Artistic Director Lucy discusses where Stopgap is heading in these times of isolation and Covid-19
Our Evolution of Inclusion under Covid19
We have recently had a moment to pause and check on our inner compasses, thanks to Assistant Artistic Director (maternity cover) Thomas Goodwin leading his own professional development workshop ‘North Star ‘online.
It was a little like having a craniosacral therapy session but for the ambitions, curiosities, and dreams in us. . . and similarly to when I have my craniosacral sessions, I wasn’t sure if anything was happening or working but in the days after – the reflections become clear and settled.
So, here is where the pause let my thoughts wander…
If there is one thing Stopgap teaches its employees, it is resilience. So, when the Covid Lockdown swamped us – like others in our industry we got on with it. Our online classes were up and running within days and we attempted to continue with creative process’. Our teaching course ‘seedbed’ continued in sorts and we tried to maintain some as semblance of what ‘was before’ for our apprentice artists Sg2.
After a month – myself, Thomas Goodwin and Senior Artist Amy Butler began to realise we needed to evolve in this new environment and not simply cope or muddle through. It is in these times I find myself grateful to be in the creative industries and in a company like Stopgap. From its inception with Vicki Balaam and Dave Toole, Stopgap has revelled in adapting and then translating, translating, and then evolving, evolving, and then upgrading and all with inclusion as its driver.
“So, what’s evolving?”
Currently our sense of inclusion is not about all dancing together at a set time in a set place, our inclusion has become less about translating the practice of others and it has become less about moving forward as a group of diverse dancers towards the same aim.
Our inclusion has become about self-practice within a group of diverse dancers.
Our artists are now practicing when they can, where they can and for as long as they can. Our apprentices are being encouraged to follow their curiosity in their own time. They are guided by Thomas who invites them to trial a task, research for a duration, explore their interest and share with the rest of the company when they are ready. Written down in front of me, this most certainly does not look like a dance course I recognise, but it is quite simply teaching one of the best strengths a dancer needs – self-discipline.
Self-discipline in self practice – right now is what will support us to cope with the current situation. But I can also acknowledge it has evolved our inclusive practice. Lockdown has given us permission to really support the individual artist at their pace in their habitat and with their choice of direction.
I am not saying this is the future for inclusive dance or Stopgap, but I am saying we are building a bridge to the future by learning from this restriction.
When we do return to the studio together, I hope we will all be more established as individual artists, creative and comfortable in our own skin and we will therefore be able to support one and other better because of this.