IMPRESSIONS: Vicky Shick and Dancers’ “next to the sink” at Danspace Project
February 7, 2019
Choreography: Vicky Shick with the dancers
Sound Construction: Jon Kinzel // Costumes: Naoko Nagata // Set Design: Seline Baumgartner
Dancers: Jodi Bender, Jennifer Lafferty, Mina Nishimura, Jimena Paz, Vicky Shick
Within the sacred sanctuary of St. Mark’s Church, visual artist Seline Baumgartner and choreographer Vicky Shick accentuate connectedness and warmth within the architecture of human relationships. Through a spattering of tableaux, next to the sink explores fragility and unexpected intimacy.
On a performing space sprinkled with draped tables and chairs, plants, and burlap curtains, Jennifer Lafferty casually begins a solo that sets up a detailed nonchalance, which permeates the work. Her movements are sculptural yet amorphous. She moves in and out of ambiguity and detail seamlessly, like sand cascading into a cast. This introspection appears repeatedly throughout the piece in duets and trios. Dancers ebb and flow through interactions as if they are struggling to settle into their unions. Jimena Paz and Mina Nishimura shift awkwardly against each other as if they are trying to relax on a couch while watching a movie. Joined in another moment by Lafferty and Jodi Bender, the quartet ties themselves up with a rope as they attempt to traverse the performance space.
Most striking is the movement quality of dancers Bender, Nishimura, Paz, Lafferty, and Shick. Each uses only what muscular tension is necessary to complete a task. Skeletal movements of soft angles and supported postures suddenly release in a circling wrist or dropping torso. Energy flows like breath.
Structurally, the work vacillates between moments of stillness and repetition that are just short of uncomfortable, making it meditative rather than boring. Highly detailed movement passages contrast with minimalist, more pedestrian sections, mirroring Jon Kinzel’s score. Songs as powerful and recognizable as Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” deconstruct into rhythmic soundscapes, which fade into silence and then build again. During the moments of quiet, the smallest actions are highlighted by shiny Mylar fabric that’s been tied around the dancers’ waists or draped over chairs. As hips shimmy and feet shuffle, the Mylar creases and crinkles, creating its own musical score.
Shick is committed to revealing the passion of the performers who are the heart of her work. She enables them to present their unique nuances while maintaining the accuracy of form. As sound and movement recede and surge, the lights fade. The performers finally accept that this is the place where they fit in.