Choreographer teams up with community activist to create ‘Intervention’

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.


Wally Cardona (Photo by Christy Pessagno) (Christy Pessagno/Christy Pessagno)

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.


Wally Cardona performs "Intervention #5: at Dance Place April 23. (Photo by Christy Pessagno) (Christy Pessagno)

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.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.

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