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: Why?
Vicky Shick:
I feel bombarded. So that’s what’s confusing also. I’m sitting here and I think, Oh, that’s neat—and I see, facing away from me, four bodies doing sort of unison something and it’s big, but I know it’s not going to work for me sitting in front of it. So I don’t know how to deal with that. It feels nice on one side, but not on the other.

Time Out New York: Do you show the same movement on both sides?
Vicky Shick:
I will do that, absolutely. Things will repeat, so a dancer won’t have to say to her best friend, “Sit on this side because that’s where my solo is.” It’s like a puzzle. I love math. I wanted to be a math major, but I didn’t stick it out. I realize that I love the clarity of math. It’s right or wrong, and in doing a proof, it’s such a logical progression of steps that you have to do and it’s done. I think that’s how I approach dance and even the body, and there’s room for openness—chaos can be great if it’s well managed. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for moments of that. 

Time Out New York: How do you relate math to the body as a dancer?
Vicky Shick:
I’ve spent a lot of time alone in the studio just working on movement—I love figuring out what makes something work physically or watching another person. I think, If your legs were more parallel and you let that knee drop in—and I’m not interested in the angle, but in something that’s a physical mechanic action. If that knee falls in, it just has a better visual look for me than a turned-out leg. I love being really physical and seeing things physical and full, but not necessarily big dance movement. I think that things can have a lot of energy and momentum; it’s not big dance, but it is a big physical act. I am really interested in phrasing.

Time Out New York: What does that mean to you?
Vicky Shick:
It means something about sucking dance timing out of a dance phrase and making it look more like real life. Even if it’s a dance phrase: figuring out where it needs to stop, where it needs slow down. I don’t know how to count. I can’t do that. But I love to figure out an individual’s movement—even in big dance movement, where it stops, where it speeds up, where you might want to throw in a little gesture. That’s what I’m excited about, but that takes time and this is terrible—but I feel like I need to entertain. This is a weakness. I want to keep people busy in rehearsal and not have dancers sitting around and doing things a million times, but I do really believe in the rigor of repetition. I want to give freedom to the dancers, but it is a certain freedom—I want it to merge with what I’m looking for. It’s confusing to people who I’ve never worked with. Like, “I want you to be free and find your own timing; however, if I don’t relate to that timing then I want to change it.”

Time Out New York: Have you ever made a dance this large before?
Vicky Shick:
On students at Arizona State. And that was a two-week project. One front. [Laughs nervously] It’s the two fronts that make it different; it’s hard to see it. It’s hard for me to progress. Today, I have new energy: Give up the idea of logic, whatever that means to you. Give that up. Give up being neat and clean. And then when I get to rehearsal, I try that and it’s like, Oh. It feels assaulting. I bought a coatrack at Bed Bath & Beyond to try to divide the space. This little coatrack doesn’t do anything. Now I have a $60 coatrack, and we don’t even bring it in the studio anymore because it just gets in the way. But it’s fun and exciting, and the chaos is fun. It’s my version of Circus Amok. Now I have a new title: It’s All My Fault. Lights up. Go! Every day I think, I’m going to really move ahead today and [a dancer] will say, “Oh, I’m still sick.”

Time Out New York: Sometimes Barbara’s work sits on the stage as its own entity: In this, you’re really coming into contact with it.
Vicky Shick:
Yes. But contact in a different way. There’s no manipulation of it or anything. It’s definitely a visual thing, but it defines the structure, and I like that because I like structure. It feels daunting, but it feels exciting; if I had more time, I would go more toward the exciting, but I’m trying to go there now. I don’t want to be negative in rehearsal. I try to be funny and spirited, but I can tell that people sense frustration. I’m lost and I’m trying to find something. I also think that it’s very difficult for the dancers; you’re doing something here and then you leave, and even though you know, I’m going to come on after Wendy and Olsi [Gjeci] do a duet, how do they know? [She speaks out of the side of her mouth.] Are they just about to do it, or did they just finish it? That kind of thing. It’s a thousand-piece puzzle. I like word games or math, but I could never do a puzzle. I’m not patient enough. I have dance patience. If I’m alone, it doesn’t faze me to do something for three hours and figure it out. I love that. It could be too anal. Yeah, I’m anal. Whatever.

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