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 – 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


Paralympics opening & closing ceremonies – Hannah

On the 29th August I went to London with my family to see the Opening of the Paralympics. It was spectacular and overwhelming because there were thousands of people surrounding us. When we got to our seats, we sat down and watched the whole show until the morning of the next day. The show was extraordinary spectacular, the dances were absolutely wonderful, so was the music, it was so beautiful and heartbreaking.

In some of the dances I saw Laura Jones, Rick Rodgers, Dave Toole, and last but not least John Kelly with his band doing the music. When I saw Laura dancing she was incredibly beautiful working with the other wheelchair users. I did see Laura at the bottom of the audience going somewhere and that was the only chance I saw her close up from our seats. When I saw Dave Toole, he touched my heart because he danced like a beautiful swan; he reminded me of that song Eva Cassidy sang ‘Fields of Gold’. When Rick Rodgers was dancing, I couldn’t believe how he would dance on stilts up in the air that beautifully.

Laura Jones also works with Stopgap as a professional dancer aka Dance Captain for the Paralympics. I work very closely with Laura when we teach dance in workshops and training when we have rehearsals with StopGap. I was working with Dave Toole before for one of Stopgap’s old rep ‘Tracking’ as guest stars. Dave Toole is one of the Acquaintances with StopGap Dance Company.

My dad had filmed everything on his video camera so we could watch it again but the close-ups though, my Mum did the same as well but she was taking photos instead. We also saw the Queen close-up to but I saw it on my Mum’s camera because we were far away from them.

On the 9th September, I went to see the Closing of the Paralympics with family friends. That was extraordinary too and overwhelming as well. The dances were amazing and wonderful, saw CandoCo dancing as well. They were amazing and it told a story throughout the piece. The artists who were there singing their songs were Rihanna, Coldplay, and Jay Z. I remembered most of the words to their songs and was dancing along when I was sitting down. The Closing finished late as well until the morning of the next morning.

If you’re interested to watch the Paralympics Opening and the Closing one more time, here are the links:



Hannah Sampson

Workshop at Yorkshire Dance (with Dave Toole!)

On the 11th and 12th October; Lucy Bennett, Sho Shibata and I went up to Leeds to do a pre-audition workshop for a replacement dancer for the main StopGap Team. When we got to Leeds we all stayed in Travelodge so that we could do the workshop on the day after. The workshop was for a dancer to work with StopGap Dance Company and to get to know us as a Company.

At the workshop at Yorkshire Dance, Lucy and I met an old acquaintance that worked with StopGap before; his name is Dave Toole. He was a guest star dancer for one of our old reps which was ‘Tracking.’  Lucy, Dave and I taught the whole workshop which was based on a Company Class that StopGap does as a Company. The participants we taught were dancers and Students from University’s or Dance companies. The workshop was great and everyone had fun dancing with us. Everyone in the end was asking questions to us about StopGap’s work as a Dance Company.

Hannah Sampson

(Dave Toole in Tracking)

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

Trespass 2012 – Hannah

Trespass is a dance piece that had been choreographed by 2 professional choreographers, Rob Tannion and Thomas Noone. Trespass has 2 pieces all in one; each piece is about an hour and a half for both sections of the Trespass piece. The two pieces are called ‘Within’ and ‘Splinter’.

Within is about a lone dancer where she faces her imaginary dream with a lot of loud dramatic effects and hardcore drama involving the other dancers as a four. This piece makes me feel like it’s on a 3D TV screen with really loud dramatic music blaring out at you. What I think about this piece is that it is a beautiful amazing story which tells you about a lone dancer. I’m guessing in the piece itself, all five dancers has their own dreams where they dance continuously until the end.

Splinter is a Japanese themed tradition where they bring hope, fortune, happiness, joy and war hatred. This piece makes me feel blessed and passionate about the story line plot itself where it can take you into a fantasy adventure of different words. This piece’s plot helps you understand more on what the eye can see through the dancers dancing.

Here are the venues they will be performing ‘Trespass’ at this year in 2012:

  • Salisbury  – 22 Feb: Salisbury Arts Centre, Bedwin Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP1 3UT – £11 (concession: £9)
  • Canterbury – 8 and 9 March: Marlowe Studio, The Friars, Canterbury, Kent CT1 3AS – £12 (concession: £11)

Hannah Sampson

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

SPUN Productions at Liberty Festival – Hannah

On the 3rd of September the StopGAP dancers were invited to do a performance on our piece ‘SPUN Productions’. When we all got there it was jam-packed with thousands of people and performance rehearsals. The weather was really hot and light windy which was perfect on the day. We performed our piece ‘SPUN Productions’ in the afternoon and the evening. Our performances were at 1.30pm and 6.45pm.

We performed by the London Waterloo train station, nearby the National Theatre. Our space was next to the National Theatre where there was a café, the river and the bridge.

When we performed the audience loved it and participated very well. At the end of the day people came up to us giving smiles, compliments and commented on our performances and our character insights in the piece itself.

While performing our piece we had an electric song and script board where our script lines and songs appeared. We didn’t know whether the audience were singing along or following our lines, but we all noticed some of the people dancing and mingling around like they were enjoying the piece full of comedy and chaotic drama.

Hannah Sampson