Trolley Dances

Dance makes me happier than almost anything else.  Ballet, modern, tap, ballroom… when music plays, it’s hard to keep still. I love how it feels to move, to let my body respond to a melody.

Watching a dance performance gives me another kind of thrill. No matter how many classes I’ve taken or how many concerts I’ve seen, I’m always amazed at the things a dancer’s body can do. Choreographers tell stories using the infinite possibilities of movement in the same way that authors build worlds with words.

One of my favorite San Diego dance performances is the annual Trolley Dances, a site-specific concert that takes place the last weekend in September and the first weekend in October every year. This year is San Diego Dance Theater’s 13th Annual Trolley Dances.

In site-specific dance, the location is as much a part of the choreography as the movement in the same way that setting can become a character in certain novels and stories. The dance might be adapted for another place, but it could never be the same when performed somewhere other than its original site.

The audience of Trolley Dances rides the trolley along the line where they find dancers waiting to perform for them at locations near certain stops. I’m very excited to be a tour guide this year. My job will be to show audience members when to get on and off the trolley and to lead the audience to each performance site.

Yesterday, I went on a dry run with other tour guides to see the places that have been chosen for this year’s dances and we even got to watch a few rehearsals.  Now I can hardly wait to watch the performance when it’s my turn to guide a tour.

This year, Trolley Dances begins at Grantville Station and the audience will ride the Green Line out to Santee with dances performed at several stops along the way.  Choreographers include Jean Isaacs, Minerva Tapia, John Diaz, Allyson Green and Paz Tanjuaquio.

If you’re interested in watching a unique dance performance and love an adventure, give Trolley Dances a try. Just don’t forget to wear walking shoes, a hat and sunscreen.

Performances are scheduled for Saturdays, September 24 and October 1 (Saturday tours leave on the hour at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2 and 3) and Sundays, September 25 and October 2 (Sunday tours leave every half hour at 1, 1:30, 2, 2:30, 3 and 3:30). Each tour lasts about 3 hours.

Tickets are $30 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $15 for students and they are available online and on the ground level at Grantville Station on performance days. An all-day trolley pass is included with price of admission.


Filed under Art, Creativity, Dance, Story

17 responses to “Trolley Dances

  1. Anitra

    Hi Shary,
    Thanks for the trolley dance post. I’m already scheduled for Sun. Oct 2nd, with some friends. It’s my first time.
    I saw an article once about dancers in Europe who performed on a tower crane. I think that would have some unique possibilities because of the multiple platforms and the ladders between.
    But because ascending to the top is so challenging, the crane operators themselves make their way gradually up, resting periodically on the platforms.Wouldn’t it be cool for dancers to observe that and then create a dance where they “become” operators, expressing that job creatively? It is an art, incidentally, to swing a crane jib (the long horizontal arm). It’s done intuitively as much as objectively because there are no brakes on it. Once again, art and life blur at the edges.

    • You’re going to love trolley dances. It’s just your kind of adventure.

      Dancing on a crane sounds thrilling and terrifying. I’d love to see that performance, too.

  2. Will they be traveling let’s say to Michigan? I would’ve love to see that show!

    • They are traveling this year, but not to Michigan. So sorry. They’ll be transforming the pieces for another Southern California town, though. And the idea of trolley dances is spreading. There’s a company in San Francisco who presents an annual Trolley Dances now, too. It would be great if dance companies in other cities joined in.

  3. I’ve heard of this before and just heard something on the radio today too. What a great idea!

  4. Shary, Trolley Dances sounds like so much fun! I hope you’ll be able to take photos of the event to later share with us? 🙂 How wonderful that you’ll be working in the event! I would love to ride on the trolley and see the performances!

    • I don’t think I’ll be able to take pictures while I’m working, but I bet I’ll be able to find some after the performance to link to. It’s a very fun event.

  5. I love dance and this sounds really unique and fun. I wish I lived a little closer.

  6. Sandra

    Sounds VERY fun. Pictures?

  7. Sara Grambusch

    That is awesome! I know nothing about this stuff so I’m always glad when i come across some good info!

  8. Stacy Magic

    You are so cool! How neat that you are involved like this. What a fun way to see and participate.

  9. I’m a terrible dancer but I love to watch. Dancers really do tell a story through movement, which is what I’ve always admired.

    • I bet you’re not terrible. I think all people can move to music. But watching those who are truly gifted like the dancers in Trolley Dances is so exciting. It was a great performance!