Chris on working with Charlie Morrissey

Last week I was in a workshop with Charlie Morrissey and he led a dance workshop. He taught me some improvisation with a partner and to move and feel like there is someone with you while doing the movement,  like the other person who is close to you or finding a way to be connected with the mover who is improvising around.

In some places Charlie mentioned to me to find a lighter touch like a butterfly on the body and to be as close to your partner. For me I felt that I was in a dream or something has landed on me. It’s like feeling a soft snowflake has just touched me on my body. I also liked the lifting and weight sharing because it’s the sense of pouring the weight and floating in the sky.For me I think of breathing and finding the coordination within the body that I feel that I can let my arms float and to be free.

Learning from Charlie has really taught me new  things and also there is something there that I can teach other people. And to take away what I’ve learnt from Charlie. And it will make me a better dancer.

Chris Pavia


Artificial Things – Week 1 Video

We have been in the studio this week with choreographer Yoshifumi Inao creating part one of new work ‘Artificial Things’. Here is a small snippet of what we have been up to…

‘Artificial Things’ – Week 1: An Insight from the Artistic Director Lucy

This is the first creative process in which I am observing from the side of the studio, off of the dance floor and away from the sweaty heat of dancing/thinking/solving/dancing.

It is the first week of the creation of the new stage production ‘Artificial Things’ and we are working with the choreographer Yoshifumi Inao from Batsheva Dance Company. There is the familiar warmth of the dance studio, combined with a still air of focus and the quiet murmur of dancers searching for solutions.

For the first time I can sense both the nerves of the dancers and the anxiety of the choreographer; I can also see that both artists do not recognise each other’s fears and are feeling a little uneasy at the prospect of exploring each other’s unknown.

From my privileged studio corner I see the artistic team rise and fall, moment after moment; step forward and stumble back, time and again. They are striving to make sense of their collective unknown.

I see David, towering over Laura – climbing up and over her then gathering her close. He has always reminded me of a dancing bear, but during this week with Yoshi he has been liberated from his chains, and is moving with freedom whilst exploring the intricacies of dancing around the corners inside his skin.

I see Chris, open and curious – watching, waiting, wanting to communicate. He reaches out with strong arms and moves his skull, spine and tail through a thick air. Chris’ movement is like a heavy heartbeat – a metronome for his colleagues to follow.

Amy is poised, ready for action, eager to please – she knows her body well. There is lightness to Amy, as she hangs her movement high in the air and suspends from one shape to the next – delicately decorating the space with her skills & curls.

When I watch Laura at her best, I hear a distant Soprano singing. With her dark hair and dark eyes she is the Callas or Fonteyn. Always captivating the artist who is making; Laura’s movement is the unknown, and once past the fears of the first day, there is inevitably a ‘gold rush’.

‘A choreographer is only as good as their dancers’

Artificial Things – Creation Week 1

Hello there everybody!

Here are some photos taken during our first week in the studio working on ‘Artificial Things – Part 1’. Yoshifumi Inao has been the choreographer, whilst Chris Benstead has been composing the accompanying music. It has been a week filled with hard work, healthy eating, broken cables, noisy speakers, a lot of thinking and some killer bruises! We look forward more creating… watch this space!

ImageAmy and Indra, our ‘newbies’ working well together. 

ImageChris and David, our ‘oldies’ enjoy a post rehearsal stretch…(chat?)

ImageIndra helping Chris run through his solo section…

ImageThe full quartet

ImageThe production team get to watch a full run through

ImageTwo sides of the story… dancers vs production…

ImageHas Laura killed them all??

ImageYoshifumi steps in to demonstrate

ImageThe day where technology seemed to take over our lives

ImageLaura and David


ImageArtificial Things bruises…

ImageYoshifumi, David and Amy

Captured by the Dark (Resolution!)

Before the 10th December 2012, Chris had permission to do a Resolution piece. When we all got the news via email, we congratulated Chris to start working on his new piece ‘Captured by the Dark’. At that time, Lucy Bennett and I couldn’t wait to really show Chris’s work at The Place. A few days after, Tomos Young, a guest star freelancer worked with me and Chris to work on the piece’s creation and performances.

At the beginning of the Creation process, Chris and I went into work and started rehearsing on the solos. Chris was ill at the time, but we both got through rehearsals together. By then, Chris had an idea of a card game that was based around like ‘rebounds’, ‘shockwaves’, and ‘folding’ etc. I then made up a solo using these words I picked up and Chris had tweaked a few movements around.

When Tomos and I started working on the piece, Chris taught me and Tomos some phrases and sequences to put into the four sections. Around this time, Chris had a meeting with Sarah Gilmartin and Dougal Irvine (composer and lighting creators). That meeting went well and they both took everything that Chris wanted for music and lights.

During the Creation rehearsals, Tomos and I went through the sections, bit by bit, remembering our moves so we could run-through the piece. Also in the meantime Chris had to film the both of us on Tomos’s iPad for us so then Tomos can upload them on Facebook. Sometimes, in our rehearsals; we did have some moments when there were some ups and downs as well. When we found out from Rhoda McGaw theatre, they wanted me and Tomos to perform a 10 minute piece using what we’ve got; but at the same time; Tomos wasn’t feeling quite well either.

On the 15th January 2013, Tomos and I performed at The Place. When we all got there, Tomos and I rehearsed in the space and run-through the piece with lights and music. When the performance started, Tomos and I were first on and performed the piece. It felt good and excitedly well. After performing the piece, the audience loved and complimented how beautiful and gorgeous it was.

Hannah Sampson


Hannah’s Gyro blog

On the 3rd September Lucy, Chris, and I went to Mayford Center in Woking to do some Gyro with a Professional Trainer named Salvatore Lo Monaco. He went through some exercises with us that were based on technique, positioning and skills to work on. The problem was my right shoulder and I would have to find a balance between releasing and relaxing it. Chris needed his fluidity back and he would to have to find a way to bring it back into his body again.

In his work he uses imagery development to maintain on that particular body part; to understand that he uses words like ‘pushing away’, ‘exhaling and inhaling’, ‘releasing’, and ‘using the eyes’. These kinds of words help us to warm up when we do rehearsals at work.

If you want to arrange a session at Eden Spiral here is the point of contact, website link, and email:

Number: 07784 593 995



Hannah Sampson

SPUN Productions – Chris

I like the characters and the Camera crew because it makes me feel that my character JB takes the lime light.

In  our piece we have a GMTV scene, I like this  because it shows my character off. I imagine that Ben Shepard and Christine Bleakley are interviewing my character’s life and the story of JB and how he has had a short but wonderful career in music and will also be nominated for a Brit award.

I also like the new idea of having a TV in the living room scene while Dave is having a time of his life dreaming of fantasy tales in his dreams.

The new music by Jim Pinchen and voice overs work very well and it does link the piece together because it introduces the characters in Dave’s dream.  For me the music of the trio in the shoe shuffle really climaxes and I like dancing with David and Tomos.

I also see that Dave is living his life with Lu in the opening duet and later on in the new choreography. I do like the new set that includes wooden frames it gives the whole piece a stunning out come.


Chris Pavia

Sophie’s thoughts on Recruitment Workshops

From the dawn of 2012, StopGAP Dance Company will be opening their doors and inviting the curious to come wandering in. We are hosting a series of ‘Dancer Days’ up and down the country, not only to stretch the parameters of our little dancing bubble, but also with a view to recruiting a new dancer. After five happy years with the company, the winds of change are blowing me across the Atlantic to sample life on the West coast with my new Californian husband.

The ‘Dancer Days’ are an opportunity for StopGAP to meet dancers outside the adrenalin fuelled, sweaty palmed confines of an audition, and for curious and open-minded dancers to come along and meet the company. When I arrived five years ago as an access officer, it was not with the intention of eventually becoming a full-time performer with the company. I was a disillusioned dancer cum barmaid on whom risks were taken, and owing to fortuitous timing, opportunities given. Instinctively I seized them, and developed the deep-rooted passion for integrated dance and heartfelt responsibility for the company essential for any member of the team. Whether looking to recruit, or seeking employment, perhaps we don’t always know exactly what we are looking for, or what we need. What better time to call out for the curious and open-minded?

As an intimate company that spends a great deal of time together, it is essential that time is taken to find new team members. The group dynamic and often visceral relationship between the dancers is a unique and regularly celebrated element of our work. This cannot be plucked from thin air – or an audition alone! The balance of personalities in an artistic setting is a masterful kind of alchemy. Trust and intuition in abundance, combined with an imaginative and creative new dancer, could be the catalyst that allows the company to clamber to new heights, developing and refining their innovative and exemplary integrated practice (no apologies for the pressure new dancer!). We are entering a period of change, re-evaluating our progression, ambitions and our representation in the world we inhabit, time will be spent to ensure the ‘right’ person adds their voice to the chorus.

What a voyage creating the next season of rep will be, one that I personally hope will be rife with obstacles. I say this not because I will probably be sitting on the dock of the bay enjoying a clam chowder by that time, but because these obstacles are the heart and soul of our creations. Without restriction and resistance we are wading in a lukewarm paddling pool on a mild sunny day. It may feel nice but we aren’t getting far – it’s certainly no white water rafting in a lightening storm! Perhaps I am a little over-zealous with my metaphor but you know what I mean.

The creation of pioneering integrated work with StopGAP demands an expansive mind and a passion for problem solving. Blossoming in adversity is a skill necessary for the delivery of our education work also, throughout the year, by all the dancers. I was involved in a long term project that took me to Albania four times in the past year. A collaboration with the British Council, Help the Life and Vodafone Albania, we were asked to train professional Albanian dancers to teach inclusively and in turn form their own fledgling integrated companies across the country. Initially daunting, it was at times challenging, and constantly enlightening. Moments were lost in translation, and I grappled regularly with cultural divides and my own demons telling me to ‘do a fantastic job’. My eyes were opened, my inclusive practice improved, and my teaching scrutinized, explored and refined. It was a remarkable experience and ended with a surprise appearance on Albania’s ‘Dancing With The Stars’. Who’d have thought? Now there’s something to tell the grandchildren about.

There is an undertone of unpredictability and hilarity to our everyday interaction, but perhaps the most challenging times at StopGAP are in fact the humdrum days. When the nights are drawing in and it’s the same faces in the studio again and again, maybe we just need someone who will come in, put the kettle on, and then just get on with it.

Curious? You bring the biscuits, the doors are open!

Sophie Stanley

Hannah’s thoughts on play time with Charlotte Vincent

On the 17th and 18th of October we had a new choreographer called Charlotte Vincent. Charlotte was really good, helpful and understanding of the work in our company and us as dancers.

It was really interesting for us as dancers in the company to see how she uses her body and our dancers bodies and technique moving around. Charlotte led the workshop with us with good interpretation of how her company works together.

In a couple of years from now we are hoping we’re going to see her company and her as a choreographer putting together a dance piece for the professional dancers or for all dancers in the company.

Hannah Sampson

Shine On!! weekend – Hannah

On the 8th and 9th October it was the Shine On!! weekend. On both days we had a lot of fun dancing and playing around.

We had lots of young teenagers and adults. The support workers Kat Ball, Joy St’ Denis, David Willdridge, Anna Pearce and Chris Pavia really helped out the young dancers. Our young dancers had lots of  laughs and had done really good dancing as well. I was impressed with how they’ve worked hard.

On both days we started out with a class led by the StopGAP team. After class we all played games and danced around using props and pictures on animals, shadows and mats. By using these props and pictures the dancers had split themselves  into partners or groups to do a dance. By this time we all put everything together into one big show.

We showed our dance in front of our family and friends. They all enjoyed the show in the end.

Hannah Sampson