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Robert Abrams
Challenges
Various Partner Dances
Various Performance Dances
Sea World San Diego
United States
California
San Diego, CA
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Dancing with Dolphins at Sea World San Diego

by Robert Abrams
May 21, 2007
Sea World San Diego
500 Sea World Drive
San Diego, CA 92109
(800) 25-SHAMU
If you want to take partner dancing to a whole new level, try the dolphin interaction program at Sea World in San Diego. Okay, technically it isn't dancing, but it is really cool. For about $150 per person (figure closer to $200 with the photos of yourself and the dolphins that you are going to want to purchase), you learn the commands that the Sea World dolphins have been trained to respond to. With the help of a Sea World trainer, you get to stroke the dolphins, feed them fish and get them to do a variety of impressive tricks. The program started with an informative introduction to dolphin anatomy led by Darus. We got into our wetsuits. Amber, the trainer who led our program, then expertly guided us in our interactions with Buster, a common dolphin who was very talented and affectionate.

While the experience is not full on choreography, there were enough dance like elements to suggest that human-dolphin choreography might be possible. The trainer led the dolphin, who followed smoothly. A human could move a dolphin down the line while holding its flippers (it looked very much like an arms extended dance position). The dolphin could copy both slow turns and 360 degree spins. The dolphin performed an ocho by swimming in a figure eight around the people. They were equally capable in an open promenade position, being led down the line by one flipper. They can move easily across their pool en pointe (okay, en tail).

Sea World also offers a dolphin show (included with park admission). While this show is well worth seeing, it is more acrobatics than dance. A true dolphin-human dance performance might end up being a more intimate experience, and thus difficult for a large audience to see, so an initial product target might be a dance for film. Whatever the results from such choreography, it would not be an exact recreation of land based dance, but if we humans could achieve even half of the flow that dolphins perform so naturally, we should consider ourselves fortunate.
Sima and Buster in dance position

Sima and Buster in dance position

Photo © & courtesy of Sea World


Robert, Buster and Sima complete a 360º spin

Robert, Buster and Sima complete a 360º spin

Photo © & courtesy of Sea World


Dolphins en pointe

Dolphins en pointe

Photo © & courtesy of Sea World

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