Wally Cardona

Doris Duke Artist Award, 2012

Brooklyn, NY

Wally Cardona began dancing at age 18 and could not stop. In 2008, he began cultivating a practice of undoing, initiating unfamiliar collaborations that mutated his practice and proximity to others. This shift inspired a 6-year undertaking called The Set Up (2012-2017), a series of 7 dances in 7 distinct sites made with Jennifer Lacey and 7 master artists of 7 existent dance forms; TOOL IS LOOT (2011), resulting from games of aesthetic disorientation, made with Lacey and composer Jonathan Bepler; Really Real (2009), a "people piece" for 100 individuals, including the Brooklyn Youth Chorus; and A Light Conversation (2008), a physical dialogue on aesthetics vs. ethics, love, commitment and sacrifice, made with Swiss/British choreographer Rahel Vonmoos. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, NYFA Fellowship, Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, and a Bessie Award. Commissions include Brooklyn Academy of Music, Jacob’s Pillow, The Joyce Theater, The Kitchen, and Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.

  • Photo Credit: Christy Pessagno
    Intervention #5: Martin Kapell (2011)
  • Wally Cardona- The Set Up (2013-2015): http://vimeo.com/97044541
    The Set Up (2013-2015)
  • Wally Cardona- The Set Up: Proeung Chhieng (2013): http://vimeo.com/69541478
    The Set Up: Proeung Chhieng (2013)
  • Wally Cardona- REALLY REAL (2009): http://vimeo.com/10916819
    REALLY REAL (2009)
  • Wally Cardona- A Light Conversation (2008): http://vimeo.com/10951946
    A Light Conversation (2008)
  • Photo Credit: The Park Avenue Armory
    The Set Up: Heni Winahyuningsih (2014)
  • Photo Credit: Whitney Browne
    The Set Up: I Nyoman Catra (2015)
  • Photo Credit: Ryutaro Mishima
    A Light Conversation (2008)

Artistically, what do you do & why do you do it?

I have no interest in protecting my value as performance subject or choreographer. I’ve got skills, but it’s most important to unfix an opinion about those skills or their necessary context. I’m extremely fortunate to be able to work with incredible artists/partners who share this sensibility. They are the perfect partners... all very different personalities, each taking turns anchoring the other person so we can get a little more lost and expand the other’s threshold for unfixing. The way into this unfixing begins around a simple yet concrete encounter, change of approach or situation. Nothing is certain beyond the need for non-stop responsiveness to another person, culture, approach, situation. Amidst all of this uncertainty, having the most fundamental infrastructure is essential. Not for building something big, solid, and unshakeable but for conscientiously building something more unfamiliar and unprotected, visible yet unidentified, temporary yet ongoing.