Trolley Dances is authentic homegrown San Diego culture: an annual event of site-specific dances linked together by the city’s light rail system.

Like San Diego’s other indigenous art forms — surfing, sailing, scuba — Trolley Dances is site-specific in a larger sense by happening mostly outdoors, and in environments far less organized and more dynamic than the typical performance hall. As a result, Trolley Dance viewers seeking to optimize their esthetic experience are obliged to work hard at siting themselves, at the risk of just plain missing the show.

At this level of commitment one does not attend Trolley Dances so much as surf it: the crowds are thick, the sight lines few and shifty. You have to plot strategy, keep your eyes open, and stay light on your feet.