SF Trolley Dances exhibit city’s culture


Juliana Murguz ’25

The Flying Angels Chinese Dance Company spins a ribbon at the Trolley Dance Festival in October.

Kai Murguz '25, Staff Reporter

If you ride the buses in San Francisco, it’s likely that you’ve seen advertisements for Trolley Dances, but have no idea what they are. I didn’t either until my friend insisted that I accompany her to see them one weekend. 

The trolley dance is a 3-day long annual festival usually along San Francisco’s public transit lines, however this year’s was in SoMa and Chinatown. The festival features various dances and dancers every year. The Trolley Dances are directed by Kim Epifano and supported and funded by SFMTA, CVS, Trader Joe’s, Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, US bank, and many other groups and organizations. This year was Epiphany Dance Theater’s 19th annual Trolley Dance.

Trolley Dances have free admission, but it is recommended that you reserve your ticket in advance on their website. This year, they presented many dance groups across a diverse spectrum of ages and cultures, including: Ballet22, Charya Burt, Epiphany Dance Theater, Flying Angels Chinese Dance Company, GRRL Brigade, and Megan Lowe Dance. 

We started at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, where a tour guide showed us around the Yerba Buena Gardens where the first three dances were performed. After the first three dances, the members of the tour group had the option to go on the full tour, also free, which took us on the 30 bus to Chinatown where we watched the next three performances. The full tour went on for approximately two hours. All of the dances were recorded and can be viewed online at Epiphany Dance Theater’s website. 

 “I thought the variety of different dances and music was really cool.” said Juliana Murguz ’25. 

Though I wish I did it more often, I rarely visit San Francisco locations that are typically considered tourist attractions. This tour allowed me to branch out and explore other neighborhoods I don’t usually visit in my day-to-day life.

Violet Gluck ’25 explained, “It was a fantastic cultural experience…The performances showcased all kinds of dance and kept you wondering what was next.” 

What I found interesting is that all of the performances this year were done in an outdoor, public setting, where dancers used the space around them as part of the dance. I enjoyed watching the trolley dances, and I think it is worth taking a day to watch them as well. They are a cost-free, enjoyable event that opens your eyes to new cultures through dance and takes you around spots in San Francisco you may have never been before.