Jordan felt the eclectic beat with STOMP, the world renowned musical show
STOMP steps into Jordan (photo from STOMP Facebook page)
The individuality and personality of the world-renowned STOMP group's members shone through their rehearsals of the choreographed percussion show ahead of their three-day performance at Amman's Palace of Culture.
The British show has travelled around the world for over twenty years, with the 12 performers using brooms, lids, matches and even bananas to create a musical, visual and physical performance.
"The show has evolved through the years thanks to the freedom we are given to improvise," Austrian Johannes, who has been touring with STOMP for 12 years, told The Jordan Times ahead of their first performance in Amman on Thursday.
"It's not like in musicals like 'Cats', where the artists have to repeat the same words, line after line. Here we have the opportunity to do something new every night," British Joe, who joined the group five years ago said.
"We play different characters every time so you would never see the same show," he added.
The performers did not give their full names.
The group takes turns every night with eight of them performing on the stage. The age group, country of origin and background varies among the performers.
"I thought I was selected for my great drumming skills but it turned out it was for my personality," Johannes, who is originally a professional musician, said.
As for Joe, who has a background in acting, he never thought he could make it through the interview as he had never played the drums before.
"We all have different backgrounds: dance, drama, comediansâ€¦so we all have our own style that makes all our performances unique," British Asha, one of the three female performers said.
She has been touring with STOMP for eight years and notes that it can sometimes be difficult as a woman to adjust her femininity to a man-dominated atmosphere.
"Being a woman can be annoying at times but the show is actually a way for me to release any frustration or anger," she said.
The extreme physicality of the show does not require specific exercise, according to the performers, with each finding his/her own physical and mental balance to ensure a top performance.
"The show is actually therapeutic because we can be exactly who we are no matter what our mood is and express it in a physical way," Joe noted.
The show mostly relies on the music and acting played by the performers and is exempt of dialogue.
"As an actor I am always used to expressing myself in words, so I had to adapt and think of what I would tell the other," Joe said.
Australian Jasper, who is one of the newest members after a year and a half on tour, used to make crowds laugh as a comedian.
"I have to find a way to bring the comic element without expressing it in words, it's challenging but I like it".
The absence of text could be one of the reasons behind the show's international popularity and recognition.
"I think the language used in STOMP is universal so we can take the show anywhere and people will still feel it," Asha said.
This was the first time the show, which ran from Thursday though Saturday, was performed in Amman, something that required over a year of preparation by organisers 16th of May.
To introduce STOMP's art to the largest audience possible, A-class tickets were also offered to underprivileged Jordanians and orphans, and the group held workshops for students in Amman.
"I will always remember this amazing comment by one of the children in the schools we visited, who said that rhythm is like a language and a way to communicate with each other beyond borders," Johannes concluded.
By Gaelle Sundelin
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