In advance to our London premiere of Artificial Things, our Company Producer Sho Shibata talks about what our audience can expect from the production.
Performing at Sadler’s Wells has always been the company’s dream, and being invited to do the London premiere of Artificial Things at Lilian Baylis Studio caused much excitement at Stopgap.
Like Sadler’s Wells, our aim is to get more people to enjoy dance by making enriching productions that relates to its audience. We want to show that dance can speak to audience’s hearts and minds in the way that words and theatre can't. Dance relies primarily on visual and non-verbal communication, and this is sometimes the most immediate and efficient way of depicting a complex reality. We always felt that Sadler’s Wells has a similar belief, and we are very excited to be part of their programme through their =dance series.
At the London premiere, we will be presenting a piece of work that has gone through a very different process to what we are used to. Stopgap used to be a repertoire company, where we would create mixed bills with a number of guest choreographers. But with Artificial Things we took a major step-change: By getting Lucy to take full artistic leadership, Stopgap has become a collective of dance artists who devise original productions. This had a positive effect in our attempts to make our work relatable to our audience.
Lucy has always been a collaborative choreographer, where she proposes the key subject matter and challenges each dancer to bring relevant stories, observations or ideas that can be expressed through movement. Her approach gets the dancers to invest in the work by making subtle and private statements through it, and this sense of shared ownership gives a special quality to our production. It allows her to load it with personal feelings to make it relatable to different people on different levels, and unlike guest choreographers, Lucy can spend time developing these ideas with the dancers she knows well, so that the work can have more sincere and deeper emotions.
Stopgap’s main interest lies in social integration and how it comes in different guises with varying degrees of success. As a company of accomplished disabled and non-disabled dancers, we are in a very unique position to express what we observe in society. Artificial Things is just one series of these expressions, and in our future productions we look forward to keep on examining our attempts to bring harmony in the world of enormous diversity.