Stomp: Art of pandemonium

The word «stomp» brings to mind a graceless, abrupt movement, and indeed, the dance company Stomp seems delightfully unruly on stage. Stomp’s musical dance performances offer a well-tended pandemonium combining innovative choreography, strange and interesting costumes of street-wear, and, most importantly, a selection of the oddest of musical instruments. Now, after a sold-out show in Athens’s Herod Atticus Theater three years ago, the troupe is back in town, performing at the Petras Theater in Petroupolis until Friday. Stomp co-founder Luke Cresswell tells us a bit about the world of the troupe. When was the troupe created? The first show was held in 1991 at the Edinburgh Festival. But the idea was there several years before. We started by hanging off buildings, playing street theater among cars and other such things. Was it a type of experimental theater? Yes, and like all things experimental, it was good at times and very bad at others. Later, when we decided to put together an organized show, we reworked some of our older ideas. It was like looking back at some of the things you’ve done and making something new. What makes Stomp special? Our uniqueness lies in the way six different people can communicate by using the language of sounds. The idea is to show that each individual uses rhythm in a different way. How do you select your subject? We normally begin with an interesting piece of music. But it is also important to find an object people use in different ways. Like a broom, for example. We all know what a broom is normally used for, but when you make music with brooms, they become something entirely different, and we like that. The costumes also appear inspired by daily life. Yes, though it was not a conscious choice. We just tried to find old, easy-to-wear clothes that wouldn’t get very dirty and would be comfortable. Why do you look for inspiration in everyday objects? In the 1980s, when we saw the group Kodo, I thought it was the best thing I had ever seen. It was they who inspired me to use rhythm as a language. But in England, we did not have a similar tradition with drums. So, we wanted to find something that was more familiar to us and we turned to objects of daily use. How many groups compose Stomp? Five groups. We have one show in New York that’s been running for 10 years, another in Boston, one in London and another two that tour America and Europe. For the Athens shows, though, a sixth group is being used. Created especially for Greece, it includes some of Stomp’s founding members.

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