Vicky Shick’s epic work Everything You See is coming to the adventurous American Dance Institute in Rockville, MD, September 19 and 20. I say epic not because it’s long or heroic or spectacular (it is none of those things), but because it strings many intricate vignettes into something larger, some sort of ceaseless dance-as-thought continuum. Hundreds of tiny ordinary things somehow accumulate into one extraordinary thing.
It’s layered visually, so you see one dance in front of you, and another one behind a translucent screen that bisects the space horizontally. Barbara Kilpatricks’ ingenious costumes too are layered, adding to the eccentric look of the 10 performers. I’m one of those eccentric people. I wear a bubble-wrap tutu with shreds of tulle hanging from it—and of course, my glasses.
This is our third version, and each time I learn something new about Vicky’s approach. Or, since Vicky is purely intuitive and not at all methodical, I learn something new about the alchemy of the choreography, visual element, and sound design by Elise Kermani.
Here’s an irony that I caught onto this time: Although each little bit of movement material is made of stops and starts—a swipe here, a scoop there, a little peck on the cheek that’s almost hidden—putting these hundreds of puzzle pieces together has created a pleasant sense of ongoingness that you can just roll with. Everything You See casts a soft, intimate spell.
Last year, when I was just realizing about this spell, this is what I wrote.
You can never see all that happens in Everything You See. You experience the two simultaneous planes of dancing no matter which side you choose. Sometimes I think the audience might see it this way: The dancing in front of you is in Technicolor and the dancing behind the screen is in Sepia. (Lighting is by Carol Mullins.) Or maybe the first side is the present and the far side is the past…a memory. Kermani’s sound track, with its snatches of song and sound effects, encourages this feeling of memory.
The best way to see Everything You See at ADI is to sit on one side on Friday night and the other side on Saturday night. It’s the same piece, but you will see different, constantly changing dance-scapes. Click here for more info.