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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Dance

Mission:

To create and perform intelligent dances that inspire the people of our region and beyond and to provide access to the viewing, training in and dancing of these dances by diverse audiences and dancers. 

Programs:

San Diego Dance Theater has truly carved a creative niche in the San Diego arts scene. Trolley Dances was created in 1999 as a collaboration between SDDT and the Metropolitan Transit System. Each year, Artistic Director Isaacs invites choreographers with diverse aesthetics and styles from around the U.S. and Mexico to create six site-specific works for different venues along an established San Diego trolley route.  Past performance spaces have included the escalator of a shopping center, the banks of the San Diego River, the inside of a hotel room, a library, a sports bar and a fountain.  The distinctiveness of these different venues creates creative challenges for the 50 dancers who bring each piece to life.  In 2008, we inaugurated our Kids on Board program that enabled students from underserved neighborhoods the opportunity to watch a special performance of Trolley Dances and to participate in workshops teaching public art/dance. 

 

 

 

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

San Diego Dance Theatre under the tireless, wise and passionate leadership of Jean Isaacs has served thousands of dancers over nearly 4 decades. Another reviewer commented that Jean Isaacs is the mother of modern dance in San Diego and this is true. I've seen numerous performances of Jean's choreographer for both her professional company dancers and her many students and she is truly gifted in her ability to bring out the best in her dancers beginning students to professionals. Jean can and has inspired many people to embrace the calling of the dance.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

San Diego Dance Theater has a wonderful artistic director and choreographer, Jean Isaacs, beautiful dancers, great choreography.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jean Isaacs is the mother of modern dance in San Diego. She has consistently trained dancers to the professional level while maintaining her outstanding contributions in presenting modern dance in SD. Jean's commitment to the artistic community in SD deserves recognition and reward.
Her dances always delight the audience, her dancers are beautiful, unique and generous. Jean continues to offer dance programs and dance opportunities that extend to all ages, levels of ability, economic/social conditions, ethnicities etc. Jean continues to refine and remake her art and she finds innovative ways to reach her audience. I strongly believe that given financial support, Jean Isaacs will continue to enhance the dance community. On a very personal level, I certainly would not be a professor of dance if were not for Jean's constant support and mentoring. Jean has truly created, from a grassroots level, a solid environment for dance and dancers to flourish in SD.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jean Isaacs and Sand Diego Dance Theater have been very influential on my life as a dancer/choreographer. I consider Jean my first dance teacher; her teachings deeply informed my dancing and choreography, which have in turn informed almost all other aspects of my life.

San Diego Dance Theater was one of the first producers of my solo projects through their summer workshops. These early opportunities allowed me to discover my voice as a choreographer and solo performer.

Currently, I am studying architecture, another way to look at form and movement through space. I also still perform. Dance my have been an unusual way to arrive at architecture, but I think it was a good one.

Jean's enthusiasm in the studio is exciting to see, as is her commitment to her art; it is this enthusiasm and commitment which led me into the deepness of dance, which altered the direction of my life.

many thanks to Jean Isaacs and San Diego Dance Theater!
Amanda Waal

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jean Isaacs and San Diego Dance Theatre have long been a symbol of creative and innovative dance in the San Diego dance scene. The work Jean does both onstage and off has been vital to the development of modern dance in San Diego. She has trained many young dancers in the community that have gone on to be performers, teachers and choreographers across the continent. Her classes are rich with imagery and detail, refining the artistry of each dancer while challenging their physicality. Her ability to inspire and nurture curiosity while challenging ones intellect is inspiring to me as a teacher and choreographer. Ms. Isaacs work is often clever, engaging and rich, full of lush movement and laced with detail. I always look forward to my return visits to San Diego to see her work and take class.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Not only is the San Diego Theatre an exaple of fine art, but also of passion and perseverance.
I have enjoyed the collaborations we have had together, and have grown with the experiance.

Isabel Beteta
Mexico City

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Jean teaches classes that are lush, engaging, musical, and ask commitment of the dancer. You also feel a real sense of community among the students. I simply like being around Jean, moving in her style, and being a part of this warm community. I feel like she is a real light for san diego dancers.
Trolley dances, which I have seen for 3 years, is a wonderful bringing together of a larger community, where we get to see excellent professional and touching dance as well as feel like we are on an adventure. It is what she does so well in so many realms---brings people together and reminds us of our shared warmth and spirit.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

San Diego Dance Theatre (SDDT) is like a dance home to me. When I first moved to San Diego from Boston 15 years ago, I didn't know anyone. As soon as I walked into San Diego Dance Theatre's studios I felt like I was at home: I made new friends, was able to take professional-level classes, but most importantly I connected with the finest modern dance company in all of San Diego. SDDT, under the director of Jean Isaacs, has been a mainstay in the San Diego Dance world for many reasons: SDDT attracts talented dancers to the company, develops emerging dancers (such as Monica Bill Barnes), sponsors partnerships with dance companies all over the world by offering master classes and performance opportunities, has a wonderful Summer intensive dance program, and offers many opportunities for the community to be involved in dance, such as the now-famous Trolley Dances and the current partnership with High Tech High. Lastly, SDDT performances are beautiful, funny and entertaining.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

During a very difficult time for arts organizations, Jean Issacs and her company ,the "San Diego Dance Theater" has consistantly continued to contribute greatly to the cultural environment of San Diego. Without compromising or commercializing her approach to modern dance, she has made it more readily accessible to members of the community from all walks of life. By taking well choreographed, well danced works to the streets in "Trolly Dances", and to the informal setting of "Cabaret Dances", she has reached a broader audience, while at the same time continuing to present the excellent formal theatre works which have been the foundation of her company. It takes enormous energy, skill and talent to do what Jean and her company have done. We all reap the benefit of this dedication. It certainly deserves support.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Not only does San Diego Dance Theater produce dance, it builds communities. I have been consistently impressed with the way that SDDT engages with its audience, especially in the ways that it brings dance to them, and encourages them to think outside of the box.

SDDT is one of San Diego's thriving dance companies! With their innovative choreography, quality training, and wonderful leadership, SDDT has earned its outstanding reputation.

Review from Guidestar