Wally Cardona and the Disorienting Experience of Tool Is Loot

Categories: Dance
NT Wally Cardona.jpg
Paula Court
Working separately, from New York and Paris, Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey are trying to undo themselves. For Tool Is Loot, their upcoming performance presented by Tigertail Productions at the Colony Theatre, they subjected their aesthetic assumptions to the opinions and desires of total strangers. Starting with separate "empty solos" -- neutral foundation pieces -- they built, deconstructed, and reshaped a series of collaborations, eventually merging them into a duet. We spoke with Cardona recently about the process.

New Times: What does an outsider add to the mix?
Wally Cardona: An outsider's opinion, and that's big. Most of the people we worked with aren't artists. They have a whole other career, a whole other realm in which they're considering their own questions about physics or medical supplies or whatever.

Give us a picture of the process.
The first thing each person experienced was the empty solo. Afterwards, I would usually see a look of terror in their face. Some people loved it and really wanted to talk about it. And some people would just be like, "yeah, clearly it's not my thing because I don't understand what you're doing," and already that was a response. I would ask whether they had any images in their head of what I did, or how they would name what they saw. Sometimes that would lead to deep discussions, and sometimes that would be the end of it.

How did you adjust your movement to their opinions?
Believe me, sometimes I didn't know what to do! I remember telling Heidi, an astrophysicist, to pretend I was a car, and she was taking me for a test drive. I think the first thing she said was "don't walk -- I don't like it when you walk." And this was a huge thing for me because I use walking a lot. Immediately, that put my body into a new state. Then at some point, she said, "I like it when you turn, can you only turn?" That's hard. I don't like to turn. Suddenly, I found my body returning to this idea of turning. As a person interested in new experiences, this was fantastic.

Is that what you were looking for, a new experience?
I was hoping to get away from myself. There's a moment when you know so much about yourself that you're really kind of bored with it. And then, on some level, you want to reinvent the wheel -- which of course is impossible. The person would ask me to do some new thing, and I would be there, stuck with myself again.

Did Jennifer have a similar experience?
We had separate experiences over one year, and then when the two of us got together, we started with our stories. We brought up the requests that really made us cringe. And that is what gave birth to the duet that we have now, Tool Is Loot. It is built from other peoples' desires, opinions, wants and requests. Which were then fed through our own opinions as performers. So the end result is very much crafted by us.

Tool Is Loot is performed on Saturday at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets are $30 general admission, $20 students, dance artists and seniors with ID. For tickets, visit tigertail.org or call 305-324-4337.

--Annie Hollingsworth, artburstmiami.com

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Location Info


Colony Theatre

1040 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, FL

Category: Film

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