October 18, 2009
On the J-Church
The San Francisco Muni system takes the car traveler or the BART
passenger places usually unknown and unseen. Such was the case this
past weekend as Kim Epifano once again staged “Trolley Dances” for the community. The
event, the 6th Annual, is truly an event for all people and many
For the East Bay stranger, the J-Church trolley is like awaiting the
Flying Dutchman (of the Wagner opera fame). It will appear, once in a
while. But it was the J-Church trolley that transported the eager group
to the sites of seven performances enroute. Most everyone got to all
the events: this reviewer missed one (Tina Bacero/Ramon Ramos Alayo’s
Tango)’cause things sometimes just don’t work on the J-Church.
Starting in Dolores Park, we saw a delightful Mexican “Fandango
Veracruzano” at the foot of the stature of M. Hildago, a Mexican hero.
Rosamaria Garcia and Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos Jr danced the lively foot
tapping number. At the pedestrian bridge near 19th and Church, Deborah
Slater’s Dance Theater presented “Men Think They Are Better Than
Grass-Study, ” #4 with additional performers from the Spindrift School
of Performing Arts and Oceanna High School. We will have to wait for
the Spring, 2010 premiere of this work to get it all, but there were
notable performance by Travis Rowland, Natalie Greene, Wendy Rein,
Breton Tyner-Bryan and Shaunna Vella. We needed to see more of the
younger group, but their work was out of viewing range down some steps.
The bridge made an excellent frame for the dancer’s arched postures and
At the famous gold hydrant at 20th and Church, (the one that saved the
Mission District in 1906 when others could deliver water,) Antoine
Hunter ran the hill, jumped and entertained to Epifano’s choreography.
It made a delightful interlude while waiting (again) for the J-Church
When we finally arrived at Balboa Park (end of the line) the Deep
Waters Dance Theater was sitting on the fence to welcome the
passengers. They are a very cheery group, greeting, running in
formations, offering hip-hop and other line dance variations and
generally making everyone feel welcome.
It was Balboa Park’s own High School Musical in the open air. Their
bright leggings and purple top hats showed us that they are top-notch
The next dance treat was on the Blue Ramp in front on the Balboa Pool,
where Kathleen Hermsdorf and Kim Epifano, sophisticated, sassy
performers that they are, gave us a playful romp, entitled “Blue Ramp.”
The two ran, fell over fences, beat on doors, swung from bars and then
invited the group to follow them to the pool’s doors waving a bucket of
water. One guy got it.
The big treat of the day was synchronized swimming offered by the SF
Merionnettes, a young person’s swim club at the Pool. There was a solo
by Mitou Nguyen, complete with arched circles and leg kicks followed by
a septet of swimmers in Superman suits who made some gorgeous
formations, complete with ballet legs, s kicks and arm patterns. A
Epifano Productions deserves kudos for this innovative event. Each
year, Kim has offered something new along unusual pathways featuring
groups that need to be introduced to the community. For the audience’s
comfort however, in the future, Kim, please avoid the J-Church line and
have one of the great cafés along the way serve hot coffee as the San
Francisco fog and rain remind us that only in San Francisco do we
accomplish such wonders.