Rehovot will be hosting a competition Thursday for amateur dance troupes performing ethnic folk dances from around the world, followed by a line-up of diverse folk music acts. Headlining the professional aspect of the festival is the Tapuah b'Dvash group with the sounds of Eastern Europe, replete with sensuous klezmer clarinet. The band's leader, Anatoly Geiko, plays a number of authentic Eastern European instruments, including the Ukranian darbuka-drum and the Russian balalaika, a triangular-shaped string instrument. Representing a completely different style of music will be the Latin-American Folk Ensemble. The group, which has played in Argentina as well as Israel, was chosen to back up the great Argentine folk soloist Mercedes Sosa for her appearance here.The ensemble is particularly known for its rendition of the Misa Criolla, a mass for tenor and chorus which draws largely on traditional South American styles such as the Chacarera. The Israeli Ethnic Ensemble has a more local flavor, largely focused on the sounds of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Vitaly Podolsky's accordion gives an authentic flavor to the band's repertoire of Balkan, Ladino and Gypsy music. And last among the professional performers is Tam-Tam-Ma, performing the rhythmic song and dance of the West African Mandika people. Dressed in African-style clothing, the ensemble drummers and dancers perform replicas of African religious and medicinal ritual dances, accompanied by explanations of Mandika culture. The festival and dance competition will take place at the Wix Auditorium in Rehovot. The competition begins at 4 p.m., followed by local band, with the main event starting at 8. Tickets cost NIS 25, available from Lotus, (08) 946-7890.