By Katia Lopez-Hodoyan
It is an unlikely combination, but somehow it works. Several dancers gather in trolley stations around the county and perform site-specific dances while dozens wait for the trolley to arrive. Although a waiting station isn’t exactly a dancer’s dream stage, for the last six years it has slowly transformed into one. The purpose is to expose all types of people to dances they wouldn’t usually see. What’s more, it provides for artistic expression in an unlikely setting.
This year, dancers will perform around the Montezuma statue in San Diego State. They will dance around fountains in downtown and they will use the trolley as their sporadic dancing partner. Sound strange? It is. But it makes for an extraordinary and inspiring show.
Founder and professional dancer, Jean Isaacs knows this first hand. After traveling to Switzerland years back, she took an artistic tour that was anything but square. The tour guide took his audience to several historic locations and carried out site-specific dances to engage his travelers. The idea struck Isaacs so profoundly that she decided to implement a similar performance here in San Diego.
A tour guide will gather his traveling group in the Grantville Trolley Station. There, he/she will lead his attendees to trolley stations throughout the county where they will see the site- specific dances. Commuters will travel through the county. The dancers stay put in their station throughout the day.
So why the trolley?
“Public transportation in San Diego isn’t great,” says Isaacs. “So we are trying to give the public access to a bigger and better dance performance in a relatively unusual setting.”
With over 2,000 people expected this year, organizers will definitely meet their goal.
One of the attractive points of “Trolley Dances,” is that it’s all-inclusive. Children, adults, handicapped, tourists and professionals among others, have a chance to enjoy the show. In addition, regular commuters who choose not to partake in the full blown tour will get a taste of a show while they wait for their line to arrive.
“Coordinating the length of dances with the trolley schedule has been a logistical nightmare,” says Isaac. “But we will roll with the punches and see how it all pans out.”
The main focus of this year’s show is the debut of the San Diego State green line. There dancers will also perform a thoughtout dance routine for the thousands of students and commuters who use the trolley. In this new station, they will use the site’s design to complement their dances. Pillars, seats, walls, statues will all become crops by default.
“It a challenge to incorporate the architecture of a site to your dance,” says Trolley Dances dancer Sadie Weinberg. “ Last year I got to see a downtown performance and I was amazed at how dancers worked with water, stairs and buildings during their dance. San Diego State’s new trolley line is absolutely amazing. You feel like they are in London or New York there… I can’t wait to see how that performance goes.”
Many Hispanics in the region usually opt for the trolley as their mode of transportation. Each day, thousands of ‘tijuanenses’ use this medium to get to work or school in their neighboring country. And this year, an international touch will be splashed on the show.
Multicultural dancer, Henry Torres will bring forth his expertise in combining cultural characteristics into his routine.
Torres’ work has been presented in several parts of Mexico, including “Cuerpos en Transito” Dance Festival in Tijuana and other dance shows in Mexicali and Nayarit.
“[I am] in search of this universal language that wraps and connects different cultures: dancing,” says Torres.
Because of this, organizers promise many eye opening dance pieces that will make commuters stop in their tracks and gaze along.
“Weather you’re a dance enthusiast or a public transportation buff, this exciting dance event will change the way you look at public spaces forever.”
Trolley Dances 2005 will take place on Saturday September 24 and Sunday 25 as well as October 1st and 2nd
On Saturdays the shows will take place in different trolley stations, every hour from 10:00am-3:00pm. On Sundays the schedule is 10:00am, 10:45am, 11:30am, 12:15pm, 1:00pm and 1:45pm. Prices range from $10-$20dlls. Children and handicapped commuters can take the dancing tour for free.
For more information on purchasing tickets call the San Diego Dance Theater at 858-484-7791 or visit their website at www.sandiegodance theater.org