World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival

Audition Brochure 2004 graphic






Auditions for the 2020 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival are planned for January 2020. Please check back for updates, and if you’re interested in auditioning, please click here to sign up for our email newsletter, and indicate that you would like updates about participating in our Auditions.

The Festival Auditions are open to the public to watch, and more details about the schedule will be posted in the fall.

The information below pertains to the November 2018 Auditions. We’ll be posting updated guidelines and the application for our November 2019 Auditions soon.

2019 Audition Guidelines
San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival

and World Arts West Programming

The auditions for the Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and other World Arts West programming will be held the weekends of November 3 – 4 and 10 – 11, 2018, with all of the details listed below. Please review these guidelines carefully before starting the application process.

We encourage dancers to apply early to take advantage of the free early submission deadline on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

We hope to see you there!

Table of Contents

(Click on links to skip to sections)

World Arts West Programming
2019 Festival Dates
What is the 2019 Festival Looking For?

Who Can Audition?

When & Where are the Auditions?

How to Apply
Application Fees & Deadlines
Payment Options
Your Audition Date & Time Slot
Application Tips
Production Details

· Performance Time Limits
· Dressing Rooms
· Props
· Stage & Lighting
· Music
Selection Process

· Festival Artistic Directors
· Festival Panelists
· Panel Review Criteria
Final Selection for 2019 Festival
2019 Festival Artist Responsibilities

· Photo Shoot
· Production Meetings
· Tech & Dress Rehearsals
Audition Benefits


World Arts West Programming

World Arts West celebrates and fosters appreciation for the diverse ethnic communities in the Bay Area through a performance season that includes the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, the monthly Rotunda Dance Series at San Francisco City Hall and other events and programs. We showcase dance styles that have included traditional classical dance, sacred dance genres, vernacular dance forms, social dance and folk dance presentations.

These auditions are not only for the chance to perform in the 2019 San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and other World Arts West programming, but also for the opportunity to perform in front of booking agencies, to have a professional DVD copy of your audition for future promotional use, exposure to a large audience, other arts presenters and funders, and much more (click for Audition Benefits).

2019 Festival Dates

The 41th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival will take place June 22-23 in a South Bay venue (TBD) and July 6-7 and 13-14 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House.

What is World Arts West Looking For?

World Arts West seeks to present dance forms from around the world that are rooted in a cultural tradition. We are interested in dances that reflect all aspects of culture, including sacred or spiritual dances, social dance, secular or vernacular dance, dances from life cycle events, and innovative work based in traditional dance forms. World Arts West recognizes that many dance forms stem from multiple roots, and are often influenced significantly by the context of presentation on our Festival stage.
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Who Can Audition?

· The auditions are open to artists residing in Northern California.
· Guest artists from any location are welcome to audition with any local group or artist, with the understanding that if selected, they must be available for the performances.
· Each dance company is encouraged to select its best work to present at the Festival audition.
· The piece you audition is what is being considered for the Festival. During the Selection Process, audition panelists will be using specific guidelines, as well as the information from your application to evaluate each audition.
· Only one application is permitted per company/Artistic Director.

Child Performers
We welcome children and youth performers of the highest caliber. However, we are not a children’s dance festival, nor are the auditions meant as a showcase for many solo recitals from the same school or company. Note that the commitment to perform in the Festival requires a rigorous schedule of evening rehearsals and back-to-back performances. Please consider the stamina and parental supervision necessary for children who wish to participate before auditioning.

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Please Note:

  • All Soloists, Duets, and Groups will audition live on the Palace of Fine Arts stage during the weekends of November 3 – 4 and 10 – 11, 2018
  • No video submissions
  • The application fee is $40 (if submitting after August 15 early bird deadline)
  • Panel comments provided to all auditioning artists at no additional charge. Comments will be sent out starting March 2019.
  • Early Bird Deadline is August 8, 2018 and Final Deadline is September 5, 2018.

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When & Where are the Auditions?

November 3 – 4 and 10 – 11, 2018

Saturday – Sunday
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

3301 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
11am – 7pm approx.
Directions to venue

Note for Audiences
The auditions are open to the public for a $10 adult entrance fee (cash only).
Children 12 years & under are admitted for free.

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How to Apply

You can fill out an electronic application starting May 2018:
Please read Application Tips.

Be sure to save and print a copy of your application for your files. If you do not receive an email confirmation once you submit your online application, please contact our office immediately at 415-474-3914 between the hours of 10am – 5pm, Monday through Friday. Please note that we no longer accept mailed or faxed applications.

Soloists under 18
Soloists under the age of 18 need to submit a letter of support from their teacher with their application. Please email the letter as an attachment (PDF format) to
Subject line should read: 2019 EDF Audition letter of support - Soloist name

Having trouble filling out the electronic application?
You can view our PDF version, answer all the questions on a Word document, and email the document to
Subject line should read: 2019 EDF Audition Application - Group/Soloist name

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Application Fees & Deadlines

Application fee (includes panel comments*): $40
*comments available starting March 2019

Wednesday, August 8, 2018 by 5pm (FREE Early Submission Deadline)
No application fee
Wednesday, September 5, 2018 by 5pm (FINAL Deadline)
$40 application fee

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Payment Options

Pay by debit or credit card (VISA, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx) via PayPal through the link at the end of your application (before clicking the SUBMIT button). A PayPal account is not required.

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Your Audition Date & Time Slot

Confirmation of your audition date and time will be emailed to you as an attachment by October 5, 2018. It will include your check-in time, warm-up time, and audition time, as well as directions to the audition site and other pertinent information.

· Audition times are assigned on a first come, first served basis and cannot be changed once assigned. Make sure you indicate your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices in the application.

· Cancellation: It takes a considerable amount of staff time and resources to prepare for your audition. If you must cancel, please notify us immediately.
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Performance Time Limits

· Soloists*: 5 minutes maximum (A soloist is one dancer regardless of the number of accompanying musicians) *See RULE about soloists under 18
· Duets: 5 minutes maximum (A duet is two dancers regardless of the number of accompanying musicians)
· Groups: 10 minutes maximum (A group is defined as having more than two dancers.)

World Arts West recognizes that many genres are not well represented by the relatively short amount of time allotted on the audition stage. Please note: Exceeding the allotted time of your audition will adversely affect the outcome of your audition.
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Application Tips

· Completing this application is a detailed process that typically requires more than one session due to the extensive answers needed.·
When completing the online application be sure to:
- CREATE a password to login, edit, and complete your application.
- WRITE out your answers separately so your session doesn’t expire before you are done. We recommend that you type your answers into a Word document first and then cut and paste them into the online application.
- SAVE your work frequently!
- PRINT & SAVE a copy of your application for your files.
- SUBMIT only one application per company or Artistic Director.
· For assistance with your application please contact or call World Arts West at 415-474-3914 between the hours of 10am – 5pm, Monday through Friday.

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Production Details

Changing Area
Each group will be assigned a changing area on the day of the audition. Please indicate in the application your preference in sharing the dressing room.

Please keep your props at auditions to a minimum, since the set-up time is limited. You must provide a detailed list of props that you will be using on stage on your application, to be reviewed by the Production Manager. No confetti, loose glitter, glass, incense, fire, weapons (firearms, swords, etc.), or live animals are allowed at the auditions, but arrangements can be made for inclusion in performances. Please note any special props on the application.

Stage, Lighting and Projection
The stage floor* at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre is particle board over sprung wood. During the auditions the house and stage lights are on and the curtain remains open. There are no lighting changes on stage during each audition. If special lighting effects are crucial to your piece, please indicate this in your application so that the audition panelists may be advised of this feature as they evaluate your audition. At this time we are unable to provide projection for the auditions and Festival.

*The stage floor during the Festival performances is marley over a wood surface. Please consider this difference as it may affect your presentation if selected for the Festival.

Live Music

Although it is not a requirement, we encourage you to incorporate live music. If you are selected for the Festival, we will provide an additional fee for companies performing with live musicians. It is our hope that musicians and dancers will come together to perform dance pieces with the best presentation possible. We have found that artists performing with live music receive more booking requests from presenters who attend the auditions and the Festival as a “booking showcase." In addition, reviewers are often more favorable to artists with live music. To read reviews of past Festivals click here. If you plan to perform with musicians in the Festival but they cannot be present at the auditions, please indicate this in your application.

Recorded Music
If recorded music is used for your audition, it must be of the highest professional sound quality. In the past, poor sound quality has often been reflected in the panel’s response to pieces that have not been selected. We are aware that the choice for dancers to use recorded music often comes from two factors: expense and availability of musicians. On our part, we are committed to providing audio reinforcement for high quality sound, and we will credit your musicians in our publicity.

Please send your digital file via by the FINAL application deadline, September 5, 2018.
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Selection Process

Festival Artistic Directors
The Festival artistic directors will be looking for the strongest work to present on the Festival stages. They will be consulting with a panel of dance experts throughout the auditions, and will select the final roster within several weeks after the auditions conclude.

Audition Panelists
Your audition will be performed before a group of panelists selected by World Arts West. The panelists are noted for their dance backgrounds, cultural expertise, and reputations in the field. They are sensitive to world arts and cultures, and are knowledgeable in dance/theater presentation. A panelist may have a specific expertise in one or more areas of world dance or may be a “generalist” with a broad background in dance presentation for the stage.

Additional Notes
· Conflict of Interest: In the event that there is a conflict of interest, the panelist will refrain from participating in the particular group or soloist’s assessment.
· Top Twenty List: The function of the panel is to provide guidance to the artistic directors in selecting the lineup for the current year’s Festival. At the end of auditions, each panelist will be asked to select his or her “top twenty” auditioning groups and soloists. All top twenty lists are then merged, creating a list of finalists from which the Festival lineup will be selected. The artistic directors are responsible for making the final selection of artists for the Festival using this list of audition finalists.
· Genre Expertise: With approximately 75 cultural genres represented each year at auditions, it is impossible to have specific expertise in each dance style. Panelists are chosen each year to reflect the current auditioning artists.
· Panelist Bios: A list of panelists and their biographies will be posted on our website on the first day of auditions. Check for more information.

Panel Review Criteria

The piece you audition, and performers and musicians in it, is what is being considered for our performances. The audition panelists will be using the following guidelines, as well as the information from your application, to evaluate each audition. Written panel comments will be sent to you starting March 2019.

· Performance – technical execution, stage presence, ensemble rapport/soloist strength
- What is the level of technical competence and command?
- Are steps, group patterns and exits/entrances clearly executed?
- Does the soloist/duet/group demonstrate consistent and coherent emotional/dramatic projection and rapport?
- Does the soloist/duet/group project a sense of dynamism, focus, confidence, and enthusiasm as appropriate for the genre of dance presented?

· Production components – music, costuming, props, sets
- Are production component choices appropriate/authentic?
- Are they well executed, constructed, and designed?
- Are they integral to the piece?
- Do the dancers relate to/respond to/use proficiently the production components?

· Choreography – thematic clarity, appropriateness of movement vocabulary, structural strength, use of space
- Is the theme, as described in the application, clearly demonstrated?
- Are the movement vocabulary choices appropriate and in sync with the theme?
- Is there a structural coherence to the work in terms of an emotional arc, or narrative drive, or dramatic progression, or sequential transitions, or beginning-middle-end?
- Is the use of stage space, within the cultural constraints of the dance, imaginative, balanced, comprehensive, and varied in exits/entrances, group patterns and directional interlacing?
- Is the choice of number of dancers appropriate?
- Is the dance too long? Does it sustain interest?

· Relationship to Cultural Origins – Authenticity and/or Genre Growth
- Is the work, as presented, clearly expressive of, or connected with, its cultural origins?
- Does the work display adequate or impressive knowledge of its roots?
- If a hybrid genre or fusion, does the work successfully integrate the disparate movement vocabularies as well as demonstrate technical and cultural understanding of its disparate roots?

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Final Selection for the Festival

We are committed to presenting diverse, well-balanced, culturally sensitive, and theatrically strong programs for the Festival and other events. It is the artistic directors who will make the final selection of the lineup for the Festival. Once the selections are made, we will notify all artists and issue a press release to announce the roster for the Summer 2019 Festival by March 2019. During the preparations for the Festival, the artistic directors may work with selected artists on transitions into and out of each piece to create a more artistically integrated overall experience.As always, the goal at auditions is for you to present your best work.

Other factors that impact the producer’s decisions on the final bill are:
· Opportunity for New Artists: World Arts West is interested in bringing new performers to the Festival stage in order to give artists access to a wider audience and to give audiences an opportunity to see new work or little seen cultures.

· Commissioned Works: World Arts West will commission several pieces to be presented during the course of the Festival.

· Other Aesthetic Factors: Other selection factors include: overall dynamic flow, types of musical accompaniment, overall mood, visual enhancements, the balance of soloists, duets, and groups for a given performance, and more.
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2019 Festival Artist Responsibilities

Photo Shoot
A Festival photo shoot is tentatively scheduled for January 19-20, 2019 in San Francisco. We will notify Festival artists about exact dates and times as soon as possible.

Technical Meetings
Technical meetings will be scheduled with company directors/soloists for mid-April 2019*. We will discuss technical requirements, sound requirements, and any additional information needed for the program book and marketing. All company directors will be required to attend a 1½ hour meeting and need to come prepared to discuss the piece as well as technical and musical design ideas in detail at that time.

Tech & Dress Rehearsals
All dancers and musicians must attend a technical rehearsal held in the afternoon or evening during the week before the performance, as well as a dress rehearsal. This is the only time that the producers have with artists on the theater stage to work out sound checks, lighting, spacing, exits and entrances, and make any necessary adjustments. Upon selection, artists will be notified of all required technical rehearsal times before the contract will need to be signed and returned, should any scheduling conflicts arise.

*Dates are subject to change.

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Audition Benefits

As an auditioning artist or artist group, you will have access to the following:
· Exposure to a large audience, booking agents, funders, and other arts presenters
· A video file of your audition
· Artist Community Table at Auditions and Festival performances for artist self-promotion
· Your company name and website listed on audition schedules
· Written comments from the panel
· Inclusion in our community events page on the World Arts West website
· Ongoing email blasts of programs, professional workshops, master classes, performances, funding opportunities, and more

If selected for the 2019 Festival, artists will receive many additional benefits.

The Festival experience typically includes:
· A performance opportunity at premiere presenting venues in the San Francisco Bay Area
· Exposure to 3000 audience members per show, other arts presenters, and funders
· Artist fee for performance in Festival
· Possible inclusion in the professional photo shoot session
· Professionally filmed video of Festival performance for an additional fee
· Professional sound, scenic, and lighting design.
· Increased visibility through an extensive marketing campaign:
· Local and national PR pitches to print, broadcast, and online media
· Website marketing
· Print ads in newspapers and magazines
· Commercial and public radio and television advertisements
· Email blasts to World Arts West contacts, media partner lists, and other mail lists
· Festival marketing materials for fundraising/grant writing purposes

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