For our first Trolley Dances choreographer blog, we are so excited to feature SDDT company dancer and first-time Trolley choreographer, Blythe Barton. Blythe has danced in five incredible Trolley Dances and has tons of experience as she dives into the world of site-specific dance. Read on as she shares insight on dancing and dance-making for this iconic San Diego Dance Theater event.
What inspired you to pick your site and what are the unique challenges?
I am intrigued with all of the new construction at San Diego City College. There are many levels to dance on: a far-away balcony, unusual staircases, high block steps, columns, and a large open area. With 10 dancers to spread out, the possibilities are endless.
As an experienced Trolley dancer, I am hyper aware of the many challenges that each site presents. As a first-time choreographer, I am taking the needs of the audience into consideration as well. In rehearsal, we are experimenting with dance in each of the different platform locations and deciding what it will look like from the audience perspective. Some of my ideas just don’t work the first time because of sunlight angles and shady spots.
What has been your favorite part of this Trolley Dances process so far?
The best part so far was the very first rehearsal in the studio, when I got a first look at my cast. I am working with several of these dancers for the very first time, so it is thrilling to see my choreography in new bodies. Another great moment was seeing the dance beginning to take shape on-site. Dancers running, turning, leaping, gliding all over the new concrete-scape of City College.
What is it like to be a first-time choreographer for Trolley Dances?
Exciting and nerve-racking. I have danced in many wonderful Trolley pieces over the years… in a nutshell I have been everything from a cowgirl to a French chef. Known for my ‘Big Moves,’ I wanted to find a site that I could really explore and fill vast space with dance. I am honored to be among the venerable dance makers that have presented in Trolley Dances!
What would you like the audience to know about your Trolley Dances piece?
I am working with themes of water. How does water drip over a space, flow smoothly, or rush with abandon…
Buy your Trolley Dances tickets, and see Blythe’s choreography in a new site-specific way! http://sandiegodancetheater.org/trolleydances2014.html* Top Photo: Blythe Barton Dance by Sue Brenner * Middle Photo: Trolley Dances Rehearsals with Blythe on-site * Bottom Photo: Trolley Dances 2011 by Manny Rotenberg