Deep, slow melodies linger across the room as a young man wraps himself in a mature female voice coming through two speakers. Gliding across the wooden floorboards to the audience, he tells a story of love and betrayal through fluid and distinct movements.
Falling slowly to the floor, Kyle Abraham rests his head on an audience member’s lap, spins up from his knees and glides to the middle of the room demanding attention from the crowd as the song bellows the lyrics, “Hey, I know it ain’t right, but I’m in love with someone else.”
On Sept. 29 and 30 the ninth annual Trolley Dances event was held at the Smart Corner at the City College trolley stop on Park and Broadway, a collaboration between Jean Isaacs’ San Diego Dance Theatre and the Metropolitan Transit System.
Performances were held at six locations, introducing the public to new neighborhoods and places in East County, as well as informing them on how the transit system accommodates the public.
The patrons took part in the event by following a guide onto the transit lines, and out into the city where at each destination, a choreographed dance was performed. Five choreographers directed each performance with different settings and themes.
The five choreographers included Isaacs, Yolande Snaith, Kyle Abraham, Randé Dorn and John Diaz.
“It’s amazing,” said observer Carrie Tuller, 28. “The dances are so emotional and thought provoking, I really didn’t expect this kind of thing.”
Each performance had a sequence of two songs. The only solo act was from Abraham, who also choreographed his dances. Each audience viewed different performances as Abraham said he decided which piece to use based on the “vibe of the crowd.” He also had the most interactive performance as he drew in people from the audience for volunteers as well as physical contact with some.
While walking to the performance site, guides informed the patrons of the history that surrounds them. Performances two through five were located within one block of each other, giving the audience a close look at the history of East County while walking to each destination.
Eugenia Chen, a dancer performing in “Concourse Dance” choreographed by John Diaz at the last site, said the dances were a great way to introduce the general public to the dance community, which has remained relatively small and struggled with funding.
“I think it’s probably one of the most important art events in San Diego,” Chen said. “(It’s) such a big city, but considering how big it is, dance as an art isn’t very well supported.”
The performances were not only viewed by paying crowds, but also by passers-by at three of the six locations. This allowed anyone to observe and get in touch with the local dance community whether it was while the dancers were practicing or performing.
“I think this is one of the few art events of the year (where) there’s a non-dance community in the audience watching,” said Marissa Nunes, one of Chen’s fellow performers. “It’s just a lot more diverse and open to different people, different audiences and different demographics. It gets us out there, it gets the dance community noticed, and recognized.”
Taking dance to the streets of San Diego has shed more light on the dance community and given the public a chance to experience the option of traveling on the local trolleys.
“I’m definitely coming next year,” Tuller said. “I didn’t think it was going to be this fun, but thank goodness my sister dragged me along for such a great ride.”
For more information on Trolley Dances or other local dance events, visit http://www.sandiegodancetheatre.org