dance #29

Riding the Carlton Car

On assignment from Debra: Listen to music on an mp3 player while watching a dance unfold in a public space.

Boarded the Carlton Streetcar at Major Street at 6:45. The streetcar was packed. A few seats are scattered throughout the car, but I stand by the rear doors. Put on my headphones. Selected Philip Glass’s Glassworks album. The streetcar moves through the cold night after a heavy snowfall. As the stops go by, people start filtering off. Bathurst. Grace Street. The car swerves to follow the tracks as the street curves. Bodies lilt side to side. The car rocks. The car starts to empty. I move to the very back, and sit down in the centre seat. Pull out my notebook and watch. A kid standing with his dad starts to move like he’s dancing to music, then gets distracted and his body stills just before he gets off. Light from the street floods the car. Reds and greens reflect off the wet floor of the car, scattering through the dance-28-streetcar-ride-drawing1beaded moisture of the windshield at the front of the car. As people get up out of their seats and move to the back doors they cast shadows through the car. People rise simultaneously when stops are called. Three get up together. Holding the rails. Halting movements jolt bodies. Accelerating from a standstill, passengers stumble. The car rumbles over the tracks. Slush gathers in the grooves that run along the floor of the car.  6:55 we reach Dovercourt Road. The streetcar is now almost empty. People get off. Others get on, rushing up the front steps in from the cold. Watching people’s bodies from the back, their tired heads resting on the window. A cross-walk ahead flashes yellow light through the car. The world is wet, inside and out. The car picks up speed and lilts side to side as the street curves. We reach Gladstone Avenue. Then Dufferin. More passengers step off into the night. A man at the back door is whistling. The music I hear is whistling. Cold bodies shuffle on. I take some pictures. The music is rapid and lively. The car is quiet. Rumbling. Halting to stop. A man flicks his feet up behind him as he prepares to step off the car at the back doors. The street car eases up the hill to the bridge after Landsdowne. I watch the grey slush gush towards me at the back of the car. The car levels off, and water rushes back the other way. My body rocks from side to side. The car feels like it’s floating over the tracks on the bridge. The second song on the album ends. We reach Howard Park, and a man calls out to the driver “Excuse me! Excuse me!”. The driver opens the rear doors and the man gets off. Rumbling onwards towards Roncesvalles. Two more passengers get off. Three passengers are left. At 7:04 we reach Indian Road, and I jump up, gathering my things, and float up to the rear doors and down the steps into the snowy street.

Alice resting by the radiator as I write up the dance.

~ by nmyers on January 18, 2009.

One Response to “dance #29”

  1. outstanding!

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