Benjamin Holliday Wardell is the founder and Creative Director of The Cambrians. His dance training began in ballet and has since widened to encompass an ever broader range of techniques. In his fourteen years as a professional dancer, Ben has had the privilege to work with many of the world's leading choreographers and movement researchers on innovative performance ventures. His career began with The Cincinnati Ballet, where he achieved the rank of soloist before moving to San Francisco to dance with the Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. Working with LINES allowed Ben to expand further into his understanding of the human body and the many ways to create dance performance. Moving from San Francisco, he joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. As a dancer with the company for over four years, Ben was able to work directly with global leaders in the field of dance. He has originated works with master choreographers from around the world and in so doing gained a breadth of knowledge and professional respect which allows him to forge new paths in dance creation. Since leaving Hubbard Street three years ago, he has focused on creating new methods for the construction of dance productions. These methods center on generating work through large-scale, complex collaborations in which members of numerous dance genres and communities contribute their knowledge and creativity to the creation of singular performance processes. The purpose of these collaborations is to create high-quality, progressive art without sacrificing comprehensibility and accessibility to audiences from a broad array of communities. Ben is also currently an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions under the direction of Julia Rhoads.


Ben is also the recipient of a 2014 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Dance.


At 32, Ben's curiosity is inexorably drawn to the nature of performance, the phenomenon of dance and the capacity of art to thwart the walls that divide us.


Empress Archer is an international project in which Ariel Freedman, an Israeli citizen who lives in Tel Aviv and freelances globally, is dancing and performing with Meredith Webster, a dancer based in San Francisco. As with all Wardell's work, Empress Archer involves numerous movement generators, who will create work with Ariel and Meredith, before he takes their collective works and reconstitute them into an evening length performance, which will premier in Chicago in January of 2017. Their process is centered on four roughly four-week residencies. The first of these occurred this summer in Vermont, the next three will happen in 2016 in San Francisco, Tel Aviv and the surrounding area, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Chicago for creation with Wardell.