Welcoming Christian - part one

Introducing our latest dance artist, Christian! Here’s his first blog from his first few days spent with the team…

Christian is Stopgap’s newest member. He is a recent graduate from Northern School of Contemporary Dance and their performing company, Verve. He will be in the studio working towards Stopgap’s new production, The Enormous Room.
Here Christian talks about working with Dan Watson, a former Stopgap artist, who often returns to share his learning’s on contact dance/improvisation: Click here to see Dan’s blogpage.

The perfect beginning to my time at Stopgap! I felt very welcomed into the Stopgap family this week and sharing the room with such a friendly, highly skilled and sensitive group allowed me to settle and explore with ease. Though just joining the team, I felt very comfortable throughout the session, and I feel it will only grow from now on.

First stop, 'Contact' with Dan Watson...

Eye contact can feel uncomfortable, however I feel it is something that becomes easier as time goes on. When moving in addition to this, I found that my focus was taken by where our limbs were  going and I had to remind myself to return to the eyes of Chris. The attempt to allow movement to happen was tough but I began to focus on the small movements within the touch and use them to guide my body. As the task progressed there were less restrictions however I feel that certain instructions such as, indulge and do anything you want to do can be restrictive in the sheer possibility for movement. I am beginning to think that letting go will be a reoccurring theme! The concept of letting things happen is, and I think may always be, a tricky subject. What is honest in movement? Is honesty something that is seen differently in the eyes of everyone? We had a very in depth conversation and as Dan rightly says, there isn't a right way or wrong way, only what happens within the moment. With this in mind, I felt much less inhibited when letting my body converse physically with my partner.

Having the eyes shut gives a certain vulnerability but also great strength. It can be very disorienting but on the other hand there is much freedom within yourself and from outside judgement. There is a certain safety between partners when in duets with eyes shut. It was particularly beneficial to move away from a compositional focus but to focus on the touch between each other and where it can lead rather than purposefully physicalising, I will go here.

A comment that Dan made, 'What you are doing is enough', made me reflect throughout the session. I realise that I have a tendency to always show that I am working hard and being fully engaged with the task; that I am doing 'well', but in actual fact your approach in whatever capacity to each task is enough because it is an exploration without a product of 'I must learn/accomplish this'.

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