I study exertion, exhaustion, effort and error. I design punishingly tiring dances in order to paint an aggressively tactile portrait of the female body. By subjecting my dancers to looping, accumulating movement patterns, I hope to help the viewer to separate out the dance’s form from its dancers: one is a blueprint; the others are its foot soldiers. Through repetition, I inscribe spaces with great looming shapes: just as a ball makes ‘an arc’ through the sky, I imagine my dances in terms of their fleeting architecture. My work is durational. Over time, dancers are asked to continue to inscribe these aesthetic ideas, these shapes, until they begin to fail in their execution of the movement sequences. By asking bodies to come genuinely up against an edge like this, an ‘I can’t anymore’ moment, I hope to give viewers a sense of closeness, intimacy, with the performers, and to feel a kind of kinesthetic sympathy with them. If the repetitive inscription of shapes in space is an abstracting action, the failure of the dancers to continue to inscribe them is a humanizing one. To me, this ‘edge,’ this place where the body begins to fail, is both gory and sweet (as is the life of the human body). And particularly because women are often perceived in terms of imaginary shapes, I take care to present female bodies that are undeniable in their physicality. If I am successful in my attempts to use kinesthetic sympathy to bring the viewer inside the experience of the performer, I want to be sure that the transmission from performer to viewer is one of sweat and hot breath, of hunger, endorphin states, and falling to skid on one’s knees. I want to be sure that the transmission is of the blood and guts of the body, and not the shapes it makes.
Sophie Sotsky is a Brooklyn-based dancer and choreographer. Most recently, Sophie was a 2016/2017 Fresh Tracks artist at New York Live Arts. Sophie has also recently received support from the Work Up program at Gibney Dance, Salem Art Works, and the GO! Emerging Artist Commissioning Program at the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. Sophie has shown dance works at the CUCALORUS Film Festival in North Carolina, Food for Thought at Danspace Project, The Tank, The Brick, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, the CURRENT SESSIONS, Movement Research at the Judson Church, the Panoply Performance Laboratory, the Center for Performance Research (CPR), Soundance Studio Theater, AUNTS, and other venues. Sophie teaches Contemporary Forms at Gibney Dance, and also enjoys teaching dance, yoga and movement workshops widely.