WHAT IS STOMP?
What does the word STOMP make you think of?
It is very difficult to classify the show STOMP. Do you put it under the heading of theater, dance, music or performance art?
STOMP is performed in theaters, but it is not a play, musical, or opera. It is not theater in the traditional sense of the word. There is no speech, dialogue or plot. However, it does have two characteristics of traditional theater: mime and characterization. Each performer has an individual character which is distinct from the others. These characters are brought out through the mime and dance in the show.
STOMP started out as two "buskers" on the streets of Brighton. Busking is the British term for a street performance where people are encouraged to stop, listen and watch. It is a very old custom, dating back to booth theaters erected at village fairs in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The street busker of today also echoes back to the wandering minstrel of the medieval fair. Thus, it seems that STOMP's roots are in theatre, but can it really be called "theater"?
The entire show is highly choreographed, interweaving dance into all of its aspects. In STOMP, there is a symbiotic relationship between dance and music. The music is created within the dance, but the dance itself is dependent on the music for its rhythm and character. STOMP shows a true marriage of movement and music, where both create and enhance each other.
STOMP, however, cannot be described purely as a "dance," for dance is only one of the three elements which are combined to create the show - music, theater and dance. The marriage of these three elements, means that even though STOMP does not contain the traditional features, it does create an interesting and innovative show. It breaks all customary boundaries of the performing arts by inviting the audience to participate in the show, not only demonstrating that anyone has the ability to STOMP, but also encouraging us to take what we have learned about sound and rhythm and apply it to our own everyday lives.
The ideas behind STOMP- of finding music in noises which we usually try to block out and ignore - are not traditional ideas. Often, when a show defies all customary conceptions of music, dance and theatre or combines and alters the concepts in a new and unusual way, people categorize the piece as "performance art."
Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, the creators of STOMP, reject the idea that the show is performance art. Performance art often has the connotation that it is a performer or a group trying to make a political statement through the piece. STOMP makes no such claim; it is the exploration of rhythm in everyday things. To quote Luke, "at the end of the day, STOMP is what it is." There are no hidden meanings, it's just entertainment!