After a few aches and pains it was time to crack on with day two of production week! The collaborative work between FFIN DANCE and The Beaufort Theatre is the foundation for the work we do day to day at the Beaufort and today was no different.
As a community-led building we are forever hosting young people and with Santa heading our way later this December it was time for Sam, The Beaufort Theatre’s Catering Operative and myself to get crafty! A morning making Reindeer Dust is hard to beat!
Then it was all systems go! The company dancers arrive and after the coffees and mini morning meetings, I was once again thrown into Georgina’s Class. The second day of a class always seems to feel just right!, the exercises have settled and it’s time to sweat! A class full of tilts, swings and floor work is a winner in my book! At the end of last class Georgina had presented us with a mighty phrase that would take a week to tackle! Second time round was just as fun and to keep us pushing it was time for the second side. Whilst the dancers spent some time rehearsing their newest work ‘An Inspector Calls’ choreographed by Sue Lewis, I got back to work.
FFIN DANCE has pioneered the way for high quality dance education in the south Wales area for many years and it’s important for us to ensure that the festival presents not only opportunity to perform but to learn. The invited guests bring a brand new type of training and performance so I think its really important that the young dancers get to watch each others’ work. Finalising the running order and programme was my main focus for the day and before I knew if it was time to get moving again. Tonight marks the start our of Headliner project. Headliner is a collaborative project, very much in the spirit of the faktry festival bringing professional and youth dancers together to create a brand new work for this years performance. Led by the FFIN DANCE professional dancers, we started out with a technique class lead by Julian. It was great to start the project pushing ourselves technically. The project pulls dancers from nearly all of the faktry classes all bringing a different approach to their work. After learning a phrase for the work, it was clear that this project provides challenges for all types of dancers. We finished the evening with a great creative task pulling reference from Julian’s phrase, we were asked to create a solo influenced by the movement but also by the overarching theme of the work; exploring speed. Day two was fab!
Its PRODUCTION WEEK!
After a long term of creativity and technical training, production week has finally arrived. This is always one of my favourites times of year, bringing the faktry and the company together for a real celebration of the work that has been undertaken in this last season.
Winter Dance Faktry Festival 2018 has been curated by the ffin team as a display of the highlights of this term’s exciting work and a presentation of the whole community. ffin dance presents also showcases the work of local dance and performance schools in a joyous celebration in our home theatre, The Beaufort.
Monday didn’t know what hit it! It was great to be back in the studio this morning with the company for professional class. The company’s newest professional dancer, Georgina always brings new energy and her class is no different. What a wicked way to start our day.
Leaving the company to it, it was time to get back to work. The Faktry never stops. The Beaufort Theatre is a great space to work and the café is one of my favourite parts of the building. I spent a good portion of the day finalising my lighting plans for the work that I am sharing in this years festival. Leading the teaching and choreography at the Abertillery Faktry classes this term has been a real treat for me, getting to work with some fantastic young people always gives me a Monday evening buzz!! Takes me back to the old Move days!
Nothing finishes a good afternoon’s work than a flat white! The coffee here is incredible! After creating some really interesting lighting designs it was time to teach. Tonight was the last rehearsal session for my groups and they really rose to the occasion and if these classes are anything to go by this week will be another great festival week.
Day 5 has been an absolute delight. We have spent time today in the studio piecing together the duets in Act 2 working on the all-important transitions that add coherence and meaning (sometimes esoteric) to the overall structure of the work. We have spent time filming Acts 1 and 2 in readiness for when we come back to the continuation of it and the completion of Act 3 and ultimately finish the piece ready for production.
What a luxury it is to have R&D time to explore ideas and let the muse guide you in your thoughts and processes – oh to have this more regularly!
Wishing you all a happy weekend, and see you on Monday for more ramblings on Crib.
Good evening everyone.
Day 4 in the studio making my new work for the company, based on the themes in Priestley’s play An Inspector Calls.
The emphasis today was finding the musicality in the sublime The Lark Ascendingcomposed by British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. Each duet in Act 2 has varying textures and intentions that we explored through music today. We have taken on the sequencing of the chronological order of events as described by Inspector Goole in the play – the resulting duets are stunning. The dancers have made them their own and are really something most special.
Tomorrow sees the last day for R&D An Inspector Calls, more about that next week.
I hope to shoot some film tomorrow to share with you some little snippets. See you then!
Hello again. Today was all about focussing on the remaining duets that I have set which explore the various relationships that the main characters of the play undertake with the victim – Eva/Daisy.
Goole of course points out that each one of the characters has in turn (collectively) contributed to Eva’s suicide. I also needed to set Act 1 soliloquies to the divine Elgar Enigma Variation 10, Nimrod. Take a look at the full score here – Nimrod-from-Enigma-Variations-Full-Score.
The dancers and I looked at simplicity in content for each of the duets, which we felt would be a good ground from which to start weaving together the phrasing of Act 2. I think that Priestley’s point is that we don’t address our guilt until it’s pointed out to us that even our very small negative actions when multiplied by everyone else’s small actions can congregate into a catastrophic effect that only has that effect because it’s multiplied. A bit like the old advert on TV “my one little wrapper won’t do any harm!”
Tomorrow sees the introduction of the sublime The Lark Ascending by Vaughann-Williams
Please join us tomorrow for more Inspector shenanigans…
Day 2 in the studio didn’t disappoint, more super work explored. The images above are from Julian’s notebook, jottings of the things that have come to mind with the task in hand.
Today the dancers recapped on the tasks from yesterday, working on soliloquies.
We later started on the new tasks for Act 2 which involved looking at the relationships that Eva/Daisy had with each of the guilty parties. As we are three dancers (1 male, 2 female) we thought to move away from gender-stereotypicality in some of the duets – we got through 3 out of the 7 possibilities.
Take a little peep here of our dancers working through the task. Don’t forget that you can interact with us by using the speech bubbles on this page.
My new work is based on the underlying themes of JB Priestley’s amazingly progressive but classic play An Inspector Calls.
Catrin, Julian and Georgina began their R&D time in the studio with me today discussing the characters, the historical context, the social background and of course the parity with contemporary society that emanates from the play. As a result, soliloquies were made with each dancer transposing these ideas into moment terms – what a talented bunch!
I’m hoping that each day I can share with you our studio time and would welcome your interaction with us – please use the speech bubbles on this page to tell us your thoughts.
Still very early days, but Day 1 was exceptional, please stay with us.
So here we are at last! I started making my new work in the studio back in the autumn of 2017 and Crib will see its première this coming Friday at The Beaufort Theatre.
The title needs a little explanation I think.
I started choreographing professionally when I was teaching Dance at Ebbw Vale Senior Comprehensive School and spent many, many happy years working with students, creating work for our annual dance shows. Together with my own passion for Prince music and that of the students, each show became peppered with tracks like Purple Rain, Sometimes It Snows In April, Nothing Compares To You, Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret, 1999 and many more.
Over 21 years we got through a fair amount as you can guess.
It’s most fitting that I return to The Beaufort Theatre as this place holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first place I performed, the first place I presented amateur choreography, the first place I presented professional choreography and now the company I founded FFIN DANCE has its home there since we took on the asset from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council back in April 2017. So coming home to Ebbw Vale is a full circle, with which I’m very happy; it makes me feel like I’m returning to the beginning once more – hence the title
Crib is a tribute to Prince music and also to my past.
I hope that you can come and join me this Friday together with all of our community groups from the ffin dance faktry, together with guest dancers from Tredegar – Kidz R Us. Tickets are available from the café at The Beaufort or via text 07854 910926
It’s with huge apologies that I write this blog, after what seems like an eternity. Since the company has taken on the running and management of The Beaufort Theatre in April 2017, my life has been rather taken over with operational things other than writing blogs.
Things are at last settling down and we have had an amazing 9 months learning new skills, meeting new people and of course expanding our business.
Next week sees the start of me making my new work with the company dancers: it’s a tribute to the music of one of my favourite artists, the late, great Prince. Please keep posted for a further insight
We will be looking for another dancer to join us later this spring, keep your eyes open for the advert – it could be you joining our team!
We will also be updating this website and introducing you to a new page dedicated to The Beaufort Theatre.
Hope you join us on our 2018 journeys, happy New Year to you all
With just over a week to go before the company heads north, there’s a lot of lists to write, packing to be done, rehearsals and all sorts of things to think about.
We have been busy writing press releases and organising our marketing for one of the most competitive and exciting fringe festivals in the world. My piece Virago will be programmed by Zoo Venues (The Sanctuary Venue 124 ) from August 13th – 19th at 7.45pm. Tickets here
We have previewed the piece in London and at our base back here in Wales in various forms and guises, the latter being an interactive performance where the audience was invited to be the jury and decide upon Minnie McGuire’s fate: the jury declared her “not guilty”. The audience joined in with a final reel celebrating Minnie’s innocence.
Some of the audience feedback:
” there but for the grace of God go I!”
“I have no doubt that Virago will go down a storm at The Fringe. The story is compelling and the interpretation is excellent”
“Brilliant interpretation in dance, well-executed, enjoyed every minute of it. Good luck in Edinburgh!”
Keep posted for more of our travel news, get the iFringe app on your phone and book into our show, and share our posts. Many thanks for your support!