England’s Stopgap Dance Company makes its Japan debut at SePT on March 8 and 9 with its latest original work, “Enormous Room.”
Based in the country town of Farnham, Surrey, the company has become internationally renowned for its poetic and humorous productions, and for the splendid physical expression of its disabled and non-disabled dancers.
After starting as a community dance project in 1995, within 10 years Stopgap was the first British company to integrate dancers with a learning disability, a physical disability and non-disabled dancers — and to develop its dance technique and choreography to a professional level.
Since then, Stopgap has increasingly focused on creating its own works for national and international touring. So now, with “The Enormous Room,” Japanese audiences can at last enjoy its entirely new approach to dance based on “difference as our means and our method.”
“The Enormous Room”
In this multi-sided work set in an intimate family living room, the protagonist’s daily life and heartrending memories of his beloved late wife blend into a miraculous psychical world on stage. With its brilliant, fresh dance expression, dramatic storyline, and music from fantasy to rock, “The Enormous Room” will astonish and entertain in ways not seen here before.
Dave is in a slough of despond after the death of his beloved wife, Jackie; while their daughter, Sam, is constantly remembering the time with her mother. Then gradually, their yearning conjures a vision of Jackie — before Chock, a phantom guide between the worlds of reality and dreams, also joins them. After that, things go in even more unexpected directions . . .
Profile of the Stopgap Dance Company
From its base in southern England, Stopgap creates works with disabled and non-disabled dancers. Under its Artistic Director Lucy Bennett, who took over in 2012, the company’s performers and staff from a wide range of backgrounds work energetically together to explore new means of expression through dance. Nowadays, their typically poetic and emotional works, often based on humans’ strengths and frailties and their complicated relationships, have earned the company a prominent place in the English art world.
Meanwhile, Stopgap also throws its energy into fostering young artists and promoting outreach programs for the benefit of the whole dance scene — activities that are highly valued in England’s social education sector.
Cast & Creative
Artistic Direction & Choreography: Lucy Bennett
Dave Toole,Hannah Sampson,Nadenh Poan and others
Related event: An “Inclusive Dance Workshop” by the Stopgap Dance Company
Along with its focus on new dance works, Stopgap’s mission includes helping to create an environment in which anyone can enjoy dance. As part of this, it organizes dance workshops for the public both in Britain and overseas. These events often attract positive media attention and have even appeared in a school textbook in testament to the company’s standing in the educational community, too.
This time, a Stopgap dance workshop will be held at the Owlspot in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Offering anyone interested in collaborating to create a dance with disabled people a rare chance to do so, this is sure to open up a whole new world for many participants.
Date and Place: March 11, 2019（Monday）14:00–20:00 at the Owlspot.
The workshop is open to any professional or non-professional people interested in creating an inclusive dance work regardless of experience, age, gender or physical condition (whether disabled or non-disabled).
For details, please refer to www.owlspot.jp.
Organised by the Owlspot (Toshima Future Culture Foundation)/Toshima Ward
Look out for more workshops to be announced when details are settled.
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◎= Post-performance talk will be held.