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San Diego Dance Theatre

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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

139 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

San Diego Dance Theater and Dance Fierce has made a huge difference in my daughter's life, besides being a great exercise on a weekly basis, it provides confidence, discipline, and a sense of accomplishment AND a sense of belonging. This is a structured and professional class and I highly appreciate not only being affordable but the scholarship opportunities. THANK YOU!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great program, affordable. My daughter loves it. Highly professional and great for teenagers.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a member of the audience. Jean Isaac's Trolley Dances are an innovative program of six or seven original interpretive dances, each one performed at a separate site around the city of San Diego. Each site is easily accessed (and this is how access is encouraged) by taking the trolley. Every year, different dances are created and performed and new sites are chosen to stage each separate dance. Tickets include the trolley fare. Access is available to handicapped individuals. The tour takes about 3 hours. It is a wonderful way to spend a day outdoors, enjoy music and dance, discover new sites in San Diego, and familiarize people with our public transportation. It is not unusual to reconnect with old friends, regular attendees and coworkers.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization is a beautiful part of our community that helps many people on a daily basis. Movement, relating to rhythm and music is innate in all of us and is a part of all of our ancestries. This organization is able to fulfill us with the need that we have to take part in dance. Providing us with happiness, health and longevity, and a feeling of accomplishment. Through the amazing art form known as dance, this organization is able to give hope, give a voice, improve heath, educate, and empower individuals of all ages in the community.

I have not only had the amazing opportunity to dance with this organization several years ago, but every year I take part in viewing their beautiful art form and allowing it to touch and inspire my life as well as the lives of my children, family, and friends.

Without this dance organization, there would be a void. My hope is that they will continue to help and empower our community for many years to come.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am so excited about the new program for elders. I know how important this is for their well-being, socialization, and exercise! Thank you San Diego Dance Theatre.

Review from Guidestar

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

San Diego Dance Theater is a great group! They do so much for the dance community/audiences of San Diego. The annual Trolley Dances and Cabaret series are always inspired! I've so enjoyed their growth over the years.

Review from Guidestar

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

Client Served

Rating: 5

Dance Place is an excellent resource for the San Diego community. I have watched performances there and also received scholarship money to attend classes there. They offer a great service to the dance community and a succesful non-profit organization.

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

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

San Diego Dance Theater is an exceptional, healthy, professional organization with a strong commitment to dancers, dance art, students of dance, and the community in general. I have known SDDT's director, Jean Isaacs, for over 20 years. She has developed a corporate culture based on a vision that embraces individuals and the public through her genuine appreciation for not only the art form of SDDT but for humankind. The company members deliver this vision through their work, their openness, and through their complete commitment to the company and to the art form. San Diego is a better place because SDDT is part of the arts and culture industry here, and because SDDT and its stakeholders are dedicated to dance and to San Diego.

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

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have really enjoyed taking class from Jean Isaacs and all the teachers at SDDT. I've also enjoyed their shows - their Cabaret dances in the winter of 2004/5 was the first dance show I'd ever seen, and how keenly did it whet my appetite. Jean has also hosted a wonderful series inviting some outstanding Mexican dance companies to come to San Diego to teach and perform. I'm really grateful to Jean and to SDDT. They are wonderful people and wonderful performers and wonderful curators and wonderful choreographers.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported Sand Diego Dance Theatre and enjoyed multiple performances for over 10 years. Jean Isaacs is an innovator, mentor, and outstanding Artistic Director. She has inspired, taught and given multiple beginning dancers their start in the modern dance world. Jean Isaacs through her invention of The Trolley Dances has exposed a vast number of new audience members to Modern Dance. Who knows how many tiny tots to teenagers has her work and the work of other National and Internationally known choreographers introduced and helped create the future modern dancers, choreographers and Artistic Directors.
Jean Isaacs is a visionary.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first involovement was taking workshop dance classes many years ago. I found the dancers welcoming including dance company members. The experince was so good I continued to take weekly classes as often as I was able. Once I participated in a summer workshop & perfromance I wanted that opportunity in my own community. With the help of a grant, Jean Isaacs and the dance company generously came every summer to teach and perform in Ramona CA for 20 years. Jean and her dancers not only gave the gift of dance but life experiences and lessons to many students ages 10 years to 60 years old. I'll always remember the high student from a foster home who took part in the workshop, learned her part in the dances, then watched as the professional dancers, now her friends, took the stage. She turns to me and says "I feel like they are dancing just for me". What a wonderful experience this dance company made available for this young person and many others!

Review from Guidestar

Jack A.

Client Served

Rating: 5

SDDT did a fabulous job at two events revolving around TEDxSanDiego. They had an incredible duo perform an innovative in the midst of a reception. They stopped everyone in their tracks it was simply incredible, almost beyond belief. Jeanne Isaacs, the lead and one of her key performers, John also performed for the TEDx audience at the main event. They actually created a short dance right in front of our eyes. It was a highlight of the day and one we'll never forget. It opened our eyes up to this amazing group that has brought dance to all corners of San Diego County. Their innovative Trolley Dances bring dance toa new level. Regretfully I forget the specific name, but it's location specific and requires an insane ability to improvise.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

SD dance theater was my first exposure to modern dance and attending live dance performances. What I appreciated most was the intimate settings for the performances. As an audience member, you felt very connected with each performance, especially since they also allowed audiences to come watch works in progress at the studio. Their annual trolley show is a perfect example of how this organization wants to and continues to stay connected with the city and its people as they use the city elements as their stage and you are there right in front watching.
It is such a valuable addition to the "culture" of San Diego.

Review from Guidestar