Trolley Dances…Travel (and Dance) in your own backyard


Dance is the hidden language of the soul.’  ~Martha Graham

In its fourth year with the North Vancouver Community Arts Council (NVCAC), Trolley Dances kicks off the fall season on the North Shore under the leadership of Linda Feil, Executive Director.

The locations are always a mystery.  We’re not leading this four-stop samba.  Trolleys leave at noon and return within a four to five-hour time frame, all on board these San Francisco-style replica trolleys.P1000619

NVCAC volunteer and artist, Olivia Creighton, entertains our trolley riders with historical North Shore anecdotes.  From sports trivia on Harry Jerome, Elaine Tanner and Karen Magnussen to Burrard Inlet, Park Royal, Grand Boulevard, and Hollyburn Golf Club history.  Some commentary helps  us predict destination like an indoor pool most of us never knew existed.

  1. Jam Skating: Institute Park tennis courts

Choreographed footwork with rhythmic and free-flowing skating (Naomi Grigg and Chris Neima) along with freestyle skateboarding (Andy Anderson).  The trolley pulls alongside the tennis courts adjacent to Institute Park where we disembark to marvel at balance and dexterity on wheels.P1000623P1000628


  1. Circus West and the North Shore Chamber Orchestra: Collingwood School’s black box theatre

Under the direction of Charles Inkman, the North Shore Chamber Orchestra accompanies a Circus West dance duo who performs dance-gymnastics with grace, skill and strength; a juggler shows his mastery of one-to-five-balls and an aerial silks gymnast demonstrates her climbing and daring.


  1. Petie Chalifoux and Love Medicine & Four Fires Singers: Squamish Nation Lacrosse CourtP1000645P1000640P1000643P1000638

Petie introduces us to her regalia:  the pink, red, green and blue of her outfit all signify a family connection.  She is a hoop-dancing champion, one of only thirty women in Canada to perform this form of traditional story-telling. She optimizes five hoops (some dancers perform with up to fifty hoops).

‘Less is more,’ says Petie, as she dazzles the audience with her hoop manipulation.

The drums keep time to the human and Earth beat in synch with dancer and vocals.


  1. Vancouver Pacific Wave Synchronized Swim Club:  British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Marine Campus with Captain Rod Dunbar

The trolley bus patrons divide into two groups to witness contrasting scenes:

  1. The Vancouver Pacific Wave Synchronized Swim Club put on a breath-taking show of breath control, dance, gymnastics, and aquatic agility in the eight-foot-deep pool. Keeping time to music (even when submersed), these award-winning elite athletes even splash in unison.P1000649
  2. Captain Rod Dunbar mans the simulated electronic navigation controls in the (simulated) port of Dover. In our ten minutes, we see rain, snow, wave and fog and leave feeling the (simulated) movement.P1000655

Michelle Richard, North Vancouver Community Arts Council’s Executive Assistant says we’ve observed dance ‘from wheels to water’.P1000636

Trolley Dances 2015 is definitely a dance–and-arts gala with many hours of dedicated preparation from NVCAC whose mission to build stronger communities through the arts is a mission accomplished.

Try some tourism in your own back yard!

Many thanks to main sponsors (City and District of North Vancouver and NV Recreation & Culture), media sponsors (the North Shore News), event sponsors (Ratcliff & Co., Universal, Pacific Honda, and Marcia Meyer, financial planner) and reception sponsors (Thrifty Foods and City Market).

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