Hyper-kinetic 'Stomp' returns to Greenville
January 6, 2015
Paul Hyde, [email protected] 3:07 p.m. EST January 2, 2015
With trash can lids and paint cans flying about the stage, "Stomp" looks like it could be a dangerous show for the performers.
But don't be fooled.
It is dangerous.
"Yes, there have been some accidents," said performer Cammie Griffin. "There have been a few stitches."
The high-intensity "Stomp" returns to Greenville on Jan. 10 for two shows at the Peace Center.
The show's performers (known as "stompers") take everyday items — brooms, garbage cans, tires and hubcaps — and create a throbbing, hyper-kinetic show that blends dance, music and visual comedy.
The production has been around for almost 25 years and has toured extensively throughout the country and worldwide.
The show strives to show how ordinary items can make beautiful music, Griffin said.
She said the eight-member company is bringing some new pieces to Greenville, involving large tires and paint cans.
Other percussive items that typically pop up in a "Stomp" show include buckets and garbage cans, PVC-like tubing, folding chairs, newspapers, cigarette lighters, paper bags, basketballs, inner tubes and plastic water drums.
Synchronized stiff-bristle brooms become a sweeping orchestra, eight Zippo lighters flip open and closed to create a fiery fugue, wooden poles thump and clack in a rhythmic explosion.
One of the show's highlights features stompers swinging from a steel lattice and beating on hubcaps, buckets, pots and pans.
"That's my favorite," Griffin said. "You can really move around."
She quipped, "It's a great exercise program."
The appeal of the show has everything to do with rhythm — something as elemental as your heartbeat, Griffin said.
The performers in "Stomp" come from a variety of backgrounds: acting, dance and acrobatics. Griffin's experience is in modern and West African styles of dance.
No one possesses all of the skills needed for "Stomp," so there's a lot of on-the-job training for each new stomper, she said.
"Stomp" is on a nationwide tour but Griffin is looking forward especially to the Peace Center performance. She attended college in Columbia and has relatives in Greenville.
Though the items spotlighted in the show are familiar and modern, they are used to riff on an ancient art, Griffin pointed out. Drums and drumming represent humankind's first instruments and first music.
The drum is the oldest known instrument in the world, dating back to 4000 BC in Egypt in the northeast corner of Africa.
From its beginnings as a street performance in the United Kingdom, "Stomp" has grown into an international sensation over the past 20 years, having been performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people.
Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, "Stomp" continues its run with four global productions: the ongoing sell-out production at New York's Orpheum Theatre, a permanent London company, and North American and European tours.
Throughout its life, the show has continued to change by creating new material. "Stomp" is the winner of an Olivier Award for Best Choreography (London's Tony Award), a New York Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatre Experience and a Special Citation from Best Plays.
In addition to the stage shows, "Stomp" received an Academy Award nomination, four Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award for the acclaimed HBO special "Stomp Out Loud."
Noteworthy TV appearances for "Stomp" include include The London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, The Academy Awards, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and a series of award-winning international commercials.
The show has earned raves from the critics. "'Stomp' is as crisp and exuberant as if it had opened yesterday," said The New York Times.
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