Cherie's time with Stopgap
Our Surrey University intern, Cherie, writes about her time working with Stopgap…
My time with Stopgap has officially come to an end. Being a placement student from the University of Surrey, I started in October and have stayed on working with Stopgap for longer than my original internship length and I have loved every step of my journey. I have learnt and been involved in so much, from office work to teaching and being involved with both Youth Companies, taking part in CPD's, Artificial Thing's premiere and even shifting set around at the lock up - (which is pretty tough!)
Everyone at Stopgap has made me feel so welcome and they are very easy to get along with - not once did I feel like the “intern”.
I feel privileged to have been a part of Stopgap who have truly offered and given me more than I could ever ask for. I had never really been in an inclusive environment before (apart from some youth group sessions as part of my mini placement), so I was nervous, but soon settled in and learnt all about inclusive dance.
During my time at Stopgap I was lucky enough to take part in company class, which was very beneficial for my technique. However, it also taught me about adaptation and translation of movement, which is so important being involved in an integrated group. This allowed me to witness how Nadenh and Laura adapt movement as wheelchair users but I also got the chance to translate Nadenh and Laura's movement, which was something I had never done before. I really enjoyed the fact that when I was translating the movement I had the chance to think myself and translate the movement in my own way so it was personal to me.
I have been involved in CPD's, Inclusive residencies, part of the marketing/merchandise team for the tour of Artificial Things, Stopgap’s first Spring Lab, community platforms and have even done the technical queues for The Awakening. However my favourite time is working with Stopgap’s Youth Companies each week and performing with them. There are two Youth Companies, one based in Guildford, of a higher age level and one based in Farnham. I love the movement we create and the talent and enthusiasm they all have. It has been wonderful to see how much they have grown and improved over the time I have been here as well. The best thing is seeing their smiles after a performance and seeing how much they love dancing and performing, it brings me so much joy.
I have always been good working with children and young adults (being the oldest out of 5 helps), but I failed to see how much I really wanted to be a teacher until I started working with Stopgap and the Youth Companies. I definitely want to carry on attending the companies to keep learning and picking up knowledge that is needed to teach an integrated group.
I am sad that my time with Stopgap has come to an end but I am thankful for everything. I will still be on the scene working as Student Liaison Officer for Stopgap when I return to University in October, making sure that Stopgap have rehearsal spaces for Open Class, Youth group and promoting the great work this Company does.
Thanks to Stopgap I now know where I want to go: to be involved with teaching and assisting integrated groups.