WALLY CARDONA is a choreographer, dancer and teacher living in Brooklyn and the artistic director of WCV, Inc. He is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, an Asian Cultural Council fellowship and a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for the creation of Everywhere. In 2012, he became one of 21 American performing artists to receive the inaugural 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award.
Brought up in California and New Mexico, Cardona was a competitive gymnast and clarinetist before moving to New York City in 1986 to study dance at The Juilliard School (B.F.A.). The following summer, invited by Benjamin Harkarvy, he attended the Ballet Project at Jacob’s Pillow, met Ralph Lemon and subsequently danced with his company until 1995.
Cardona’s first work premiered in 1992 at the Festival International de Danse a Cannes; his next work, Made In Voyage (1995), was performed in seven countries; and his first large-scale project took place in 1996 when French choreographer Hervé Robbe/Le Marietta Secret invited him to create a double purpose/a double emploi for a cast of four French and four American dancers. The following year, Wally Cardona Quartet was founded and WCV, Inc., an artistic umbrella organization for Cardona’s projects, was formed.
Cardona has created projects widely ranging in scale, setting and materials. A select list includes The Set Up: Junko Fisher (2012: LMCC, River to River Festival), the first of a series of encounters with “masters” of another form, designed to question the superficiality and depth inherent in the assumption of the universality of dance; TOOL IS LOOT (2011: EMPAC, The Kitchen), a duet resulting from games of aesthetic disorientation, made with choreographer Jennifer Lacey and composer Jonathan Bepler; Intervention # 1-7 (Baryshnikov Arts Center, EMPAC, Joyce Theater Foundation, Dance Place), a series of seven encounters in which Cardona voluntarily subjected himself to the requests and opinions of “outsiders”, including a sommelier, astrophysicist, architect, social activist, and group of acousticians; Movements within Stream (2010: Storm King Art Center), a mini-myth made in relation to Stephen Talasnik’s Stream: A Folded Drawing, a site-specific construction made of some 3,000 bamboo poles; Really Real (2009: BAM, International Festival of Arts & Ideas), a "people piece" for 100 individuals, including the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, all on a bare stage; Revival (2009: Group Motion, Hidden City), performed by 30 dancers in the abandoned upper balcony of the old Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia; A Light Conversation (2008: Tanzhaus Zurich, Joyce Theater Foundation), an up-close and physical dialogue on aesthetics vs. ethics, love, commitment and sacrifice, made in collaboration with Swiss/British choreographer Rahel Vonmoos; Site (2007: DTW, Helena Presents), a work for wood, paper, tape and the Capital H.S. Band of Helena, MT; and Everywhere (2005: BAM, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art), a work where all action is shaped around and with 300 15lb. columns.
He is currently teaching at The Juilliard School and The New School (Performance/Phenomenon: Philosophy in Physical Practice) in New York City.
Cardona’s interests lie in helping individuals cultivate their own creative process. His workshops explore, through physical practice, what it is to move from “natural” states to "performance" states. The primary aim is to simultaneously consider performance from alternate viewpoints, including performer, creator, viewer, thinker, and responsible agent. Conceptual frameworks involving time, space, place and the body are introduced and considered via practical application in the studio. Workshops are geared toward dancers, choreographers, visual artists, actors or performers of any kind, emphasize learning by doing and are non-systematic.
He has taught for festivals, companies, colleges and universities (selected list): The Juilliard School; The New School; NYU - Tisch School of the Arts; Swedish Dance Alliance; TSEH - Moscow; University of Kansas; TanzQuartier Wien; Movement Research; Danscentrum; Dansstationen; Dansens Hus; Sushi Performance; Dancer’s Group; The Dance Center at Columbia College, Chicago; National Center of Contemporary Dance, Mexico; Festival de Danza Contemporanea de San Luis Potosi; Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes; Dance Place, Washington; SUNY/Potsdam; Body Works Festival, Melbourne; Connecticut College; SUNY Brockport; Barnard College; Perry-Mansfield; Mito Art Tower, Japan; T-Junction, Vienna; Colorado Dance Festival; 1st International Dance Festival, Buenos Aires; ADF - Raleigh/Durham; ADF - Santiago, Chile; NYU – Tisch School of the Arts; Modern Dance Promotion of Korea; Cie Philippe Saire; Geneva Ballet; Graz Opera Ballet; Lyon Opera Ballet.