Holly on week 1 at Stopgap

Holly is working with Stopgap for 6 months as Education & Arts Admin Intern. Read about her first week here!

Holly Page blog

This week I have been busy getting to know the Stopgap team, the youth groups and also students from the Orpheus centre. I have been learning about Sg2 and taking part in a number of classes. For me this week has been very varied and allowed me to explore new and diverse working environments.  After spending the first day reading and researching the company I had more of an insight into integrated dance groups.

On Wednesday I attended the University of Surrey along with Hannah, Siobhan, Tomos, Nadenh and placement student Cherie. For this class I took part in the technique phrases and moved in a space shared with diverse dancers. I found the class enjoyable, physical and rewarding but additionally it was interesting to observe how each body adapts to movement, finding solutions and new pathways to investigate.

When working with the youth group the exercises came from a more creative viewpoint. The stimulus for the technique would often be associated with imagery for example; moving like seaweed underwater. This worked really well as individual responses and personalities came through and I enjoyed watching a variety of interpretations.  After technique class we moved onto the groups’ new choreography which had been started recently. Nadenh set a creative task using movement shapes and space around the room.  This developed as Tomos added another layer using time limitations when travelling for example counting down from 10 to 1. By adding each idea at a time the dancers grasped the challenge and the piece could now start to be structured.   

Thursday I spent time researching national curriculum objectives and ofsted priorities for educational workshop needs.  I also took part in the Farnham Youth Company which consisted of a fun and imagery based warm up, technique, travel exercises and then choreographic work.  The images again worked effectively in keeping the movement enjoyable and allowed for personal input. Siobhan would ask questions based on the images so each dancer could provide their ideas of what the image may be. For instance 'how does a snake move?'

This idea would then evolve into the travelling and could be deepened by adding the use of levels and dynamics.  Other images such as ice melting and then freezing were used in one of the technique phrases which gave the students time to vary their approach by for example softening before sharpening the movement.  The groups theme for their piece is snow and we split up into groups to create phrases based on this theme. My group used actions like:

Being cold and shivering; big snowy mountains; snowy mountains start to melt to floor; snow angels; snowmen growing taller and spinning snowflakes

This created a flowing phrase which we can continue to practice and develop next week.

I spent Friday morning working at the Orpheus centre in Caterham with Siobhan and Hannah. To start with we had a group warm up with actions that concentrated on one body part at a time.  We then moved onto stretching and using partners to push against. This gave us the opportunity to walk around the space and interact with different partners each time.

Siobhan took class and we worked on a few technique exercises. We then got into pairs and travelled across the space using imagery such as circles, straight lines and elastic bands.  This deepened with the use of dynamic and levels which each dancer explored in their own way.  The class moved on to an exercise in a circle which moved in and out making the dancers aware of the bodies around them.

The group worked on their choreography which uses the theme of stars. I helped one student with a duet as their partner was missing. We went over the movements a few times and tried to stay in unison.  Then Siobhan started structuring the work so each duet gets a chance to perform. The group worked really well throughout and shared a great appreciation for the piece which they were bringing to life.

Overall I have had a fantastic and rewarding first week at Stopgap and I am looking forward to learning more and seeing each group’s choreography progress. 

Holly Page

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