One of Stopgap’s newest dancers, Meri, talks about what it’s like to join the company and her experiences over the past few months…
3 months ago I joined Stopgap Dance Company - it has been my first experience working with an inclusive company. Somehow it feels new to me and somehow not at all, I will explain this more precisely…
Of course, in the first weeks of being with the company I was amazed with what my colleagues where doing, especially Dave Toole, Nadenh Poan and Hannah Sampson who are incredible dancers. It’s always so nice to see how different bodies move. Because of this, pretty early on into my time with Stopgap, I started realising that actually I didn’t feel any difference between working with the Stopgap dancers and dancers I had worked with previously, who were not from an inclusive company.
The fact that contemporary dance, nowadays, is not really following any sort of patterns of bodies or ways of moving (thank God!), allow us to see all types of people on stage, completely different from one another all moving in completely different ways and just being themselves.
In order to be a dancer today, I think you need to, of course develop many skills from many different techniques and develop different qualities, but additionally, what you really need is to know who you are, how you want to move, and be clear and confident about it.
That’s exactly what Stopgap is about for me, a company that believes in personalities, and believes that difference is what enables us to create the most. Because after, each of those different personalities will be able to share their “unique” way and teach “their thing” to the others and here is where the evolution as a group starts, a healthy company spirit is created.
I am personally very interested in healthy processes since I am studying natural medicine and neuroscience and I am trying to figure out how all that interacts with dance. So to experience healthy ways of working is very nourishing for me. In these kinds of processes, like the one I am experiencing now with Stopgap, you can see how the work evolves in a very coherent way that listens and communicates with the needs of each member of the team. Time is not a pressure, but a simple layer that is there and the creation process is not a suffering process, but just a step-by-step constructive way of day-to-day life.
This coherence, this simplicity, and attentive way of creating, I think gives a lot of consistence to the work. That’s why I am sure the result of The Enormous Room on stage is going to be great, because the work we are doing in the rehearsal space is like that.