We talk to Zack Licitis about his dance journey through earlier days of learning Hip Hop dance at Youth ARC from Fabrice, all the way to now residing in Melbourne and continuing his dance passions. Zack is an ambitious and driven young person who came to Youth ARC for many years and was always a fantastic human who would bring a tonne positive vibes and encouragement to those around him. Joel, Mel and Zack discuss how to do the robot and encourage people to try something new!
First of all, how’s Iso-life in this Covid situation going for you Zack?
Good, tired, in isolation! Same as everyone else really! haha. But no really I’m good, I’m healthy and everyone I love is healthy, it’s great.
You’ve been apart of Youth ARC for many years now, what’s your first memory of being there, is that where your dance journey started?
My first memory of dance actually didn’t start at Youth ARC, it started with me going to a music store in the city, wanting to create music and that sort of stuff! It was probably like five years ago now, but anyway they recommended Youth ARC to me. So I went down and did some beat stuff. I think I remember seeing Fabrice and Patrick on the old dance stage down there and thinking, “I want to give that a try!”. So I waited until it all quieted down at about five-ish, or an hour before you guys normally close-up, and just mucked around on the stage and then Mel actually came over and suggested I could take Fabrice’s dance classes!
So that’s how it all started?
Yeah, I took a couple of Fabrice’s classes, I think maybe in total over the last five years about two or three. Then I ended up doing stuff at home, like watching Youtube and then I started taking control of the majority of the music at Youth ARC for about two years.
What’s your style of dance?
I started doing a bit of Hip Hop, urban sort of stuff with Fabrice but then I went into animation and popping which is basically like being a robot! Then Joel taught me some stuff and I just kept experimenting from there and haven’t really stopped.
Tell us about the robot, how does it come together and were there any challenges to learning it along the way?
When I first started practicing, I thought I really liked how I felt, but then I started to film myself and I realized it wasn’t what I thought it would look like! Haha. Other than that it was mainly Youtube video tutorials and lots of practice, but it always felt fun. Like working without working. Popping in itself is just the contacting of muscles to give that impact motion. For Animation, I think of more shapes and stuff like that which gives more lines, making it look more anatomical.
Tell us about your performance experiences?
I didn’t feel like I had many, but you guys at Youth ARC would always say, “oh hey the Mall Showcase is coming up and we’re looking for performers, would you like to be in it?!”, and I would just jump in and say “sure why not!” haha. So yeah, I did a lot of the Mall Showcases as a performer. I also did stuff as a performer in college after Youth ARC I started dancing in year nine. Then in year 11 and year 12 I studied dance, officially opening up Rosny College’s skate park with a performance too. That was a fun one! Then it was down to dance performance with the actual dance subject I was doing at school as well.
You got connected with a dance studio along the way, tell us about that?
Yeah, of course Eternal Dance Studio! I’m wearing their jumper now, haha. That was through Angela who was my subject teacher for dance at college who recommended ballet to me. Then Jarrod who was in the same class as me at Eternal, did stuff with Drill Dance Company, and so I got recommended to them. Then Fabrice is teaching there aswell so I asked him about it. I ended up going there for a year, which was a pretty short time, but they were all about community and stuff like that, which was nice. It just felt like another family, a dance family! It was really inclusive of everyone which was really nice.
Tell us about your biggest hopes for dance, where would you like to see it taking you?
Oh geezus! That’s a question and a half, haha. I have a mindmap of what I want to happen, but I obviously didn’t anticipate this whole lockdown situation, so school hasn’t been on for about a month at the moment. So depending on how all this turns out, will depend on what I’m doing at the beginning of next year. Overall, I want to perform in Melbourne with a show called Matador. It’s a show about fusion, which is my favourite sort of thing! It combines Commercial, Hip-Hip, Contemporary, sort of everything into one. I want to do shows like that! I also want to teach and start my own company and school!
Who are your biggest idols?
I think I’ve taken bits and pieces from everyone who has taught me. For example when I’m doing improve, mucking around or being a bit crazy, it’s when I would most be like Fabrice and do what he taught me, haha. I take that on and make it my own by adding things like shapes and mess around with musicality! My whole idea of dance and what I always believe is that anyone can dance. There’s not really any bad movement ‘cos normally when you do something bad it helps you make something better! You might even like a tiny bit of that and then it helps you form something else that you really like! Which is kind of what Eternal Dance teaches, that anyone can dance. So I’ve kind of taken from everyone.
Is dance choreography something you do now?
Haha, Aaah I still rather improv ‘cos it’s just something I’ve done for ages and it’s what I’m most comfortable with. First time I got introduced to that was at Eternal and with Fabrice in his classes. At school we do that a lot. It’s stressful ‘cos people teach differently, everyone has to look the same, someone’s movement on someone else body will look completely different on my body! The obviously there’s different levels of expertise between people as well. It’s stressful but it’s still fun and it’s a good challenge. It’s one of those things that for me personally I’ve had to take head-on and just figure out. I still much rather improv, which in Melbourne is the opposite to a lot of other people! ‘Cos they’re coming from dance schools and that sort of thing so they’re used to choreography and that sort of stuff. They find improv like how I find choreography! Haha. It’s really interesting that dynamic; coming from a place where everyone learned to improv versus starting from a place with choreography. Then when you’re told to, “just dance”, it’s really hard.
What would you say to people you think they can’t dance or done have a bone of rhythm in their body?
That’s the thing, I think it’s learnt and I’ve taught people improv before where we’ve just taken movements that they’ve learnt in choreography and just mashed up their favourite parts. That’s technically improv. It’s just about experimenting. Even walking, you can make something out of that! Anyone can dance when you think about it; you just have to get creative with it. People are often scared to try something new to because they think they’re going to be bad at it, but you’re going to bad at anything you start! When you start something you’ve never done before, you’re probably going to be bad! That’s how it rolls. But if you keep doing it, you’ll get better. That’s the most important thing, whether it’s about dance or anything else. Just keep doing it.