THE QUEEN of FOOTWORK

Amanda Cardona was born in NY and raised in the Bronx. Her dance education began at the age of 3 studying classical Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Pointe at the Vickie Sheer Dance Academy. In college, she expanded her repertoire with Lyrical and Hip-Hop through her studies with the Black Movements Dance Theater at Georgetown University. Additionally, Amanda rounded out her dance knowledge by studying and competing in International Style 10 dance ballroom dancing with Hoya DanceSport. International Style 10 dance is comprised of both “Standard” dances (Foxtrot, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep, Tango) and “Latin” dances (Jive, Samba, Rumba, Cha Cha Cha, Paso Doble).

It was with her team at Hoya DanceSport that she had the privilege and experience of being on a cabaret team that took 1st place at the YCN International Collegiate DanceSport Competition in Pontins, England.

 

Amanda’s love of Latin music and dance is directly correlated to her exposure and acceptance of her Puerto Rican roots. Growing up, Amanda initially shied away from exploring Latin music, but she was slowly introduced by her mother to the infectious beats and rhythms of salsa, mambo and cha cha. Every Sunday evening, Amanda would go to a local Bronx club called Side Street, where she was able to soak up the atmosphere, sights and sounds of Latin culture and music and before she knew it, she was hooked. Shortly after graduation from Georgetown University, Amanda returned to NY and joined Razz M’Tazz Dance Company. It was through her time spent there that she further crafted her ability to lead, choreograph and instruct others. Besides her teammates, the highlight of her time spent with RMT was choreographing her first large scale piece – “Indestructible” by Ray Barretto and performing with her team at the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress (2002). In addition, to Razz M’Tazz, Amanda also had the privilege of dancing with the Mambo Mamas, led by Abbey Plotkin, and of being an original cast member of the off-Broadway “dancical” – Latin Madness, produced by Nelson Flores of Descarga Latina and Luis Zegarra.

 

After a couple of years of instruction in Latin Jazz with the renowned Maria Torres, Amanda took some time off from dancing to pursue her MBA at Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University)- but she couldn't stay out of dancing for long. While at Kellogg, Amanda joined BLAST (Ballroom, Latin and Swing Thing) at NU and joined up with a new dance partner Micah Boon to produce some funky and original dance pieces for the BLAST Spring Showcases. In addition, Amanda also was a lead and choreographer for Kellogg Dance Movements and involved with the variety act Special K.

 

In 2010, Amanda joined up with Leah Patterson to form a ladies shines duo and together they have traveled all over the US bringing their unique style and flair to the salsa scene. In mid-2010, Amanda was approached by Danielle White about the possibility of starting an Austin ladies performance team, due to the sizable pool of ladies dance talent that Austin had to offer. After one fateful conversation, the deal was inked and Collective Essence Dance Company was born with original members, Amanda Cardona, Diane Marques, Jessica Szota, Crystal Verver and Danielle White. Since their inception, the team has exploded in popularity, in part due to the unique structure of the team and individualistic style and flair they bring to dance. Amanda is a multi-faceted and prolific artist- skilled in performing, teaching, choreography, social dancing to name but a few. She is known as "The Footwork Queen" - amazing and sometimes confounding others with her quick feet and imaginative footwork patterns.

 

Currently, you can find her traveling both domestically and internationally, engaging in various projects.