Moving On

As the company moves on into its second decade, we have plans to expand in a variety of different ways, one of which includes the expansion of our Board of Trustees.
We are delighted that Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE has joined us as Patron and Andrew Tuggey CBE is our Company Champion.

Here’s a little more about them:

Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE

Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE

Brigadier Aitken is currently Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and has lived in Gwent since childhood.  Following a choral scholarship to Oxford, Brigadier Aitken was commissioned in the Royal Regiment of Wales. He had a distinguished military career lasting 34 years during which time he was awarded a CBE.
He is currently the Director of Music in Hospitals Cymru/Wales, a charity that provides live music events in healthcare settings. He is an Officer of the Order of St John Cymru, and chairman of 3 military charitable trusts. He is also Honorary Colonel of Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Tuggey CBE

Andrew Tuggey CBE

Andrew Tuggey CBE is Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK’s Chief Executive & Secretary; he also is Secretary of the CPA British Islands & Mediterranean Region. Highly experienced in international outreach, parliamentary strengthening and parliamentary diplomacy, he served in the Army prior to his current appointment, latterly as a Defence diplomat with the FCO. Andrew has a BSc (Eng) and speaks French, German, Malay and Nepalese. He served as High Sheriff of Gwent and is currently a Vice Lord Lieutenant (VLL) in Gwent

We are seeking offers from the community for other Trustees, please contact us by e mail info@ffindance.co.uk
More of our new ventures to follow.

sue lewis

 

A fond farewell

Missing Pages Photo Paul Trask

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

It seems fitting somehow to say “cheerio” to our senior dancer Effie, after such a successful run of events to celebrate our 10th anniversary season. Our season will continue into the spring of 2017 with new dancer Sarah joining Catrin, Natasha and Julian, whilst Effie is moving on to pastures new.
Effie has been with the company for 5 years, having met us at our Winter Intensives.  We were so impressed with her that we offered her a place to learn some of Gary Lambert’s work for the company, to replace Lucille Tappa in Synapsequence.

Effie has created and danced many lovely roles for the company over the years, but I think it was Missing Pages, that really brought out her lyricism and technique more than any other.

Effie has been a wonderful workshop leader and teacher too, with her quirky ways of motivating children and young people; especially noteworthy is her “bananas of the world unite” and her numerical jogging pattern warm ups. We will miss her zany music in professional class, Dr Who will never be the same again!

The image by Paul Trask that is featured above, carries a story, I’m sure that Effie won’t mind me sharing it.  The company was in Llanhilleth Wales, shooting some images for our tour Inspired: Paul wanted to shoot somewhere local and out of the studio.  This obviously caused a bit of a stir in the village and gathered quite a lot of spectators who were generally supportive and also inquisitive. After a little while, word got around and we were hailed with some children shouting “come over here boys, there’s a stripper down by the railway station” The photo above and some others too, were the culprits of this mistaken identity. We laughed about that one for quite a time, as you can imagine.

So finally it’s time to say a very fond farewell.  We wish Effie well in her future pursuits and will miss her tremendously as a wonderful dancer and warm, faithful friend.  Please keep in touch.

sue lewis

Outreach at its most rewarding

2 of our youngest dancers at Desire To Dance Brynmawr

2 of our youngest dancers at Desire To Dance Brynmawr

The past month has been truly rewarding with our dance faktry projects running concurrently at Brynmawr and Tredegar. Our Desire To Dance Project successfully ran at Tredegar and London last season; together with generous funding from Tai Calon Community Housing, we ran a similar project in Brynmawr for the children of the community in that area. They worked for 4 intensive full days over 2 weekends with Effie, Catrin, Louis and Cariad and produced a lovely piece of work focussing on touch and skin.

At Tredegar Comprehensive School Catrin, Julian and Louis worked with a group of young Performing Arts students to create a piece of work that was choreographed to music written by GCSE Music students from the school. 2 intense evenings from 3.30pm – 8pm were spent making the work.  We facilitated this project with funding from a legacy given to Arts Development at Aneurin Leisure, kindly donated to give young people experience with music and theatre.

The 2 pieces were shown to friends and family at the Annual Dance Showcase organised by Aneurin Leisure Arts Development at The Met Theatre in Abertillery, our home theatre.

Desire To Dance Brynmawr

Desire To Dance Brynmawr

The experiences gained by the children and young people were many, but I think the most valuable things learnt were working together to produce a high quality product and digging dip and finding inner strength especially when exhausted!  Of many evaluations from the project participants who were all wowed by their achievements was a comment to Catrin – “you’ve changed my life” – a lump comes into my throat as I write.

Moving on then, we turn our thoughts to our next outreach project, the Summer Dance School. More about that very soon, please feel free to pass on this flyer to all young people who you think may benefit ..

summer school 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

sue lewis

A perfect match

Sarah pic 4Hello everyone, I’d like introduce myself so here’s my first blog for the company.

From watching Ffin Dance’s work, I was really drawn to their beautiful, technically driven movement vocabulary and for me, dancing is as much about art and creativity as it is about athleticism and physicality. I am really excited about the prospects of working with Ffin and I am looking forward to working with the team to expand my knowledge and skills as a professional dancer.  Alongside working as a professional dancer, I also own my own Beauty business in the heart of Cardiff called Precision Beauty.

 

I love being my own boss, its challenging yet very rewarding and allows me the flexibility to have two very different careers alongside one another. I couldn’t ask for more! Please feel free to have a look at my working biography by following this link.

Looking forward to meeting you all.
Sarah

The beginning of the end…

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

…and the end of the beginning! Friday saw us open our new triple bill at our home theatre in Abertillery. This season is aptly named t e n as it marks the company’s tenth anniversary year; it also marks my fifth and final season with Ffin.

As you would expect, over the past five seasons some things have stayed the same (my pink jumper makes an appearance every show day!) while many things have changed or developed over time (not least the length of my hair or the Heads of the Valleys road!).

Friday was an interesting one – it was the opening night of our tour and yet my last performance at the Met, an evening of beginnings and endings all in one! It was the first time we were letting the new bill fly and transition from being in the studio to stage – where a piece really starts to find its own existence.  It’s akin to that sense you don’t really start learning how to drive until you’ve passed your test and are in a car by yourself on the roads.

I think because of the newness of the work, I didn’t have time to dwell on it being a last of something as well, which is probably for the better! The last time that we performed Missing Pages in 2013 (a piece which all season had felt very special) I put too much pressure on myself to really make the most of it and actually came away not having enjoyed myself as I would have liked in its final outing.

Recently, I listened to a radio programme called ‘A Dancer Dies Twice’ and it got me thinking about whether I would I prefer to know and plan when my last ever performance comes, or to realise after the event that my last performance had already been. I’m still not sure, but for now I shall continue with t e n until July and fingers crossed both Ffin and I will continue to enjoy plenty of performances after we part ways.

Effie 🙂

All go

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

So it’s all GO this week in the South Wales valleys. Fellow company dancer, Catrin and I arrived Monday afternoon ready to lead our first workshops passing on the movement material and ideas behind the t e n Tour 2016 to the local community. We had 4 workshops happening across the evening for a variety of ages from infants to seniors from groups including Ffin Infants & Juniors, Ffin Youth Dance Company and Toppers School of Dance & Drama.

The young dancers had an amazing time, showing great energy, enthusiasm and interest in the workshop content. We were also delighted to be joined by Sarah Lee Pryke who will be joining FFIN DANCE later in the summer. Sarah has already begun learning and researching our new repertoire and assisted Catrin and Julian to deliver yesterday’s workshops.
With the première of our new dance works fast approaching, the real work is yet to begin. Tuesday has been a day of admin, planning, costume fitting and photoshopping – not to mention a slice of Grandma’s fruit cake and a cheeky glass of wine!
We’re back in the studio today for some last minute rehearsals and fine tuning. We also have more community workshops and are leading professional company class on Thursday and Friday. This Friday night will be my first full-length performance with FFIN DANCE and I’m especially excited as it marks the beginning of the 10th anniversary celebrations for the company. It’s been such a pleasure to work with Sue and my fellow performers Catrin, Effie and Natasha so far and I can’t wait to share the stage with them.

If you haven’t yet booked your tickets for the show, we’d love to see you there!

t e n poster FinalFriday 20th May, 7:30pm – The Met, Abertillery – tickets are £8/£6, call the box office on 01495 355800 to book

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our website for updates on our future performances and projects.

Thanks, Julian

Summer outreach activity

_DPT3376Last night saw the beginning of an extensive summer education and outreach programme.  Our company dancers Catrin, Julian and Sarah worked with over 60 children in Blaenau Gwent linking in with our new work from t e n Tour 2016 with partner organisations Toppers Dance and Aneurin Leisure Trust.   Later this week we will be working with another 50 children and young people at The Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale.

Next month, we will be working with children in Brynmawr as part of a partnership programme with Tai Calon Community Housing, bringing professional dance to young people over a period of 2 free weekend courses. We will also be working with the Music Department at Tredegar Comprehensive: using music composed by the pupils themselves, we will be choreographing a new piece of work to be performed in the Aneurin Leisure annual dance showcase.
July sees the company delivering a number of Summer Dance Schools in Blaenau Gwent in partnership with the Arts Development team at Aneurin Leisure.

If you’d like any information about dates, venues and how to enrol, please text 07854 910926 or e mail info@ffindance.co.uk

sue lewis

Gearing up for opening night

IMG_3713As we gear up for our première at our home theatre The Metropole in Abertillery, the company pops in some last minute rehearsals for t e n Tour 2016

Sue, Natasha, Effie, Julian and I are excited to be sharing the new repertoire with you all this year, as it marks the company’s 10th year anniversary, hence the name of the show t e n
A special occiasion wouldn’t you agree…?

 

Effie biog pic 2I would like to take this opportunity to say how lucky I have been to share the stage with the beautiful Effie since joining the company in 2014.  This is her last season with us and we wish her all the happiness and success she truly deserves in her next chapter!

We head down to Wales next week to hold workshops in the community with our partner organisations Toppers Dance and Aneurin Leisure Trust, and with our our gorgeous young dancers of the ffin dance faktry and ffin youth, and we do hope you can join us for our opening night on Friday 20th May.  Tickets are £8, £6 concessions and can be booked on 01495 355800 or by texting 07854 910926

In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine.
Much love Cat x

A new journey and tough rehearsals

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

It is one thing to work the body, but when your mind is working equally hard, it becomes exhausting. All of the company seems to be feeling the strain, however the moments of joy come from dedicated repetition and embodiment. It’s such a pleasure to dance with such a dedicated group of people and that gives me great inspiration.
With new roles within the company, there is a clarity which has given birth to new life and what feels like the start of a new journey.

With just a month to go before our première at The Met, rehearsals of Duetti and True are really challenging our technical ability; unforgiving movement tearing up our feet as we push on to grasp the many tours en l’air (360 jumps) and the constant play of levels, I can’t help but feel both anticipation and excitement.

Hope you can join us for t e n Tour 2016
Natasha

Another notch on the success post

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

So, how do you measure success?  A variety of ways I rather imagine, but in the case of our Easter Intensives and Easter Dance Faktry Festival, we like to think that it’s quality performances and happy people.

We recently spent time in the studio with 3 amazing people: Sarah Lee Pryke (professional dancer), Louis Norman (dance graduate) and Jasmine Morgan (youth dancer and trainee) as part of the Easter Intensives where our company dancers taught some of my new work True to our guests.  The end result was performed in the festival in front of a packed and appreciative house at our home theatre, The Met in Abertillery.  In addition to our professional guests, we had over 60 children and young people performing and sharing their new work which they have been rehearsing since Christmas.  I’ve said it before, and will doubtless say it many more times, it’s such a huge privilege to share in work created by these young people and to treat them to a platform where the work is staged and managed by our professional technical team.

So next up is another week in the studio with myself and the FFIN company dancers finalising our work for our new t e n Tour 2016.  If you would like to do professional company class with us, drop us a text 07854 910926 or e mail info@ffindance.co.uk

sue lewis