• Sun
  • Aug 31, 2014
  • Updated: 3:54pm

Lots of stomping good fun

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am

Our junior reporters stomped and drummed. Then they spoke to the pros - the awesome crew of the Stomp performance group.

Samantha Borje

Gemma Shields is a dancer, and like many other members of the cast, she's never had any drum training. Crew members are dancers, actors, and even comedians by trade.

I wondered how people from such different artistic backgrounds ended up in Stomp. For Shields, it was the freedom that drew her to the project. 'Unlike in dancing,' she explained, 'you don't have to be tall or thin.'

There's a bit of everything in their performance: acting, dancing, comedy and, of course, music.

During shows, Shields takes on a variety of roles. Sometimes she is a tough girl who grapples with manly tasks; sometimes she acts like a quirky girl, cute and bubbly.

Much of the group's performance is improvised. 'There's quite a lot of improvisation involved,' she said. 'So long as we're in sync, we can pretty much just let go on stage. No two shows are the same.'

Emmanuel Hui

As I approached the stage, my heartbeat sped up and my footsteps quickened. I was animated by the sheer energy of the performance.

During our hour-long workshop with the cast, I felt I was becoming part of their music.

'We all have rhythm,' said Billy Hickling, one of the group's lead performers. 'You don't need a lot of money to make music and you can produce something great with just a couple of friends.'

Although Hickling makes it sound simple, crew members train newbies from 10am to 6pm, five days a week, for six months, before they are considered ready to perform.

And even after cast members have 'got it in their bones', as Hickling put it, they still need to continue honing their skills.

Kate Ng

Stomp speaks in rhythms. The group creates a feast of beats and tempos in their magic formula.

The theme of their performance in Hong Kong was 'Fresher, Faster and Funnier!' They blended ingenious choreography and comedy to give audiences something new.

In a highlight of the show, the performers lined up in the dark and started flicking their Zippo lighters in sequence. The clicky-clacky sound and the flames made for an upbeat audio-visual clap-along. The 12-piece team rotates its members for stage performances each night. They play different roles in different shows and performers can step in for others who get injured.

Jeremy Price, a cast member, said the crew were like a family and he was happy to be in Stomp.

Andrew Huang

Andrew Pang, a cast member, had short purple hair and a burly figure. He was a head taller than me and looked intimidating.

Yet my first impression was wrong. Andy is one of the coolest, friendliest people I have ever met. He is from Hawaii and has an easygoing, free-spirited personality.

He said he had always wanted to be a drummer. After watching the 1997 HBO musical Stomp Out Loud, he decided to join Stomp.

After a tough audition process, he started 'stomping' in Las Vegas, in the US, in 2006. He has been touring the world ever since.

'If life has taught me one lesson, it is that dreams come true,' he said. 'The musical is constantly evolving with new cast members. But it will always stay true to the same concept: turning 'junk' into treasure.'

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