We’ve gone one last dancer story to share with you for Trolley Dances 2016: newbie Britney Castro has some great insight as to what it is like to take dance training out of the studio and into the wild that is site-specific dancing.
I have been dancing for about 25 years. I grew up in a farm-town in Northern California with a population of 4,000 people. That school didn’t offer much in terms of classical technique but gave me the opportunity to perform many times a year until I moved to a larger city. In high school I moved to a bigger town and joined a competitive hip-hop and contemporary company. After high school, I moved to San Diego and was introduced to the wonderful world of dance technique at San Diego Mesa College. I studied ballet, contemporary jazz, modern, tap, and hip hop under Jan Ellis, Donna Flournoy, Alauni Chun, Faith Jensen-Ismay and Melissa Adao. It was here that I learned my body as an instrument and decided to make dance a career. Next, I attended San Diego State University and earned my BFA in Dance. I studied ballet, improvisation, modern, dance-making, somatic practices and contact improvisation with Kathryn Irie, Jess Humphrey, Leslie Seiters, and Joseph Alter. I am now a collage of these different techniques, styles and perceptions as I enter the professional dance world.
This is my first time participating in Trolley Dances. I have been inspired to participate in this event since I first relocated to San Diego. The choreographers that participate in this event are all artists whom I hope to work with one day. There is so much that unfolds when choreographers are presented with some obstacles or boundaries to create within. The blank canvas of a stage is wonderful but the combination of dance and nature/architecture/everyday public life is both interesting and breathtaking.
Trolley Dances is different from other projects in many ways. Performing on obstacles, rehearsing in front of the public, dancing in boots on concrete/rocks/grass, rehearsing in the sun, performing many shows in one day- the list goes on and on. This is such a unique experience and even when things are more difficult or dangerous than they would be in the dance studio, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
While I am excited about the whole Trolley Dances experience, I am most excited to represent Jean Isaacs’ work. It has been a dream of mine to work with Jean since I saw her production of “Rhapsody in Blue” my first year in San Diego. I am dancing in her piece located at Fault Line Park. We are performing a comedic dance based on the idea of rowing a Viking ship through the park in downtown San Diego. Our site is full of fun obstacles that create interesting spatial dynamic. We get to play with the audience’s perception by dancing behind walls and on giant boulders. Creating this piece has been a really fun experience.
The first day we rehearsed on-site, we marked everything out and set our positions. As we were doing our first run-through, suddenly I realized, “wow this sun is hot.” Next I realized that I needed to jump over a wall, then onto a giant boulder. THEN I had to run to the other side of the grass, and then jump over a wall again! At this moment, I realized just how physically demanding this dance was going to be. Rather than dancing around a shaded level studio, we now had all of these obstacles that we not only needed to get over and around, but also needed to do so in an artistic manner. I felt like I was doing the gymnastics vault and few times in between performing my dance phrases. This was a wake-up call in the amount of stamina, endurance and dedication this performance was going to require. I was scared, and then empowered and now remain inspired to challenge myself in this hot and dirty new environment.
Trolley Dances 2016 begins this weekend and runs through October 2nd. Get your tickets and see what all the fun is about!