“Ballet Afsaneh is the top tier of Bay Area world dance.” --- Allan Ulrich, Voice of Dance
Ballet Afsaneh, the professional performance ensemble of the Afsaneh Art & Culture Society, is based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California in the USA. This dynamic group presents performances and activities featuring dance, poetry, and music of the Silk Road —the historic trade route stretching 7,000 miles across the continenet of Eurasia from the China Sea in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. The Ballet Afsaneh repertoire displays a wide range, from the glittering lyricism of fairytale to incisive, thought provoking, contemporary work.
Traditional repertoire includes dances representing; Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Turkey, Chinese Turkistan, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and North India. In our rapidly changing world the need for cultural understanding and preservation has never been greater; Ballet Afsaneh brings to light the history, poetry, iconography, and spiritual heart of these enduring cultures. Promoting positive visibility for these expressive arts in all of their beauty and richness, so that such cultural treasures can be shared by the world.
Many of the 15 core dancers, poets and musicians performing with the company are from Central Asian families, a majority are women. Ballet Afsaneh often performs at large mainstream venues and provides programming for many smaller, community-oriented events as well. The company occasionally tours both nationally and internationally.
Past Performance Highlights
Since its founding by Artistic Director Sharlyn Sawyer in 1986, Ballet Afsaneh and the Afsaneh Art & Culture Society have produced critically acclaimed programs for San Francisco's M.H. De Young Museum, the Asian Art Museum, British Museum in London, and the Cabrillo Music Festival. They have been honored by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom for producing the annual Norooz (Persian New Year) event at SF City Hall, and are featured regularly in San Francisco’s Ethnic Dance Festival at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater. The company has toured in Central Asia and sponsors international artists during their visits to the United States.
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