Trolley Dances 2013: Dancer Interviews

Ever wonder what it is like to be a Trolley Dancer? Well, now is your chance to find out! We asked a few of the veteran Trolley Dancers (Jessica Curiel, Cecily Holcombe, Lavina Rich and Shannon Snyder) to tell us a little bit about their experiences over the years so that we could share that with the audience members that support them!

How many years have you done Trolley?

Jessica: I believe this will be my 12th Trolley performance… but who’s counting?
Cecily: I think I have done 9 or 10 of the 15!
Lavina: I honestly have lost track. I think this is my seventh Trolley experience…or eighth.
Shannon: This will be # 2!

When was your first time performing for Trolley Dances?

Jessica: My first Trolley performance was in 2000 when I was dancing with another local company and Trolley was a part of our performance season.trolley2012.5806.1
: I think my first time was in a parking garage South San Diego. I remember wearing white tuxedo jackets and performing the piece a crazy amount of times. This was before we had actual scheduled trolley tours. When they had a bunch of people at the first stop, they would send them off. So it’s not unreasonable to think we may have performed over ten times each day!
Lavina: My first trolley experience was in 2002 with bkSoul. Our site was the first stop on the La Mesa orange line- and we performed a hip hop piece. This was before all the kinks were really worked out…I think we literally performed 14 times in one day.
Shannon: 2012 was my first year. It was fun, exhausting, and exciting. This year I am excited to be dancing with SDDT and partnering with such amazing talented dancers.

What has been your favorite TD experience so far?


Lavina: My favorite, most memorable Trolley has been with Monica Bill Barnes, in the pool of an apartment complex. I was so excited to work with Monica again and then I found out we were going in the pool. I figured our first rehearsal was the right time to tell Monica that I’m deathly afraid of water. Needless to say- I had to get over that real quick. With the help of a great partner, I even ended up doing log rolls in the water! The dance ended up being so beautiful and I slightly overcame my fear of water.

 What has kept you interested in performing in Trolley over the years?


Jessica: I love site-specific work. Plus, my dancer friends and family won’t let me retire. I’ve tried to, but when it comes down to audition day and I reflect on how unique the experience is, I just say “Trolley Dances, I can’t quit you!”

What is the best part about being a Trolley Dances performer?

Cecily: I enjoy its unpredictability and I love bonding with the different casts. I also find that it is a performance that draws a more diverse audience- more families, and more people who don’t typically seek out modern dance performances.
Lavina: I love and am fascinated by site-specific work. I think it’s great that Trolley is one of the rare opportunities in San Diego in which art is accessible to an open community. I love how it’s always an adventure dealing with the elements of the environment- how that changes peoples way of movement (or doesn’t). And- my favorite part- is the people that you get to meet. I have gotten to know new dancers and gotten closer to friends because of the amount of time you end up spending together.

How do you feel Trolley Dances has impacted San Diego and the dance community here?

Jessica: Trolley Dances is huge in San Diego. People who don’t usually come to see dance during the year come to Trolley Dances. One reviewer wrote, “Trolley Dances is the Nutcracker of the summer.” Dancers and audience members agree that it is a marvelous way to see dance and the city, and there’s an educational component. Trolley Dances hosts over 450 students on the Kids on Board day and educates the kids with workshops prior to the tour. That is awesome!

What are the unique challenges/opportunities you’ve experienced as a Trolley Dancer?

Jessica: It is a different experience every year, but what stays the same are the puzzled faces of the innocent bystander who walk past a rehearsal on site! Some act like what they are seeing happens every day, some are completely thrown by the troupe of dancers moving in sync. I am never quite sure what we are doing, but I’d love to see more of it! I honestly believe that Trolley Dances is the original flash mob.trdn.1d4.1._9678.1
Cecily: When you are not in a theater, you have many unique challenges. You have to find power for your sound system. You will most likely deal with the site. You might have to deal with dog poop and sunburn. There are a ton of people who watch us rehearse and wonder what the heck we are doing. And it’s all worth it!
Lavina: Dealing with the elements is usually the hardest part of Trolley. Occasionally you may have the one ‘roadblock’ whether it is people who are confused by what you’re doing, dealing with permits, having to change sites last minute…but those obstacles are what make Trolley Dances so much fun!
Shannon: It is always a challenge to dance outside, with cement and uneven surfaces, but it is such a wonderful way to experience dance! Fast pickup of choreography and multiple performances per day can really take it out of you, but you make great connections with those that you are dancing with, that it is all worth it!

Thank you, brave dancers, for your service to Trolley Dances and for taking it on again this year! See them and many more perform on September 28th & 29th, October 5th & 6th.

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