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Dance Heritage Coalition

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY Table of Contents Series Description and Container List

Ethnic Dance Festival Collection



The Ethnic Dance Festival Records document the growth of the festival from its inception as a neighborhood event to its present status as a nationally acclaimed performance series. Functions and activities which are well-documented include the application and audition process, publicity and advertising, technical production, educational programs, community relations, and administration. Very little material is available for the initial years of the festival's existence between 1978 and 1980, although festival activities are summarized in final reports from these years. Since City Celebration began to act as a co-sponsor for the festival in 1982, records produced during and after this date are much more thorough.

The collection consists chiefly of traditional paper files. Printed documentation includes correspondence, reports, budgets, timelines, surveys, applications, contracts, newsclippings, programs, production notes, minutes, and press releases. A few nontextual items are present in the form of publicity photographs and stage and seating diagrams. Summaries of each year's festival can be found in final reports produced to evaluate productions. These range from very formal documents to rough notes outlining post-festival staff discussions. In general, the reports discuss promotions and ticket sales, comment on the audition and judging process, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of performance sites, reveal the composition of audiences, and examine technical problems and improvements which could be made. Supplementary information on specific aspects of festival coordination, such as audition procedures and educational programs, can be found in files documenting these activities.

Information on controversies surrounding the festival and issues raised by performers and the community can be found in correspondence files, advisory committee minutes, and community meeting minutes. Changes in program goals can be traced in the mission statements included in each year's application form, as well as in drafts of long-range plans. Descriptions of various ethnic dance groups and dance forms can be found in application forms submitted for the annual auditions and in program notes. Public response to the festival, along with critical assessments, can be examined in surveys and press reviews. The administration of the festival is also well-documented in timelines, budgets, minutes, correspondence, publicity, and technical production reports. This collection would be useful for research on the festival's philosophy and future, study of ethnic dance groups and forms, and examination of city support for the arts. In addition, one could study the records to obtain a model of how to organize a dance festival. Related materials held at the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum include posters, flyers, and newsclippings filed in the Dance Miscellaneous, Multi-Arts, and City Celebration Files. In addition, the early years of the festival's history, between 1978 and 1981, are chronicled in San Francisco Grants for the Arts Files. These include visual documentation in the form of color slides and videotapes, financial records, publicity, audition materials, programs, clippings, and correspondence. Supplementary information for the years 1982-91 can also be found in these files. Audiotapes of interviews with various staff members of City Celebration, Grants for the Arts, and the Hotel Tax Fund are stored in these files, as well.

The collection also includes an extensive number of video recordings of performances. The recordings have been cataloged separately and information about them can be obtained by searching SF PALM's computer catalog or the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN).

ORGANIZATIONAL HISTORY Table of Contents Series Description and Container List