Wally Cardona Works With Master Dancers To Create A Collaboration

For the past several years, Wally Cardona has been working with master dancers from all over the world to learn their craft in order to create a unique collaboration. The performance, known as The Set Up, premieres June 17-25 at LMCC’s River To River Festival on Governors Island. This year, Wally will work with master Cambodian, Balinese Topeng, Javanese refined dancers, among others. In addition to the performances, audiences will also be able to visit resource rooms which look back on the project over the years with artifacts and presentations.


Rebecca Warner in rehearsal during the creation of The Set Up: Proeung Chhieng: GHOST
Governors Island 2012

Wally has worked with an international assembly of 7 master dance-artists throughout his six years creating the project: I Nyoman Catra (Balinese Topeng), Proueng Chhieng (Cambodian), Junko Fisher (Okinawan), Saya Lei (Mandalay-style, classical Burmese), Jean-Christophe Paré (French baroque), Heni Winahyuningsih (Javanese refined) and Kapila Venu (Indian Kutiyattam). Via a process of practice and “embodiment” within diverse traditions of dance-operations, The Set Up uncovers and confronts belief systems that are knowingly, and unknowingly, transferred from body to body, culture to culture, generation to generation. Each dance was made and performed in its own distinct location. Now, for the first, last and only time, the dances—featuring live music by Jonathan Bepler, Reiko Fueting and Megan Schubert—will be presented on Governors Island over the two weekends of the River To River Festival.

Watch this 2014 performance of The Set Up: I Nyoman Catra, performed at 120 Wall Street. Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey dance the stylings of renowned Balinese Topeng master, Nyoman Catra.

There has been no stable knowledge produced and no definitive sensation of knowledge possessed. The meetings forming the discussion of each dance happen away from our base of cultural orientation, BUT we find that this activity is not so very different than all the other myriad times we have danced with and for others. It is different in that the impossibility of fixed knowledge and possessed understanding is much less hidden.

In The Set Up we try to continue to extend this momentary act of “trying to know” a bit beyond the body of the person and place with whom it was engaged. To do this, we make a dance, informed by the belief that dancing is an active discussion not a definitive relation.” – Wally Cardona

Wally Cardona & Jennifer Lacey’s The Set Up: Island Ghost Sleep Princess Time Story Show will have performances on June 17 – 18 and June 24 – 25 at the River To River Festival.  Click here for more info.