Vicky Shick talks about her latest dance, Everything You See

Vicky Shick talks about choreographing two dances in one for Everything You See

Time Out New York: You’re funny.
Vicky Shick:
I’m excited by the challenge. I just think even if I had another two weeks… This is the personal problem: My husband had heart surgery in February so I took off one week when he was in the hospital—actually, they got rid of him in five days. He had to have a valve repaired, but it’s a big deal because they crack your chest open, and they stopped his heart for like three hours and 20 minutes. I know they do it all the time, but the thought of it is unbelievable. That was a surprise. And for three weeks in February, I was a devoted wife. There was no question. Even though he said, “Go to work.”

Time Out New York: He did?
Vicky Shick:
Yeah. And that’s when Sue Rethorst was doing her thing at Bryn Mawr [a series of performances in which Shick was meant to perform]. He thought it was a good idea for me to go to Philadelphia. I didn’t go. The first week he couldn’t do anything! He seems normal. It’s amazing. The scar is not small, but it’s almost disappeared. He has a really leaky valve and for 12 years this woman has been telling him, “If you were at the Mayo Clinic, they wouldn’t let you leave.” He had no symptoms, and the symptoms are fatigue, difficulty in breathing, lack of energy. He has more energy than anyone I know, and then one day he passed out in our kitchen. He finally had a symptom.

Time Out New York: How do you return to choreographing a dance after living through that experience?
Vicky Shick:
The day before the surgery was a really bad day. I got a check from Danspace, and as a superstition thing I was like, I’m not going to put it in the bank until I know he’s alive. The day after surgery he seemed totally with it mentally—I mean he was on a ventilator. I think I blocked out thinking about the dance. And also I was at home for all of that time and being a very diligent nurse. Once I got back into dancing, I told the dancers, “Whenever you can come, I’m here.” Now I’m getting freaked out about the schedule, because now I see that I really desperately need people. But it was intense. It was a break in a way. It was hard, but it was so clear what had to be done: laundry, groceries, food, medicine.

Time Out New York: Can you talk about the opening section?
Vicky Shick:
On one side, it’s a trio and on the other side it’s a duet. And I keep wanting to add to both things; it probably lasts four minutes, but to me I feel it’s really important to have a beginning moment. I tried a few things and it worked for me; it was organized and neat and I thought, Maybe this could invite people in. It’s simple. The duet is Heather Olson and Marilyn Maywald. On the other side are Jodi Bender, Donna Costello and Lily Gold.

Time Out New York: It’s the usual gestures, the articulation, the small details—it won’t look alien? 
Vicky Shick:
Sadly, it won’t look alien. [Laughs] At this point I can only do what I can do, so maybe that’s why I have so many little sections—if I can ground them with what I feel comfortable with, maybe…

Time Out New York: The audience won’t just be looking at a duet. Won’t you almost see a quintet in the opening phrase because you’re looking at more dancers through the screen?
Vicky Shick:
Yeah. And here’s the thing: The other day I was looking at some other duet and on the other side I have what I call the “big, stupid dance phrase.” It’s not that big or long, but it has bigger movement and I thought, Wow, that looks cool. It looks cool if I’m sitting here. However, when I sit on the other side looking at that, I go… [Moans]

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