Next, we’d like to welcome Dr. grace shinhae jun to the Trolley Dances 2014 line up of choreographers. grace has been a part of the San Diego City College dance faculty and Trolley Dances community for many years. She was both a choreographer and performer in Trolley Dances 2001 and 2004, and was a dancer for Victoria Marks in 2003 and Wendy Rogers in 2005. grace always contributes a mindful, socially conscious perspective that is amplified by her collaborators, spoken word poet Ant Black, and musicians Jesse Mills and DJ Shammy Dee. We are grateful to have her involved and glad she could share a bit about her work.
How/why did you pick your site for Trolley Dances?
My site was in part a suggestion from Jean Isaacs to choreograph in Market Creek Plaza. With the nature of my work that layers hip hop and modern dance with spoken word and live music, I decided to create in the amphitheater both for the amount of space it provides and the way the space creates an inherent framing.
How has the site/cast helped to shape the dance? Can you please include a little bit about the concept for the work.
While the physical space of the amphitheater has shaped the structure of the dance, its location in Southeast San Diego also has brought up particular themes. I have also been thinking about the imagery of water or lack of water in the creek and the current drought we are experiencing. I have an amazing cast that brings many talents and brings my creative process to life. I am humbled by the dancers’ commitment, work ethic, and flexibility and I am informed by the character and experience of each one of them. They have been incredibly generous with one another and their contributions are paramount. My collaboration with Jesse Mills and DJ Shammy Dee has provided an original sound score as the baseline for the movement and poetry. Working with spoken word poet Ant Black always brings a profound articulation that connects seemingly disparate themes. His phrasing and crafting of images hit you head on, educate you, incite you to action, and then sit with you for a long time.
How is this experience with TD different than previous experiences?
This is the first year that I am involved and not performing. I have the privilege of standing outside the work and not having to think about my own performance. There is a lot going on in the U.S. that is relevant to Southeast San Diego and African American community, and I find that I’m more able now to weave in themes from my graduate study, artistic experience, and social justice struggles that are front and center in the public eye.
What would you like the audience to know about your piece, and attending Trolley Dances?
I encourage the audience to see, hear, and feel the spaces in between. Trolley Dances brings a fresh perspective to highly-used spaces that begins to re-imagine how we are connected with each other. How can we take the same approach to all spaces to create strong communities for everyone? I am extremely honored to be a part of Jean’s vision, an important tradition that brings visibility to dance and awareness to how we are linked to different parts of the city.
Thank you for bringing your thoughtful perspective to this year’s Trolley Dances, grace!Trolley Dances opens next weekend! Get your tickets and share in this amazing community event! http://sandiegodancetheater.org/trolleydances2014.html Photos from top to bottom: **grace in Wendy Rogers’ Trolley Dance 2005, photo by Manny Rotenberg ** grace’s company, bkSoul performing Hip-Hop Saved My Life, photo by Manny Rotenberg ** grace’s Trolley Dances 2014 cast rehearsing on site