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Trolley Dances Script

Opening montage and title



Oh god…What’s a Trolley Dance?


Have you ever heard anything about the Trolley Dances?

Man 1

No, I haven’t.

Woman 1

Yeah, I loved it. I was actually coming home from work, and I stopped to look at it.

Woman 2

I opened up my door and walked out on to my balcony, and saw that there was a group of folks downstairs. And I went to investigate, and there were a bunch of lovely dancers. …

Paul Jablonski, CEO

Metropolitan Transit System

Trolley Dances is a unique experience. It’s an experience where we bring art together with public transportation.

Dancers with Trolley

These dances they draw attention.

Paul Jablonski, CEO

Metropolitan Transit System

They bring people. They see these connections. That’s what it’s about.

Trolley Dances Tour Guide and crowd.

It’s the biggest tour of the day. The first tour was packed. So we’re going to head down that way. And we’ll make it fun for you. You guys can come up here.

“Imagine a Mexican Restaurant” performance


Tour Guide

You guys are great. Right on. We’re gonna go right across the street, and we’re gonna get the next trolley, and we’re gonna go one stop that way.

Title Card: Six Months Earlier…. Looking for Sites

What’s going on? Let’s get you guys some good, good news.

Jean Isaacs

We’re with San Diego Dance Theater, and we do Trolley Dances. Have you ever heard of that?

Property owner


Jean Isaacs

We go out on the trolley line every year with MTS. We work with MTS.


And dance on the trolley?

Jean Isaacs

Yeah, about 50 people.

Sharon Hancock

Well we take the audience on the trolley. So the dance and the dancers stay at the site. We love this site.

Jean Isaacs

We do 6 different sites, and they’ve picked out---we’ve picked out --- East Village this year to do.

Sharon Hancock

And then we bring the audience on the trolley to the site

Jean Isaacs


Sharon Hancock

I’m in love with him.

Jean Isaacs

No the house, the house. My guess is the outside is the real deal.

Attack of the Swiss Gardeners (preview)


That was a wonderful site I thought, in terms of putting people in gardening clothes.

Sharon Hancock

You know what I’m thinking? Sorry I’m cutting you off go ahead.

John Diaz

Oh no, no. (Laughs) What do you think?

Sharon Hancock

The Santa Fe Depot.

John Diaz

Yes, yes.

Santa Fe Depot

JD: It’s enjoyable getting really messed up. Like really confused about what we’re doing.

Concourse Dance (preview)

It’s just trying to figure out what the logic is for it, because there is some strange logic to it, but it’s not really evident. I don’t think. (Laughs)

Sharon Hancock

When you said a little space between two buildings…

Randé Dorn

I’m excited to see the space. I don’t do site specific very often.

Sharon Hancock

We’re doing the Trolley Dances. I’m with the Trolley Dances, and I wonder if you could just let us in, I have a choreographer here from LA.

Randé Dorn

…Oh just open the door for a moment….


Open door?

Randé Dorn

Yeah. Thank you.

Sharon Hancock

That one. ‘Cause when you said depth….

Randé Dorn


Sharon Hancock

Maybe it’s too big.

Randé Dorn

It’s moody

To Start Again (preview)

This is more of what I’m looking for, I think.

To Start Again (preview)

SH: More contained space.

Randé Dorn

One of my first things like as a choreographer is that, oh, I have an idea and this is kind of the energy or the song that I’m interested in working with and then these are the or dancers that I think would give me that energy, give me what you know what I’m looking for and then I look to them.

Jordan Szabal

For us performing we’ve really found you have to find the layers in the piece; it isn’t really… we’re trying to keep the intensity high in this tattered relationship intensity there as well; but for the sake of your own bodies we have to find different moments in it.

Randé Dorn

It’s really standing there with Jordan and thinking what might be interesting on her body, and how far can I push her because we’ve known each other this long. And I’ve pushed her this far already, and I can push her a little bit further; or I can take her in a new direction; or we’ve done this solo and it’s looked like this before, so I want to do something that looks completely different now.

Jordan and Robby rehearse

And ultimately I’m asking them to be vulnerable in front of like a 100 people,

Randé Dorn

and I’m asking them to trust me and I have to earn that.

Robby Johnson

Actually one of the things that’s really interesting which I like about working with her is, as a choreographer, she actually comes in with the choreography. But truthfully, there are I wouldn’t say there were things I couldn’t accomplish or whatever may be, but I would say for sure that there might have been some limitations within my body and just some certain movement. And it’s not that I can’t do it, it’s just something that I’m not familiar with, or something I’m not used to doing, and it’s sometimes just nice to go into the space and the choreographer says “okay, you are my playdough, do what I say” and you’re just like “ok, not a problem.”

Randé Dorn

Dance is worth giving your all for. Dance is worth not making any money for. It’s like you know—to me, that‘s when you --–– that sense of exhaustion… it’s a sense of freedom.

To Start Again performance



Woman 3

People get a big smile on their face when they say, “I’ve danced in Trolley Dances.” It’s just whimsical, and there’s really nothing like it.

Woman 4

I think it’s really cool that it’s public art that a lot of people can just go see.

Woman 5

Some people are just walking by and taking the trolley or something, and they see something, then they see something going on so

Title: Auditions

they try to figure out what it is.

Dancing for audition


So this is the list of people that are auditioning, John. 53 people. Wow.

Jean Isaacs at audition

The concept is to make pieces that are specific

Montage East Village

to the environment that we go into. It’s East Village. We don’t bring preset pieces and impose them on the space. That’s not the idea.

Male dancer at audition

I think we’re gonna be able to tell you guys today

Jean Isaacs at audition

who you get to work with, if you get to work with us.

Dancers at audition


John Diaz working with dancers at the audition.

Just mark it with the music. Not exactly counted to the music, but just fell with it. 6, 7, going up, up. And no. Wow. Nice.

Renae Tynes auditions

The audition was very nerve wracking. I was very nervous.

Renae Tynes interview

I’m actually 36 years and I have 5 children.

Renae Tynes auditions

I was able to at least get through it and complete the movement. I wasn’t sure that I got it.

Renae Tynes auditions

(John Diaz)

Meet with me number 4

John Diaz

number 12,

Dancer 54 looks at her number

18, 22,

Another dancer

29, 32, 36

Renae Tynes interview

When I finally heard my number called, I was just like “no way. “ This is great so

Audience walks to site

I was really excited.

Attack of the Swiss Gardeners performance



That was choreographed by Jean Isaacs.

That’s the thing it takes you to places where you wouldn’t normally go.

Like this area here is really nice

Title: Rehearsals

People always say I didn’t even know this existed.

John Diaz Concourse rehearsal

What I’m mainly looking for is how comfortable the dancers are. And I can see sometimes that some of the dancers are like “what are we doing?”

John Diaz Concourse rehearsal

And then let it spiral back on to a twist.

John Diaz interview

Everything is valid as dance. All the movement is dance.

Concourse rehearsal

everything. I trust my eye. If I see something and I know what’s coming next

John Diaz Concourse rehearsal

then I’m not interested. And a lot of these people that I looked at and chose

Concourse rehearsal

They showed me something that my eye was not expecting.

Martha Aguiniga interview

John is amazing. He’s a very insightful choreographer. I have had the best experience working with him. He’s very organic and he lets us work with our own creative process. He doesn’t impose.

Jean Isaacs Gardeners rehearsal

3 and 4 and 4 and 6 and 7 and 8 and 8.

Jesus Ponce dances at rehearsal

(Subtitle) I have to come from Tijuana, so it takes 2 hours to cross, but we’re here all the time.

Jean Isaacs Gardeners rehearsal

Where’s my whip?

Jesus Ponce interview

(Subtitle) Coming from Mexico it feels like gardeners who who work hard everyday, with sweat on their brows, praying to God that it goes well.

Yolande Snaith at Green Bottles rehearsal

I don’t care how long it takes for right now, I want you to play out the kind of tension, well a lot of this is Carrie really. When you’ve moved him. You move him you see where he goes. It can be quite sort of menacing. Almost like right, “What am I gonna do now?”

-Ok- (Carrie)

So do that when he’s kind of kneeling. For right now you could totally exaggerate the whole sort of dramatic tension. Try just letting him drip down almost for the first one.

Tour Guide

Everyone off? Alright, going that way. We’re actually going to head down and try and catch up with our other groups.

Untitled 10:07:07 performance

Kyle Abraham


The truest sense of performing comes when you can show yourself. I don’t have to dance like a Ken doll to be a man. And I don’t have to dance like I’m in a Madonna video to exude femininity.


Kyle Abraham all the way from New York.


Kyle Abraham: I thought it would be interesting to bring a body of work that

Kyle Abraham interview

has a sense of sexuality and a sense of racial identity to it, but still is a very interesting character study. I think each selection even though, I kept switching this solos into a bunch of different variations, each one is still very apparent as an individual voice of a black American choreographer, which I think is very important in terms of the venue that has been selected of

Lillian Place

Lillian Place.

Nancy Graham

The Trolley Dances really offers an opportunity for people to see a downtown San Diego, they may not know exists. It was particularly exciting to have some of the dances take place at Lillian Place because Lillian Place is very special place in the history of San Diego. There is a very significant African-American cultural history

Man in front of mural wall

right in this location.

Mural wall

I just thought I’d give you a chance to read some of the public art piece.

Close up mural

Two different artists ––the woman who did the sculpting and then

Audiences leaves Lillian Place

the person who wrote all the words.

Boarding the trolley

So where we gonna go?

1 American Plaza.

This is gonna be a good one.

Oh yeah. John Diaz.

At the museum.

Yeah by the Richard Serra pieces.

Concourse Dance performance


Ten Green Bottles Standing on the Bar performance


Man 2

I thought it was a statement of life from birth to death.

Woman 6

I thought it was a statement about competition in business. Because it was in the factory. And so I saw people competing and racing around the table trying to get ahead of each other. Hiding the bottles from each other.

Woman 7

The choreography on the one with the bottles ––kept me on the tip of my toes. (Laughs)

Closing and Credits

When you are in a work situation day after day, and you come down and experience something like this, it awakened some internal creativity that I have tucked away for a long time. And it was really inspirational.


   Copyright © 2005 Mark Freeman. All Rights Reserved.