With a name like WildCard, this dance group can be expected to do things differently.
What started out in 2010 as a couple of friends who wanted to form their own dance project has since turned into a wide network: Bay Area dancers collaborating and sharing the stage across companies. Most dance companies revolve around a single choreographer to control the artistic direction of a set or a single concept to build upon, but WildCard is comprised of a rotating set of performers from different companies and backgrounds, each with varying degrees of separation but with a shared love for dance.
"For our very first performance last year, we invited a lot of dancers that we respected and liked working with, all from different companies," said WildCard member Maricar Aguilar. "With each performance after that, we opened it up to more dancers," she explained. "So if you've performed with us before, you're automatically invited [to the next performance]. Once you're part of WildCard, you're part of WildCard forever."
It's a dual sense of community and autonomy that makes WildCard unique. Aguilar explained that WildCard invites anyone who dances with them to choreograph. Because of this open approach to creative direction, it's hard to fit the group under just one category of style.
"We don't identify ourselves as the leaders of WildCard; we just organize it," she said. "So we don't necessarily think of a specific style for our routines -- I think that each set is comprised of a number of pieces. Depending on the choreographer, there are a lot of styles that people can draw upon."
The group's name originally stemmed as an inside joke and an episode of the TV show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but as the group has grown, the meaning behind WildCard has also deepened.
"The dancers we have invited are all ones that we really notice within the dance community, for their humility, obviously their talent, and just the entire package they bring -- sort of the 'wildcard' of their dance groups," Aguilar said.
One essential element to WildCard?
"We like to add an element of humor in our sets," said Aguilar. "We try not to take ourselves too seriously."
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Check out WildCard performing at Mr. Hyphen tonight.