Solos, photos and a birthday

IMG_3125As I sit here happily munching on a slice of birthday cake (a Percy Pig one which is very nice) and a lovely cup of tea, courtsey of my FFIN family, I now feel that I can begin to reflect upon the last week of our current rehearsal period.
This past week, we have been exploring the wonderful piano Partita by Bach, who just happens to be my favourite classical composer, with each dancer having their own accompaniment as we all form our own solos. The first piece we are creating, choreographed by our director Sue Lewis, entitled “Fractal”, explores the ideas of how fractals occur in nature, as similar patterns which can be developed upon. I shan’t try and explain what a fractal actually is as many theories are in debate and I’m still trying to understand it, but I still think of the florets of a broccoli. When cut up, you can see how the small patterns or shapes are similar to the bigger picture as a whole.

We began by creating 6 abstract air and floor patterns, which we then taught to each other. We could then draw upon all these snippets of material to create our solos whilst closely following the score of our own piece of music. My music is quite folk like in its quality with a Gavotte tempo, yet at first it did seem very fast and a little worry did set in. Musically I have been trying to explore the intricate musical patterns, or little tunes, and to try and translate that into my movement material. This has been quite a challenge, which at times I have really enjoyed whilst others have been very frustrating. One quality I have continued to work on in my time with FFIN, is to fully utilise my long limbs and depth of my plié to help ground my centre and to achieve a more crisp and clear action with my legs and feet. I naturally find my movement material to move from small intricate movements kept quite underneath my centre line to large torso and arm work with a fluid and sustained quality. (Trying to achieve clarity at speed without looking rushed is a quality I’m trying to embody as much as I can, sometimes occurring with ease whilst others proves to be a little battle) To apply this to my lower body has continued to be a personal goal of mine. And since my music has very few long sustained notes or trills, I have found the intricacy and clarity quite difficult to execute but I am sure in time it will come, I hope so anyway.

Creating a piece largely structured by solos has been a great experience and opportunity for me. I haven’t really explored much solo work before, only in small sections, and it has been very liberating to try and form a personal quality of your own that really identities you as a performer alongside the music you are given. I am looking toward to spending some more time with Sue working on developing my own solo and fully exploring its structure, clarity and musicality.

I’ve also enjoyed exploring material created by the other dancers, trying to embody their own movement quality as much as possible with my own body. Definitely need to find some local ballet classes to help with a few things here and there 🙂

Today (which just happens to be my 29th birthday) was spent with the amazing Paul Trask who has become our trusted regular photographer working on our promotional images for our 2014 tour. It’s always exciting getting in front on the camera, even when it proves difficult to move fully within a small shooting space. It’s always interesting to see what works on camera that can really stand out compared to others. The day was spent with lots of giggles, a few biscuits and a birthday song 🙂 Im looking forward to seeing which few photos proved best.

The rest of this week will be finalising “Fractal”, trying to cement our solos and group material, and to begin exploring our second piece “Stand Up Straight”, choreographed by company dancer Catrin Lewis. After seeing a taste of the material at today’s photo shoot in person, I’m very much excited to begin learning the piece and learning more about its creative process and stimuli. Looking at it, it’s a piece that will really test and challenge my skills, maybe even a few movement fears, I hope I can rise to the occasion and embody the feeling and quality of the piece to my utmost capabilities.

Bring on day 3 and the rest of the week. Till then……

Mike 🙂

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