Thursday, October 28, 2010
"San Francisco Trolley Dances offers a mirthful ride"
Stephanie Wright Hession
Arts and Culture Writer
As Sara Shelton Mann choreographed a work in the San Francisco Botanical Garden, she didn't expect a troupe of boisterous squirrels to become her muses.
"When I went there to rehearse, there were these squirrels, so I named all of them Fred, and it's about Fred the squirrel," she says. "Through a process, I just built a lovely little piece that I hope people will enjoy, based around leaning and falling and running around and jumping into people's arms and the joy of being outside."
For it, the dancers will move to Norman Rutherford's aptly named score titled "Fred."
Part of the San Francisco Trolley Dances, an outdoor festival linking dance, public transit and the city's neighborhoods, it's one of several free (with purchase of Muni fare), site-specific performances by groups including Epiphany Productions, Ensohza Minyoshu, Joe Goode Performance Group, Christine Bonansea-2x3 Project and the Sunset Chinese Folk Dance Group.
Each embraces influences taken from the locations where the rides begin and end - the Harvey Milk Center for Recreational Arts, Duboce Park and the San Francisco Botanical Garden.
Kim Epifano, who produces and organizes the event through her Epiphany Productions, developed the idea for this unusual public fete after seeing the Jean Isaacs San Diego Dance Theater do the Trolley Dances down south.
During Epifano's mixed piece this year, more than a dozen dancers will take to the Great Meadow at the Botanical Garden, where Epifano tapped into historical, emotional and landscape aspects. She imagined sand dunes and horse-drawn carts, the loneliness of a person sitting on a bench seeking refuge or contemplating a situation and the nature of the garden.
"You really feel like you're out in nature in a wonderful way. I'm in that meadow with the beautiful cypress tree. One day it can be hot and sunny, then foggy and cold. How the weather is, changes the personality of the piece," she says. "The other fun thing is the animals, the wild Canadian geese and the red-shouldered hawk. I lived here for 25 years and I had never been to the botanical gardens."
11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Free with paid Muni fare. Tours leave from the Harvey Milk Center for Recreational Arts at Duboce Park (Scott Street at Duboce Avenue), S.F. www.epiphanydance.org.
Posted by Stephanie Wright Hession at 10:34:00 AM