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


Hollie’s first week at StopGAP

Ever since I heard that I would be starting as the new Intern at StopGAP I have been anticipating my first day, getting more and more excited!

The Big Day finally arrived on Wednesday 4th January. I entered the StopGAP base… where my new friendly and welcoming colleagues greeted me and began the task of gently easing me into the team.

The office, I realised, seems deceptively calm. After an introduction to the team and a breakdown of who is who in the company my head was already full of a massive amount of information. During a scheduling meeting it dawned on me how busy and active StopGAP will be this year. I cannot wait to learn more about the workings of the company. I am eager to experience as much as possible!

On Thursday 5th I helped the Dancers construct the table used in ‘Within’, easier said than done, imagine a flat pack table, then imagine numerous bolts/screws/nuts, unusual design and no instructions…that about sums it up! But completing the build was very satisfying and involved a lot of good humour and banter. Priceless.

I then joined the company class with Sophie, Chris and David, using my brain and my body more than I have in past last few weeks, I was expecting to ache the next day, and I was right! Ouch! I finished up the day by observing the Dancers at work: preparing for weekend workshops and rehearsing movement material. It was impressive to see how movement was generated and how focused and self-driven they were even at the end of the day.

Friday 6th, the last day of my first week and another day packed with information. I watched the DVD of Trespass, giving me an insight into what the Dancers are currently working on. I sent off my application for the all-important CRB check and read through some project info sheets, which I will soon be creating myself! After a chat with Abi I am ready for next week and looking forward to some more challenges. Challenge No.1: to read the company handbook, all 43 pages of it…

Hollie McGill

Sync Fun from Judith

As part of our involvement in SYNC South East ( Joy and I went to Milton Keynes to be part of Pitch.  Although the dancers couldn’t be there as they were deep in rehearsals, they were in the form of our film of Trespass and the wonderful photos from Christopher Parkes ( as you can see here:

Difficult to miss us ! Joy was fantastic and managed to get three pages of new signees to our mailing list and it was great to have time to chat with so many people. A good day in all despite transport difficulties… lots going on and  a range of art work to see.


Posted by Judith Hibberd

“Shadowed Voices” at The Point

On the 20th of April, Anna and I did a class with the rest of the company dancers and YG dancers. We only did a tiny bit of the class because we needed to practice and rehearse our duet piece “Shadowed Voices”.

Once we got to The Point in Eastleigh, we performed our duet to this group of young adults. This group wanted to know what it’s like to watch professional dancers dance. Anna and I were amused that they were studying StopGAP itself and our work within our company.

After we’ve performed, we had an interview chat with the group. The group enjoyed the performance and came out with good interesting feedback and questions.

Today we are getting ready for our performance at Farnham Maltings as part of the StopGAP evening here.  Yesterday Vicki watched a run of the show and was very pleased.  She gave us lots of notes that I have been practicing.  Tonight Anna and I will perform our piece after “Within” and I am very excited.

Hannah performing "Shadowed Voices"

Sophie’s perspective on our work in Albania over the last year

Last week saw the final phase of a year long collaboration between StopGAP, the British Council and the Vodafone Foundation Albania. An enlightening project that took StopGAP to Albania on several occasions throughout the year, and that I was excited to be involved in.

In the spring of 2010 we performed in three cities in Albania, collaborating with four dancers from Albania Dance Theatre (Albania’s prominent contemporary dance company) who had attended the training week in inclusive practice we led in Romania the previous week. Our performances followed active debates on social inclusion held in the various cities and were to be entertaining examples of integration in action.

Originally part of a week long initiative led by the British Council and Vodafone Foundation Albania to promote inclusion of all kinds in Albanian society, the sponsors and organisers were eager to ensure that the project had a permanent impact. Kat, Laura and myself returned to Albania last Autumn and led practical sessions in inclusive dance teaching with social workers and dance practitioners from five cities in Albania. The sessions were held in the ‘Help the Life Centre’, a day care and educational institute for disabled young people in Tirana that was to project manage
the next stage of the program. In addition to training the people that took part it was intended to inspire enthusiasm and raise awareness of the social and artistic riches of integrated dance. The logistics of how to develop fledgling integrated dance companies was also deliberated and
discussed by project managers from the five cities.

Visiting Albania this February with Anna, I was delighted to see that the project had moved on leaps and bounds! The three dancers from Albania Dance Theatre, Aledia, Sueda and Mateo, had been leading regular dance sessions with disabled and non-disabled young people in Tirana, Elbasan, Berat, Shkodra and Durres. Visiting each group, Anna and I encountered a very diverse range of dancers and rehearsal conditions, but were so excited by what we saw. In Elbasan for example, Aledia was working with a huge group that integrated young disabled people from a day centre with children from a local mainstream school. They were rehearsing in a space with good facilites and it was evident that both groups were really enjoying the experience. The situation in Shkodra was entirely different, with a very small group of very young children with learning disabilities, dancing in a cluttered and busy hallway. Despite these conditions this group were perhaps the most focussed, dancing with great creativity and expression throughout the session. We were eager to instill in Aledia, Sueda and Mateo the confidence that they could create five very different, but equally valuable and inspirational performances with these groups, showcasing their achievements at the forthcoming anniversary of ‘Promoting Inclusion’ week.

Returning to Tirana to perform last week, again preceded by debates and conferences involving prestigious voices in social and cultural integration, we were delighted to perform to a packed house at the Academy of Arts. We were particularly honoured and a little nervous to hear that in the audience, and opening the performance with a speech would be the President of Albania, Bamir Topi. A successful performance was followed by a delicious dinner at the Ambassador’s residence, where we ate pavlova and chicken curry and mingled with other people involved in the week’s events.  It was wonderful to hear reports of moving and inspirational performances occurring throughout the week by the young integrated groups led by Aledia, Sueda, Mateo and Gjergi Prevasi of Albania Dance Theatre.

Our stay in Albania had a surprising last minute extension as we were invited to perform as guest artists on ‘Dancing with the Stars’! This presented an exciting opportunity to raise the profile of integrated dance and disabled artists in general in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia (the show is aired across Eastern Europe) and was an evening I will never forget! Hair slicked back and plastered in make-up we performed an extract of ‘Splinter’ live on television to an appreciative crowd. A memorable end to a fascinating year. Here’s hoping that integrated dance will continue to grow roots in Albania, and that the work of the British Council, Vodafone Foundation Albania, Help the Life, Albania Dance Theatre and StopGAP will resonate long into the future.

Sincere thanks to the above organisations for enabling this project to happen.

Another surreal week … in Albania this time!

Working for StopGAP, you get used to the unusual happening, but our recent week in Albania was certainly the most surreal week of my life!

Sat 9th April

Packing time again!  We were all getting ready for StopGAP’s fourth trip out to Albania.  The next day we were heading back to Tirana for the culmination of our project with the British Council and Vodafone Albania Foundation.  We have been mentoring dancers from Albanian Dance Theatre and other dance artists to help them set up a number of integrated groups, and then choreograph on them.  During the week the groups would be performing in their local cities, and we were to perform Trespass at the Academy of Arts in Tirana to celebrate the British Council and Vodafone Albania Foundation Promoting Inclusion Week, with Help the Life Association.

Anna and I headed to a hotel near Gatwick because of the early start the following day, unaware that things were about to get a little weird.  Unfortunately, due to an ear infection,  Chris was unable to fly with us, leaving just four dancers. Panic! What will we do?

Immediately Lucy’s problem-solving brain swung into action, and the decision was made to take Hannah, our apprentice dancer instead!  She and Anna would then perform “Shadow Voices”, choreographed by Chris, as part of our evenings show.  Hannah had toured with the company last summer for the last few Tracking performances, but this was to be her first overseas trip with us!  Fortuitously Anna, our lead apprentice dancer, was already coming with us, having been out to lead workshops on the last trip to Albania!  So it was a dash from the hotel back to Anna’s home to pick up her costume and music, then back to the hotel and to bed, ready for the early start the following day… still a little shell-shocked at the turn of events.

Sun 10th May

We all meet up bright and early at Gatwick, with a few last-minute logistics to sort and then we were on our way.

It was great to see the familiar face of Ani from the Help for Life Centre, where we had previously led workshops, meeting us at Tirana airport and taking us to our hotels.  We had a warm welcome on arriving at our hotel; I didn’t even have to say my name as they remembered us from before! I was back in my usual room overlooking the national football grounds and able to see the Academy of Art where we would be performing on Tuesday… I could even see the giant poster of StopGAP that was hanging from the front of the building, advertising our performance!

We then all met up back at the other hotel and got down to business with reworking the dances without Chris.  Clare Sears from the British Council popped in to say hi and check we were all ok.  Oh, and to mention that the Albanian President would be watching… no pressure then!

My hotel view, including a massive poster of StopGAP!

Next week, the next step in developing future integrated dancers

StopGAP has been passionate about our responsibility to contribute to developing the next generation of integrated dancers. With such a small company infrastructure and the national and international touring workload of dancers, we have been frustrated about not being able to commit to leading regular sessions as we don’t believe in setting up something we are not able to continue. However, with support from funders like Children in Need, Ernest Cook and Comic Relief, in September 2010 we were able to take on our 2 apprentices full time: Anna Pearce and Hannah Sampson. As incredibly talented individuals their development has been phenomenal, and they are already leading a substantial part of our dance development programme. One element of this, with support from Surrey County Council and Waverley Borough Council, has meant the establishing of 2 youth dance companies locally for young people with disabilities, who are creating some wonderfully high quality work. Our ambitions for these young dancers are to give them the skills that will enable them to enter formal training should they decide to make dance their career.

As part of this journey, StopGAP and our youth company are doing a residency at Farnham Maltings next week, where our youth dancers have the rare opportunity to work on a 1-2-1 basis with our professional dance team. They will be learning new dance and creative skills over four days and have the luxury of creating a strong bond with their buddy-mentor. It is a wonderful project that we have been excited about being able to do at our home base. It is such a great feeling that all 3 elements: our youth dancers, our apprentices and our main dancers, will be able to spend good quality time together, and we are really looking forward to it.

If you are interested in joining our youth groups to be part of these opportunities in the future, please get in touch! If you would like to see everyone in action the youth dancers and apprentices will be performing as a curtain raiser at our performance of Trespass at Farnham Maltings on 28 April 2011 (see our tour dates for details)

Posted by Sho Shibata and Vicki Balaam

A brilliant start to our Spring Tour of Trespass

Our first week of touring for this Spring season involved us performing at South Holland Centre, Lincolnshire, and Rose Theatre, Ormskirk, and what a magnificent way to kick start our Spring tour.  Near capacity audiences responded very enthusiastically and the dancers thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as you could tell from their performance.  Both performances also featured curtain raisers performed by local dancers we had worked with – we were very proud of what they created, and how well they performed.  It meant so much to receive these comments from Darren Carr, Artistic Director of “JUMP IN(tegrated)”:

“I didn’t want to disturb the performers on Thursday evening when we left, it seemed the right thing to leave them to get sorted and out of performance mode.  Could you pass on our much admiration for their work, JUMP IN was really inspired by their performance, it was a great evening. Thanks to emily for all her kindness in organising tech etc.

We felt really honoured to be their curtain raiser, just the boost in the present climate.  If there is anything else we can do in the future we would love to be part of it.”

“JUMP IN(tegrated)” are based at Liverpool John Moores University and performed as our curtain raiser at the performance at Rose Theatre, Ormskirk.  They are a great company, and do find them if you live in their area, their website is:

As well as great audiences and excellent curtain raisers, the venues were wonderful, and a real treat to work with.  We would thoroughly recommend any touring company to go to these venues as we were treated so well, and couldn’t ask for more!

Trespass Premiere – by Jenny Howells (Chichester University Intern)

A busy month at StopGAP! With the hustle and bustle of preparing for the premiere of Trespass at the Point the dancers were in full rehearsal mode. Even after long, tiring days they still managed to give an energetic and seamless performance of the new work of Within by Thomas Noone and Splinter by Rob Tannion. The audience’s reception was exceptional, with every person spoken to afterwards raving about the choreography and the dancer’s abilities. Many expressed enthusiasm to see them perform again and keep in contact for future updates. During the show I saw people poised on the edge of their seats and they responded well, laughing right on cue at the entertaining moments. Even after watching rehearsals I was still holding my breath in awe of the daring contact work and athleticism of the pieces. The repertory is so exciting that each time I watch it I am eager to see it again- a rare find!

But the story doesn’t end there, it’s back to the grindstone for everyone involved, taking to the road again for further performances, working hard in the office to facilitate all the tours and work and getting stuck into their latest projects including preparing for the City of London Festival and Big Dance involving the dancers and youth groups. They really are a company who know how to multi-task!

I have also been immensely impressed by the attitude of commitment of everyone in the company and the office. The supportive atmosphere makes it a great place to be and in a dog-eat-dog dance world StopGAP stands out for their dedication to helping every individual involved to grow and achieve.

Countdown to Trespass Premiere – Part 2 – by Sophie Brown

With just three weeks until the premiere of Trespass at The Point, I
would love to say we were the epitome of calm, a serene troupe of
elegantly excited dancers, quietly anticipating, with an understated
confidence, the opening night of our new repertoire. However, things
are far from tranquil!

In the final three weeks of our preparation for the premiere, a real
sense of how much we care about the upcoming tour is really beginning
to radiate around the dancers and the management team. A culmination
of weeks of creation, development and rehearsal, as well as the first
ever work created by this particular configuration of dancers, this
performance marks the beginning of a new era for us as a company, and
could never be regarded as ‘just another performance – bish bash bosh,
let’s get to the curtain call then off to the pub!

Touring the world together, both teaching and performing with a fierce
group dynamic, creates a certain sense of responsibility within every
member of the team, on and off the stage. Performances, premieres in
particular, are our chance to share in the most exciting and
demonstrative sense the ethos by which we try work everyday, as well
as hopefully entertaining and engaging every audience member we

From the compelling chaos and exhilarating journey through Within
(Thomas Noone), to the episodic rollercoaster ride through Splinter’s
tale of a struggle for a creatively prolific harmony (Rob Tannion), I
have no doubt that we will give it our all.