Trolley Dances at San Diego State University!

Late this morning I was at the SDSU Transit Center during a Trolley Dances performance!

I captured these images of a dance that took place by the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, at the end of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over College Avenue.

As the mobile audience group arrived up the stairs from the underground SDSU trolley station, the dancers slowly took their positions, each providing the gathering onlookers with a small wave. It soon became clear to me the modest waves were the beginning of their dance.

The dancers began as individuals, performing small gestures in their own circle, seeming to prepare for a big moment together, but somehow shy. Sometimes they would gesture toward the audience, as if yearning for a joining.

Then came sudden magic. The dancers became one. They leaped, reached, swayed, strutted, energized by their joyful togetherness. And then came the victorious ending, when together they moved away into the distance, arms raised.

At least that’s kind of how I interpreted the dance.

What do you see?

Trolley Dances continues tomorrow only–Sunday–so if you want to experience this for yourself (plus three other fantastic dances, all near Green Line trolley stations), go to the San Diego Dance Theater website right now to find out more!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Trolley Dances returns to San Diego this weekend!

Trolley Dances, an annual San Diego cultural event, is returning this weekend!

For the past 23 years, the San Diego Dance Theater has worked with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to put on outdoor performances at or near different trolley stations around the city. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding, a scaled-back version of the event is returning for this weekend only!

The audience will board at the 70th Street trolley station and follow guides on a unique adventure full of unexpected dances!

To learn more about this very cool event, check out the San Diego Dance Theater website here.

I’ve viewed some of the dances in past years, and the following photos provide a taste of the very creative contemporary dancing you might see…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Dancers portray the homeless in San Diego.

Audience looks down with expectation as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.
Audience looks down as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.

This morning I watched the first dance of the 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center shopping mall. This unique annual event is a production of the San Diego Dance Theater.

Arriving early, I stood a couple of floors above the outdoor performance, and let my eyes wander about as I took in the entire scene.

The first dance portrayed the homeless. As the invisible curtain rose, dancers, who sat alone among their scant possessions, rose and converged in a dizzy, tragic performance.

Two male dancers tussled over a shopping cart, but that seemed to be the extent of their malice. The twisting dance showed troubled souls coming together, having a moment of hope and happiness, raising each other up before departing to go their separate ways.

After the first dance ended, I followed the mobile audience as they were led west down the nearby San Diego River Trail to the next outdoor stage. Chairs were set up short of the place where Highway 163 crosses Mission Valley.

I continued walking. What I saw thereafter wasn’t part of the program.

As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.

The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.

The performance begins, and another dancer rushes on to the stage.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes onto the stage.

Dancers converge in front of the audience. The dance portrays different people who are homeless.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The raw, disturbing dance portrays the lives of different people who are homeless.

Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.

A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is actually empty.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is empty.

Performers tussle over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
Performers tussle briefly over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.

The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.

The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.

One dancer is raised up by the others.
One dancer is raised up by the others.

The dancers exit the stage by struggling up two sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
The dancers finally exit the stage, struggling up sets of stairs at Hazard Center.

They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.

The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.

This performance is over.
This performance is over.

The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.

What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie as the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie at the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.

The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.

The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.

Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dance stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dances stage.

This is as far down the path the audience would venture.
That is as far down the path the audience would venture.

Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather--in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather and take shelter–in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Trolley Dances at the downtown Central Library!

This year, Trolley Dances includes several performances inside the San Diego Central Library!
This year, Trolley Dances includes several performances at San Diego’s downtown Central Library!

Trolley Dances in 2017 is as cool as ever!

Trolley Dances is an annual event in San Diego that uses unusual public spaces as settings for dance. The inspired, provocative performances are produced and choreographed by the San Diego Dance Theater.

Buy a ticket for this year’s event and you’ll be led on an adventure for mind, body and spirit. Mobile audiences, following Trolley Dances group leaders, disembark the San Diego Trolley’s Blue Line at various stops to view performances from Chula Vista to downtown San Diego.

Trolley Dances runs for only two weekends. It’s a brilliant concept that’s a lot of fun and full of surprises.

A few of the performances this year take place at San Diego’s downtown Central Library. I took some quick photos so that you can get a taste of what you will experience!

A mobile audience has arrived on foot from a nearby trolley station. They are led into downtown San Diego's dynamic public library to enjoy fantastic dance performances!
A mobile audience has arrived on foot from a nearby trolley station. They are led into downtown San Diego’s dynamic public library to enjoy fantastic dance performances!

The dances all contain raw organic energy and beautifully expressed emotion.
The dances all contain raw organic energy and beautifully expressed emotion.

The dancers use the Central Library's public entrance as an unusual stage during Trolley Dances. In another very dramatic dance, which I didn't photograph, the escalators were used to great effect.
The dancers use the Central Library’s public entrance as an unusual stage during Trolley Dances. In another superb dance, which I didn’t photograph, the nearby escalators were used to produce an outstanding dramatic effect.

Outside the library, in the courtyard, the audience now watches dancers framed in glass windows!
Outside the library, in the courtyard, the audience now watches dancers framed in glass windows!

The dancers come outside and engage the audience.
The dancers come outside and engage the audience.

Grace and power.
Grace and power.

A day enjoying the Trolley Dances is a great adventure for mind, body and spirit!
A day enjoying the Trolley Dances makes for a great adventure!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fun photos of Trolley Dances at Fault Line Park!

A fun performance at Fault Line Park in San Diego's East Village during 2016 Trolley Dances!
An imaginative performance at Fault Line Park in San Diego’s East Village during the 2016 Trolley Dances!

Check out these fun photos! They show the energy audiences will experience when they venture downtown to watch the Trolley Dances this year!

The Trolley Dances is all about contemporary dance in surprising public places. This year the Trolley Dances, a collaboration between the San Diego Dance Theater and our Metropolitan Transit System, begins with a performance in Barrio Logan. Mobile audiences, following guides, then make their way by trolley and foot to a variety of unusual downtown locations, where dancers appear like magic and perform. The unique experience lasts about two and a half hours and comes to a conclusion at the relatively new Fault Line Park in East Village. That’s where I snapped a few pics of the final two dances.

I’ll try not to give away too much. Let your imagination go to town–or better yet, buy a ticket. The 2016 Trolley Dances takes places this weekend and next!

A mobile audience arrives at San Diego's Fault Line Park. The park will be the setting of two energetic dances.
A mobile audience arrives at San Diego’s Fault Line Park. The park will be the setting of two energetic dances.

The audience takes a seat. Is something behind that wall?
The audience takes a seat. Is something behind that wall?

Yes, indeed! These dancers seem to have paddled in to shore!
Yes, indeed! These suddenly rising dancers seem to have paddled in to shore!

Perhaps it is an invasion!
Perhaps it’s an invasion!

Dancing on boulders at Fault Line Park! Flight of the Valkyries plays!
Dancing on boulders at Fault Line Park! Flight of the Valkyries plays!

An imaginative work of modern dance at the 2016 Trolley Dances in San Diego.
A unique work of modern dance at the 2016 Trolley Dances in San Diego.

The dancers approach the audience as if rowing a Viking longship...
The dancers approach the audience as if rowing a Viking longship . . .

They have conquered!
They have conquered!

Meanwhile, out on the nearby grass, not far from some folks practicing football, I spot a circle of baseball players...
Meanwhile, out on the nearby grass, not far from some people practicing football skills, I spot a circle of baseball players . . .

These baseball players are also dancers!
These baseball players also happen to be dancers!

Just like professional baseball players, each dancer is introduced by name to the Trolley Dances audience.
Just like professional baseball players, each performer is introduced by name to the Trolley Dances audience.

And a wonderful dance commences...
And a joyful dance commences . . .

Just a lot of fun.
Just a lot of fun.

Dancers rest for a few minutes and await the next mobile audience to arrive at Fault Line Park during the 2016 Trolley Dances.
Dancers rest for a few minutes. They await the next mobile audience that will arrive at Fault Line Park during the 2016 Trolley Dances.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

If you’d like to read a few short stories I’ve written, please visit Short Stories by Richard.

Fun photos of Trolley Dances in water fountain!

Dancers in the fountain at San Diego's Waterfront Park reach skyward during the Trolley Dances.
Dancers in the fountain at San Diego’s Waterfront Park reach skyward during the Trolley Dances.

This morning I caught the very first performance of the Trolley Dances. The venue for the first stage of the Trolley Dances in 2015 is the County Administration Center Waterfront Park–to be exact, the long fountain on the north side of the County Administration Building.

When I arrived, a group of dancers was rehearsing and a videographer was setting up near the end of the fountain where the audience would watch. After a few minutes, the first mobile audience arrived, and I enjoyed a cool performance. And I mean cool. It was a water dance! On a very warm and muggy morning, I wouldn’t have minded rolling through and leaping about the refreshing water, either! But, alas, nobody who is sane would pay even a nickel to watch me dance.

The Trolley Dances is a unique tradition in San Diego. Put on by the San Diego Dance Theater, the outdoor performances occur in often surprising public places.  Those who watch get started every 45 minutes, traveling from one site to the next on foot and by public transit. This year, groups travel from the Waterfront Park to Balboa Park, taking one of the new MTS Rapid buses from Santa Fe Depot.

Anyone in San Diego who loves dance must check out the Trolley Dances. Performances continue throughout the day on Saturdays and Sundays, September 26 – 27 and October 3 – 4. More info can be found on their website.

Rehearsing and getting the video camera ready before the first Trolley Dances mobile audience arrives at 10 o'clock.
Rehearsing and getting the video camera ready before the first Trolley Dances mobile audience arrives at 10 o’clock.

A beautiful venue for a dance. Palm trees along the Embarcadero and San Diego Bay provide a perfect stage.
A beautiful venue for a dance. Palm trees along the Embarcadero and San Diego Bay provide a perfect stage.

Dancers rehearse the very beginning of the performance, which involves rolling out through the shallow fountain.
Dancers rehearse the very beginning of the performance, which involves rolling out through the shallow fountain.

They're rolling! During the summer, many tourists and visitors love running through the water. On such a warm morning, I almost jumped in myself!
They’re rolling! During the summer, many tourists and visitors love running through the water. On such a warm morning, I almost jumped in myself!

This nice lady saw my camera and provided a super smile!
This nice lady saw my camera and provided a super smile!

Stephan Koplowitz, an award-winning director and choreographer provides the dancers with some final advice before the first audience arrives.
Stephan Koplowitz, an award-winning director and choreographer provides the dancers with some final advice before the first audience arrives.

And here they come! Guides with Trolley Dances signs lead the way to the first unusual outdoor dance site.
And here they come! Guides with Trolley Dances signs lead the way to the first unusual outdoor dance site.

The dancers are lying in the water as everyone trickles in and finds a place to sit or stand.
The dancers are lying in the water as everyone trickles in and finds a place to sit or stand.

The first audience is ready! Here we go!
The first audience is ready! Here we go!

Slowly rolling...
Slowly rolling…

OH, NO!!! A child playing in the park nearby is heading out to join the dancers! Horrors!
OH, NO!!! A child playing in the park nearby is heading out to join the dancers! Horrors!

The young child is intercepted. I'm sorry, but this to me was the highlight of the performance!
The young child is intercepted. I’m sorry, but this to me was the highlight of the performance!

The dancers rise up as individuals, like living things emerging from primordial waters.
The dancers rise up as individuals, like living things emerging from primordial waters.

Some still lay flat on their backs, moving their feet as if coming to life. The dance was very organic, and very watery!
Some still lay flat on their backs, moving their feet as if coming to life. The dance was very organic, and very watery!

Rising up from the liquid into freedom and boundless space.
Rising up from the liquid into freedom and boundless space.

The free form dance was a very cool spectacle that everyone should enjoy.
The free form dance was a very cool spectacle that everyone should enjoy.

Now the dancers rise in unison, plunging forward, swirling, alive!
Now the dancers rise in unison, plunging forward, swirling, alive!

Dancers from San Diego Dance Theater provide wonderful entertainment on a sunny weekend day!
Dancers from San Diego Dance Theater provide wonderful entertainment on a sunny weekend day!

Clusters of dancers merge, writhe, change shape, like strange newborn beings experiencing life for the first time.
Clusters of dancers merge, writhe, change shape, like strange newborn beings experiencing life for the first time.

This artistic group seemed to be evolving, ascending into the world.
This artistic group seemed to be evolving, ascending into the world.

Flying skyward through the fountain!
Flying skyward through the fountain!

More beauty and mystery, as the dancers slowly spread south, away from the seated audience.
More beauty and mystery, as the dancers slowly spread south, away from the seated audience.

Another dynamic photo.
Another dynamic photo.

The dancers are now clearly moving away from the audience, pushing out into the broader world, over this bridge.
The dancers are now clearly moving away from the audience, pushing out into the broader world, over this bridge.

It is a shining, watery path that passes through many splashing fountains.
It is a shining, watery path that passes through many splashing fountains.

Moving outward, away, slowly, with poise.
Moving outward, away, slowly, with poise.

Beyond white curtains of water, away, into the unknown future...
Beyond white curtains of water, away, into the unknown future…

And the stunning performance is over. The dancers paused and bowed, as the mobile audience drew up beside them and applauded.
And the stunning performance is over. The dancers paused and bowed, as the mobile audience drew up beside them and applauded.

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Trolley Dances on San Diego City College steps.

San Diego Dance Theater performs Trolley Dances at City College.
San Diego Dance Theater performs Trolley Dances at City College.

The Trolley Dances, a unique event put on by the San Diego Dance Theater, is being held this year at downtown’s City College. I live a short walk away, so I figured I’d head that way this morning before it became too hot. (We’re experiencing mild but very toasty Santa Ana weather here in Southern California.) I thought that perhaps I could snap a few pics as a casual bystander.

The Trolley Dances involves a mobile audience, which walks from venue to venue. The dances are staged in some of the most unexpected public places. Every year the locations change.

I was successful! These photos are of the third “stage” of the 2014 Trolley Dances…

One unusual venue, at bottom of steps on the campus of San Diego City College.
One unusual venue, at bottom of steps on the campus of San Diego City College.

Here come people who are enjoying a variety of surprising performances.
Here come people who are enjoying a variety of surprising performances.

Audience gets ready to watch the third dance of the 2014 Trolley Dances.
Audience gets ready to watch the third dance of the 2014 Trolley Dances.

Dancers in flowing blue appear at the top of the broad steps!
Dancers in flowing blue appear at the top of the broad steps!

Graceful dancers descend the high stairs in a grand entrance!
Graceful dancers descend the high stairs in a grand entrance!

The free form dance twirls and floats before the eyes of onlookers.
The free form dance twirls and floats before the eyes of onlookers.

Rhythmic energy fills the unusual stage on a sunny, quite warm day.
Rhythmic energy fills the unusual stage on a sunny, quite warm day.

Dancers perform many athletic, amazing moves.
Dancers perform many athletic, amazing moves.

Beautiful dance delights a host of San Diegans.
Beautiful dance delights a host of San Diegans.

This performance was a carefree, joyful, very cool sight to behold!
This performance was a carefree, joyful, very cool sight to behold!

The dancers return to the stairs for a final few moments.
The dancers return to the stairs for a final few moments.

The dancers retreat to prepare for the next group in a few minutes.
The dancers retreat to prepare for the next group in a few minutes.

This Trolley Dances group heads off to the next surprising location!
This Trolley Dances group heads off to the next surprising location!

The Trolley Dances is a cool, very unique tradition in San Diego!
The Trolley Dances is a cool, very unique tradition in San Diego!

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