Incantatio (2020, Stage)

Incantatio is an immersive performance event that brings audiences into the heart of a hypnotic ritual. Seemlessly infusing musicians and dancers through inclusive choreography, Richard Dubgnon's rhythmically charged score will take you on a transcendental experience.

Dancers and musicians perform intermingled with each other. Image from R&D phase.

Incantatio is a collaborative performance between five dancers from Stopgap and five string musicians led by the solo musician Matthew Sharp, who came up with the initial concept of this project. We are looking to premiere and tour the work in Spring 2020.

The running time of the performance will be 45-60 mins, and the immersive nature of this work means audience numbers have to be limited to 50-60 people per performance. There will therefore be 2-3 performances per day.

For more information about this work, please contact us.

More about the project... the story so far

Matt and Stopgap Dance conducted an R&D in 2015 to see how music and dance can become integrated in a meaningful way. Matt (who is a multi-instrumentalist but first and foremost a cellist) was the one who came up with the initial concept. He told us that the act of making sound is innately physical – in Greek, the word 'melos' means both 'melody' and 'limb', and the collaborators all agreed to explore this fundamental connection between sound making and movement further. There was a sense that a genuine fusion of musicians and dancers could create a compelling and visceral live experience for audiences. We set out trialling our ideas to the hypnotic score of Incantatio by the Swiss French composer Richard Dubugnon, which resulted in this project adopting the same title.

The project gave Stopgap's Artistic Director Lucy Bennett a great opportunity to challenge her creative process. Her inclusive choreography is designed to bring dancers with contrasting ways of moving together into a cohesive whole, and Incantatio allowed her the chance to expand this inclusive methodology by integrating the Stopgap dancers with the string musicians. If this could be done successfully, it would teach her how to use her choreographic processes beyond the immediate remit of contemporary dance. Stopgap saw this project as potentially enabling Lucy and Stopgap to collaborate with a much wider range of artists and performers in the future.

By the end of our R&D the collaborators had created an immersive performance where the audience were in and amongst the performers, feeling the music and dance with their own skin up close. We found that the fusion of the two artforms happening in such close proximity made the experience more genuine and powerful for the audience. Richard Dubugnon's score heightened the sense of unification because his composition is rhythmically charged and has transcendental qualities.

Dancers and musicians sitting amongst the audiences. Image from R&D phase