GUEST BLOG - Bill and Bobby

Helen Bendell, this weeks Guest blogger, writes about her experience researching and developing Stopgap’s newest outdoor work, 'Bill and Bobby', commissioned by National Theatre: Performance 24th August 2014.

If I had been told that I was to spend two weeks exploring tap, contemporary and tango dance I would have been ecstatic. But in a bath tub? Only Stopgap’s 'Bill and Bobby' could pay tribute to star relationships through the style of a bygone era in such an individual way. Spending time researching the likes of Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and Judy Garland, how could you be nothing but inspired to dance!
As someone who has had a break from dance it has been a challenge getting back into the swing of it, but attending Stopgap’s Spring Lab gave me a great grounding in Stopgap’s techniques. I am very familiar with Lucy’s style having grown up training with her, so being her body double has been energetic test of my memory. Although I am not as effortlessly dynamic an artist as she is, her choreography has reinvigorated my dance skills and I have loved every second. Working with Sir Dave Toole has simply been brilliant. He is so grounded and I find his movement hypnotising (a great opportunity to witness this for yourself is his solo in 'Bill and Bobby'). Devising unique partner work with him and Lucy has been very organic; some fantastic character filled duets feature in 'Bill and Bobby' (I know I am biased but it really is a must see!). Both are a complete pleasure to work with - I have laughed so much during this process. Who knew spending two weeks in a bath tub with Lucy Bennett and Sir Dave Toole could be so much fun!

Next stop for me is a research and development week with Tom Thomasson for a new integrated physical theatre company I am founding. As an emerging artist, I’m looking forward to exploring some ideas for a rural tour. All this is still in the early stages but watch this space!


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