We got to be a part of STOMP's rehearsals and interview two cast members, Manny Osoria (4th, left to right) and Marivaldo Dos Santos (5th, left to right). Two Latinos who are changing the game of what performances are supposed to be like. Maria G. Valdez/Latin Times

Music is all around us. It happens when we walk, when we stroke our hair, when we open a bag, when we eat… and the folks at STOMP, a unique show you can find in New York’s Orpheum Theatre (126 Second Avenue), sure knew how to take advantage of that and turn all the “noises” we make on a day-to-day basis and turn them into a beautiful, thrilling and exhilarating performance where words are useless and rhythm is everything.

You don’t need to know a language to understand the show, you don’t need to be a certain ethnicity or come from a certain background to enjoy this performance. You just need to sit down, relax and enjoy a display of multicultural actors who make a rhythm out of anything they can get their hands on that makes a sound and with a unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, create their own inimitable, contemporary form of rhythmic expression.

(We got to be a part of STOMP's rehearsals and based on this glimpse, imagine how much more amazing the show is!)

The show uses both household and industrial objects that find new life as musical instruments in the hands of an idiosyncratic band of body percussionists. It is a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum. STOMP, created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, is currently playing in New York, London's West End, and on North American and European tours.

STOMP’s international engagements have included Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, South Africa, Israel, Palestine, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany, Poland, Bahrain, and The Acropolis in Athens, Greece. In addition to the stage shows, STOMP has been an overwhelming success marked by rave reviews, numerous awards, an Academy Award nomination, four Emmy nominations and an Emmy Award for their acclaimed HBO special Stomp Out Loud, noteworthy TV appearances including The London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, The Academy Awards (produced by Quincy Jones), Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, a series of award-winning international commercials, and a collaboration with The Harlem Globetrotters.

We had the opportunity of speaking with Manny Osoria and Marivaldo Dos Santos, two cast members who are also Latino, to get to know the show a little bit more. This is what they told Latin Times.

Manny Osoria Bio & Shot
We spoke to Dominican Manny Osoria, who is part of the cast of STOMP. Courtesy
Marivaldo Dos Santos
Marivaldo Dos Santos, Brazilian composer, musician, percussionist and producer who is part of STOMP's cast of talented performers. Courtesy

For someone who hasn’t seen the show, how would you describe it and why is it appealing to a diverse audience?

Manny Osoria: STOMP is it’s own genre. It’s a mix of dance and rhythm that’s totally live and totally raw for the audience.

Marivaldo Dos Santos: At STOMP it doesn’t matter what country you’re from or what language you speak, you will understand it. In everything that we do here we have a little piece of many cultures. If you’re Spanish, Brazilian, Russian… everything that we do is a combination of rhythm that everybody understands and relates to. It’s also a show that’s very family-oriented; it’s a comedy with no language. It’s very much like what Charlie Chaplin did. We see kids from 5 years old to adults who are 80 years old, so there’s also no age limit. STOMP is definitely the show to see.

How do you prepare for the show? Do you have a special routine that you follow?

MO: There’s always eight characters on stage and each has a different role in the show. I’m one of what you might call the “main drummers” in the show versus someone who is more of a dance oriented character, so when I come in I practice a couple of key things. I have a solo in the show, so most likely I’ll practice that, I might practice some of the drumming that I have to do whereas someone who has a more dancer based role is gonna work on their flexibility and stretches and some of the movement solos.

We come in everyday at 6:30pm to have a group rehearsal and we work on things that we feel like maybe we need to work on from a couple shows before, or if it’s a new cast, someone who hasn’t been around for a while and now they’re back, we get together and recap some of the things we’ve been doing, changes, dynamics, the big numbers in the show, and after that we have an in-house physical therapist who leads a warm-up session with stretching and intermediate strength training to get our bodies ready and warm.

What did it take for you to be cast in the show? How do you end up in STOMP?

MDS: I’m from Brazil and back home I used to do Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, so I used to do flips and all that, but at the same time, I’m a musician too. STOMP is a combination of all that, it’s very physically demanding, but since I was used to doing all that, when I got to the show I felt like a little kid in the park. I was playing drums and moving around, and it’s a fun show to be in! Sometimes when my personal life is not going well and I come to the show, it becomes a therapy and I release all the stress. We get paid to do what we love to do.

MO: I was a drummer since I was a kid, although the first time I auditioned, I didn’t get into STOMP. I was just a drummer, and then after that I actually started doing capoeira to learn how to use my body and do some strength training, flexibility and things like that. That really helped because the second time I auditioned I made it all the way through. First and foremost I’m a drummer, and in the show I’ve learned some dancing and how to act. Everything is action and reaction because we’re not speaking and it really is a multi-disciplinary show for each individual character.

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