Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trolley Dances 2008

The Fifth Annual San Francisco Trolley Dances leapt, flew, hip-hopped, rolled, cartwheeled, back-flipped, sung and strummed into action this morning all around the T-line near Mission Bay.

By mid-afternoon, hundreds of people had ridden Muni trains for a tour of street performances of dance and music that reflected a variety of cultures and styles.

The pieces were designed to fit in with the physical and cultural environment of the dance sites. Starting at Mission Creek, this quiet, conservation area, a haven for wild birds, was suddenly accommodating quite a different species!

As people were booking in, Tiger Hip Hop were giving a fluent and energetic display. Their young choreographer, Philein Wang, is striving to blend dance of different cultures to help bring harmony among immigrants.

Using a blend of Shaolin Style
Tiger Claw, ballet, Tai Chi, modern dance and hip hop she is drawing from the continents of Asia, Europe, Africa and America.

Philein, whose Chinese name Zi-ru means 'freely, smoothly and with facility', is a Chinese-American dancer, musician and poet who trained with the Beijing Ballet Company and has been a soloist in several companies.

"Because I divide my time between

America and China, and as I understand my roots and where my parents and ancestors were from, I really wanted to create a style which encapsulated a culture from which I originated, and I wanted to do it in such a way that it wouldn't just appeal to people in fine arts but to teenagers and minorities,' she said.

'I wanted to potentially be like a light-post for somebody trying to feel their way.'

Her troupe includes Brendan, Derek and Meegan, with Simon on percussion, who were well appreciated by a growing audience.

'Seeing as my dance company is new to town, it's been a great experience. It's also very refreshing to perform outside,' said Philein.

At the end of their display, the tour started with a short stroll up the creek to where the next dance group were ready to perform.

The event is organized by Kim Epifano's Epiphany Productions Sonic Dance Theater in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and supported by the city's MUNI train service.

Kim, Artistic Director and Project Coordinator, said in a press release, 'We feel fortunate that we have been able to create this free city-wide spectacle for five years now. The magical way that it brings communities together and becomes the genesis for such amazing art - it's such an indulgence in all the good and surprising things our city can be.'

Mid-afternoon Randy Symank, the Administrative Director of Trolley Dances 2008 Production Team, was helping at the booking-in table outside Mission Bay Branch Library.

'It's gone very well,' he said 'There's been no major hang-ups or disasters!'

He said the numbers of people per train were 70 but the performances had a larger audience. 'The neat thing about this whole event is that random people will walk up and start watching.'

The tours last for 90 minutes each and will start tomorrow, as today, at 11 am. Tours will run every 45 mins with the last one leaving at 2.45 pm. All performances are free and need only a city transport Fast Pass or train fare of $1.50.

But organizers warn that there are a limited number of places per tour, and these are given out at the booking desk on a first come first served basis. However, this year there are also bike maps being given out. The distance between Mission Creek and Bayview Hunters Point, the furthest point, is about three miles.

A full report will be posted tomorrow.
For more pics click here

Pics show: Brendan and Derek; Philein and Meegan; Tiger Hip Hop on Mission Creek; queuing at the booking-in table outside Mission Bay Branch Library

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