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Choreographer
Geraldine
Cardiel

Bio by Larissa Zaharuk

“When I was six years old,” Geraldine Cardiel reminisces with an impish laugh, “I would charge my family and friends to see me dance!” The New York-based choreographer and Limon Institute instructor explains, “I cannot recall ever deciding I wanted to be a dancer. It’s the only thing I always wanted to do—what saved me from getting lost in the world.”

Though the unwavering manner in which this lithe, slight of frame figure has actualized her giant, innate desire is mesmerizing, it’s not been all champagne and roses. “I was already a professional dancer in Mexico. When I got here I realized I was nothing. New York challenged me to believe in who I am, trust that I am unique.”

Hand-selected for scholarship in 2000 by the city’s prestigious modern dance school the Limon Institute, Cardiel describes her own style as a “twist on contemporary dance—with humor.” explaining, “It’s important to know my role in society now, to transcend Limon and identify my own voice”. With her winter season at the Joyce Soho opening March 21st, this voice will doubtlessly sound loud and clear. Map of Forgiveness, a meditation on intolerance and acceptance “in my life, the city and the world” will dissect the artist’s more serious concerns, while On/Off humorously challenges the concept of these two states of a performer’s being as diametric.

For this teacher who equally does, “Performing is all too often about you—satisfying your choreographer or pleasing the audience. Teaching is about giving”, all the more so in this competitive city where students come “only if they think that what you're giving them is important.”

“I try to pass on that the best way of moving is the way that gives you joy” Cardiel continues, “It shouldn't be frustrating. It's not important to be perfect because that doesn't exist.”

Feldenkrais is another obsession of the artist, who is training to become a practitioner in this field of physical therapy that draws many for its focus on movement’s psychological motivation. The study, which Cardiel endorses as “the best thing I have done in my entire life” has helped her “to solve problems movement-wise, to feel much calmer.”

While great things have come through scholarships and awards, including the opportunity to work with future husband and prized composer Juan Sosa, the artist has much to say about the invisibility of one of culture’s greatest cornerstones.

“I fell in love with the city because it offers so much in terms of art. I feel very lucky to be doing exactly what I always wanted to do. But funding is non-existent!” Cardiel laments. “It's because of a lack of information that many don't know what to see. We’re bombarded by the media; keep consuming what they tell us. Art gives you the power to make decisions, to think for yourself. Society doesn’t want that—if they gave the power to everyone we wouldn’t be consuming. So the more we open up the door for people who don’t usually see dance, the better things will get!”

One venue Cardiel urges New Yorkers to take part in is Mexico Now, a yearly festival of contemporary Mexican art that she feels elevates the preconceived image of her culture beyond “enchiladas and mariachis.”

“There are different layers of people in the city representing Mexico, such as myself”, Cardiel exclaims, “There are a lot of people who are not proud of where they come from. I am very proud of being Mexican!”

On second thought, perhaps it’s that litheness of body and slightness of frame that are difficult to reconcile with Cardiel’s strength of conviction. Whichever the case, this artist is nonetheless mesmerizing for it.

Premiere Show
March 21-23, 2008
Friday- Sunday at 8pm
$15 general Admission/$12 students
Joyce SoHo
155 Mercer Street
Between Houston & Prince Streets
Tickets: 212-352-3101 or www.joyce.org.

Geraldine’s teaching schedule at the Limon Institute: http://limon.org/Class/Schedule.html.

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