Summer Schools

August was an important month for me, not only because we rehearsed SPUN Productions for the performance outside the National Theatre, as part of Liberty Festival, but also because I had the pleasure of leading two Summer schools.

The first Summer school was housed at the Ashcroft Arts Centre in Fareham, and was aimed at young teens with disabilities wanting to have fun through dance. So I took along my bottle of bubbles, my pieces of paper with different shapes doodled onto them; and my rubbery face to pull and contort in a way that has become somewhat of a trademark in StopGAP! 😛


After 4 days of learning new ways of moving through different stimuli, we showcased our hard work to the participants parents, and were happy to find that not only had we built up a new movement vocabulary, but had created a short dance too.


The second Summer school took place at The Point in Eastleigh, a venue StopGAP knows very well having not only taught there at the Summer school the year before, but also Premiering StopGAP’s latest stage production Trespass.  The Point offers a weeklong course aimed at teaching participants about integrated dance practice.


I was asked to plan and lead the week, with Anna Pearce as my assistant (a partnership I look forward to continuing with StopGAP’s Youth Dance Group every Wednesday. But I digress).  Throughout the week we looked at tasks aimed at creating movement whilst working alongside one another in an inclusive manner. Each participant brought a wide range of abilities to collaborate and produce exciting movement material that I found a genuine pleasure to watch.


It was thrilling watching the next generation of contemporary dancers work with each other in an integrated way. After all it’s a natural thing.


Some of the StopGAP Youth Group members took part in the week, and having taught them for almost 3 years (through YG or workshops) it was amazing to see them come out of their comfort zones and grow in confidence.


The week’s tasks culminated in a sharing/performance to friends and family; and were met with loud applause and happy faces. Judging by the standard of dancing and the level of understanding in such a short amount of time, I’d say the week was a success. One that I look forward to re-creating next year…


Spun Productions – Chris

The start of new outdoor work has been exciting working with new people such as working alongside Tom and Tomos because I like the way we combine together. As a team the new work reminds me of  something I’ve seen on stage such as a wardrobe full of clothes and different colour tops and other dress makers. My favourite scene has to be the main phrase because it makes me feel elevated and excitment plus I do like the scene where we stand still waiting to hear the results are coming in. It does make me feel like we are on the X factor and Britain’s Got Talent and it makes me think something is about to happen or a massive standing ovation. For me I do like new fresh work, and something I need to learn and take something from it; it will help me to be a better dancer and choreographer.

Joseph Muriithi – Placement week 1

One weeks later. Here at stopgap, I am glad that I came for this placement; the dancers are actively involved in their day to day, the office run on the clock, I love order and that you see at stopgap. And they all seem to want me to drink tea a lot. 😀

Joy St Denis – Placement week 2

I am on placement with StopGAP Dance Company for 30 weeks as part of my 3rd year at Surrey University.

I came to StopGAP because I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to work in, and this company offered a chance to try everything.

I have been here just under a month and already I feel apart of the company. The dancers and office staff are so welcoming all my fears flew away within a couple of days. I love it here.

Over the next few months I will be deciding what area I want to do my major project on. This project will be for StopGAP but will also count as part of my uni work. For example a project I could work on might be creating a resource centre so other people can use our resources. Or it may be working on administration, marketing and all general organisation for a new outdoor piece.

But for the moment I am enjoying joining in company class every morning, working in the office and helping out at all the workshops and Youth groups.

New Member of the Team – by Abi Reeve

As the newest member of the StopGAP team I just thought I would say hello and let you know how excited I am to be working with the fantastic company that is StopGAP!

It has been a rollercoaster couple of weeks since I started what with the Trespass Premiere – the dancers all worked so hard and the production was just breathtaking. Since then it is all hands on deck for the tour and the first show at Dartington last week was a great success.

I am really looking forward to the coming months and really getting to know the company – it’s such an exciting time here we are all geared up and ready for action!

More posts to follow I am sure with news and updates from the StopGAP office!