What happens when a dancer invites someone with no dance training or experience to help create a piece of choreography? That is the central question driving Wally Cardona’s “Intervention” series, a collection of solo works in which he teams up with collaborators as varied as an astrophysicist and an architect and asks them to help him make a dance.
Saturday at Dance Place, Cardona debuted the last installment of the series, “Intervention # 7: Silas Grant.” Grant is a community activist who has worked to improve his District neighborhood and mentor youth throughout the region.
The evening began with Cardona talking to the audience about the ideas that he and Grant considered as they made the dance. He explained that they thought intensively about personal space and what it feels like when one’s space is invaded. It was instructive to get this insight into their creative process, but it dragged on too long—the talking lasted until nearly 8:50 p.m., meaning no dancing was seen until almost an hour after the show was scheuled to begin.
When Cardona finally got to dancing, he first used only the small sliver of stage that is in front of the closed curtain. His movements were reserved and careful, the measured calculations of someone who knows they’re being watched and is self-conscious about it.
But then the curtain behind him opened to reveal a disorderly mess: The stage was littered with overturned chairs, a coat rack, wads of crumpled tape and a host of other random objects. With this visual cacophony came a deeper freedom and variety to his movement, a sign that the audience was being let into this character’s private psyche.
In the end, the message seemed to be that personal space isn’t really physical. Rather, we feel that we have ample personal space wherever we have the emotional security to be the most authentic version of ourselves.