I have chosen to write briefly about three Stopgap methods and within these I hope I can share how our process’ lead to identity traits that run through the company from our work with children and young people to our professional touring artists. It will also give you a little insight into what goes on in the studio and in my AD head when immersed in the world of Stopgap!
One of my favourite aspects of Stopgaps’ creation process is the hidden stories that are revealed and how they often find their way into the choreography.
We’ve had stories of final goodbyes, first loves, the moment you know you have done something really bad and Chris’ favourite – ghost stories!
I often think back to the day when we discovered the end for Artificial Things. It was a usual day in the studio; David, Amy and Laura were working on a trio in which Amy was playing an invisible piano (never made the cut), Chris was gluing images of dictators into his character’s scrapbook and Dave was in a dark corner researching Elvis on his ipad (a usual day).
I decided to catch up with what Dave was doing and we of course we began discussing favourite Elvis clips and conspiracy theories. This led us to chatting about our fathers and their influence on our work (Elvis is not my dad). He then told me his father was a singer and he remembered his father singing in the working man’s clubs of his home town. In that moment I saw where some of Dave’s talent had come from, I could see his theatrical inheritance; his artistic history and I wondered how far that talent went back in time. Dave then told me his father had only known Dave the postman not Dave Toole the performer or Dave Toole the dancer that shook up the dance world.
In that moment we decided to make a solo for Dave and his dad.
I know many choreographers work like this, and I know stories make up many a piece of choreography. But for too long now the stories of disabled people have been told by others or have remained hidden.
I love stories and inclusive contemporary practice is full of them. There is nothing Stopgap likes more than a hot drink, some cake and a story.
Integration = reinvention + revelation = Stopgap Dance Company