Trolley takes dynamic dances to the streets

Marissa Bostick | ASST. A&E EDITOR

Oct. 30, 2014

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Lovely leaps, flexed feet and a train station.

P.L.A.C.E. (Possibility Location Artistry Collaboration Evolving) performance along with Riverside City College’s dance department put on the third annual Trolley Dances
Riverside.

This year’s Trolley Dances route took patrons along the 15’s westbound bus route throughout the La Sierra area Oct. 18. Trolley Dances Riverside’s appeal is partly in its name, a trolley takes you from one site to another to see site specific works. The second appeal to Trolley Dances is that each work is choreographed to its
site.

This year’s locations were La Sierra High School, La Sierra Park, La Sierra Library, an empty lot and the La Sierra Metrolink Station.

Each location used the uniqueness of its environment from the circular buildings of La Sierra High School to the overhead walking path of the La Sierra Metrolink Station.
According to Kirsten Johansen, an RCC dance  instructor and choreographer  of one of the pieces, the  choreographers were shown  pictures of the locations and
then they shaped their dances from there.

La Sierra High School was the first host of the event, its dance team chose to use its school as the site. The majority of their piece titled “Shift” was done in canon, meaning one movement started the phrase and then a count or two after someone else did the same thing.

Although many of the movements were slow and most of the transitions were runs it did not take away from the overall performance quality, even when moving between columns.

The second performance was a duet by dancers Tiffany Cole and Anthony Jackson for Clifford J. Breland’s piece titled, “A Dance of Thanksgiving.” The contemporary piece echoed its musical accompaniment, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” sung by Tanya Blount and Lauryn Hill.

The piece used the trees of La Sierra Park to add certain tranquility to the already elegant movement. “A Dance of Thanksgiving” also featured flawless lifts that showcased the agility and strength of the dancers.

The third piece on the Trolley Dances schedule was a piece titled, “Omnibus.” The Hollee Cool choreographed number lived up to its name, as it contained a series of mini Broadway style performances all stacked together.

What truly made this dance memorable was as the dancers began to dance on tables inside the library a random library patron refused to leave her seat.

The fourth stop on the Trolley Dances excursion was an unlikely stop, an empty lot. This lot was the home of Kirsten Johansen’s piece, “Sanctuary.” The piece earned
its name from a conversation with Patrick Doran-Sheeran, who is also a friend of Johansen.

As the two of them discussed titles he quoted a line from “Logan’s Run,” saying, “There is no sanctuary.” which later got shortened to just sanctuary.

The inspiration for the piece came from not only the site but also movies like “Six String Samurai” and “Mad Max” along with dystopia and decay according to Johansen.

The costumes of the dancers reverberated the inspiration as they wore camo print garments that were a bit tattered.

Johansen, a clear master of storytelling through movement, presented the audience with a piece that transported you into the story and left you captivated.

The added touch to her piece was the live music played by Patrick Doran-Sheeran. Johansen and Doran both felt that it made no sense for live musicians to be
hidden away. With that in mind Johansen incorporated Doran into the piece along with Gypsy, associate professor Mark Haines’ black Labrador retriever.

Johansen ended her piece on a slightly comical note, as the dancers lay on the ground Doran made his way across the lot stopping to steal dancer Megan
Fowler-Hurst’s boots and then leave the dismal scene.

The last stop for Trolley Dances Riverside was the La Sierra Metrolink Station.

The piece titled “NOT really A Love Dance” took advantage of all the space available, including the boarding area and the overhead walkway.

The Sadie Weinberg number in collaboration with her dancers told a story of love and heartbreak as it transitioned from the boarding area to the skyway and then back to the boarding area again.

One of the dancers in the ensemble attempted to serenade another member but it didn’t end well. After the crushing blow he joined the group as they started to dance to Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”

The audience-selected song was however was temporarily cut short as a train speeding by forced them to start over.

To involve the audience one more time in the piece, members of the ensemble broke off and asked members of the audience to dance.

Surprisingly enough many audience members joined in the festivities and asked others to dance also as per instruction from the ensemble.

Although the event was two hourlong, with so many wonderful performances it is no wonder the event seemed much shorter.

Trolley Dances Riverside may have only been around for three years however it has the makings  of being around a long time, and hopefully it does.

 

In the print version of this article it read, “associate professor Mark Harris’ ” when it should have read, “associate professor Mark Haines’ ”