to learn! We’ve got free classes during BANDW. We don’t try [dancing] with fire initially. We try it with the tools; you have to get a certain mastery of the tools. It very much looks cool, but it’s not easy.”

Folawole, a rising modern dance choreographer here in the Bay Area, will be offering workshops as well as performing daily all around the city, with “Live Encounters”, his site-specific tour de force planned for the N-Judah, Golden Gate Park, Club Deluxe (man, this place makes a mean mojito), the JP Morgan Chase Building on Mission, BART, and other locations. ODC School and the Rhythm & Motion Dance Program is offering a slew of classes, including family hip hop, samba, and an introduction to aerial. But if you’re looking for something indoors that’s a little restorative, perhaps try a free demo at San Francisco GYROTONIC

the author

Becca Klarin writes about dance. Her first stage role was at the age of four, where she dressed in a brightly colored bumble bee tutu and black patent leather taps shoes. She remembers bright lights and spinning in circles with her eleven other bees, but nothing more. Becca also has an affinity for things beginning with the letter "P", including Pizzetta 211, Fort Point, pilates, parsvakonasana, and plies.

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