You join me after the end of a jam-packed first week with the company. We have started working on Sue’s new work for next year’s tour,True as well as rehearsing the current triple bill, The Power of 3, for the performance at Bedwellty House & Park in Tredegar and this coming Friday in London.
As a new dancer, I have been included in Catrin’s work, d-cay and have learnt a couple of sections for these performances. From my perspective, it has been the perfect balance to learning some repertoire and jumping straight into the performance mode but to also take a back seat during the other 2 pieces and appreciate the performances of my fellow dancers. It is inspirational to see how refined and ‘in-the-body’ the existing work is on the other 3 dancers and it fills me with energy as we move on to the new work. This week also saw the first Desire to Dance project in which we created a new piece on students from Tredegar Comprehensive School in only 2 sessions to then be performed on the Friday evening. The project was a great success and it filled all members of the FFIN DANCE team with immense satisfaction to see how much was achieved by every individual in such an intense process. Well done all!
Until next time… and if you’re in the London area this Friday, don’t forget to book your tickets to see the current triple bill (The Power of 3) as well as a guest performance from Vision Youth Dance Company (Highgate School).
Venue: St Paul’s Community Centre, Marylebone. Tickets are £10, call or text 07854 910926.
We open in a few weeks at our home theatre The Met in Abertillery, South Wales UK – an event which pleases me very much. I’m intensely proud of everything that the company has achieved in the past 10 years in this part of the world. “Abertillery!” people say, ‘the valleys?” more people say with disdain, but I feel passionately that there is a place for high quality professional dance outside of the major cities (albeit these places are needful too). We have developed an audience in the valleys as well as other places, for our work which surpasses audience and participation numbers for many other larger companies and will continue to invite guests and collaborative partners to our studio for as long as we can.
The week has seen the release of our teaser video for Catrin’s new piece d-cay, which has been commissioned for us by RE:Act! It forms part of a 10 minute animated film that accompanies the choreography that will be seen for the first time on May 8th at The Met. During our production week we will undertaking a series of workshops with local dance schools, working in the evenings and days to further develop new audiences for our work, aiming to help with understanding the work that the young dancers will be seeing at the theatre later that week. If you’d like a workshop, do get in touch.
Box office for May 8th 01495 355800, tickets are priced £8 and £6 – the theatre has excellent wheelchair and buggy access and provides free booster seats for children at no extra charge.
It would be great if you could come along to opening night, if not, we perform later in May in Holyhead, North Wales then on to London, Oxford and Germany. See you there!
Well our last 2 weeks of Welsh studio time have ended, and now we see the dancers moving to London to spend time with Gary Lambert for the next three weeks. Gary and the dancers will be making his new work for our Power Of 3 Tour, whilst I will stay in Wales working with the dance faktry ready for our Easter Faktry Festival 2015
The six weeks that we have spent making d-cay and Fascination have been a real pleasure; I know now why I gave up working full time as a lecturer, with a steady wage and paid holidays to start a professional dance company from scratch.
You may have seen the excellent article that Rachel Mainwaring wrote me about in last weeks Western Mail describing my work in the community and how FFIN DANCE started out. Je ne regrette rien: it’s amazing having the freedom to create work, worth every sleepless night and panic about how to pay the mortgage, I’d recommend it to anyone. I will be live on air on Radio Wales tomorrow evening at 6.30pm if you’d like to listen in, I’ll be talking about creativity. It’s such a vital and important part of our being to create, so many people I have worked with over the years have said that creating in some way has been an escape, a day dream, a delicious new recipe and even a glowing work of art – but it’s there in us all, we just sometimes need someone to show us the way.
So as we come closer to our tour, we hope that you’ll join us for one or some of our performances. Please keep posted for some more blogs from our London based lot during the coming weeks.
It’s always the way with studio time – it seems that you can blink and suddenly you’re nearly at the end of 2 weeks together. Having said that, I feel like these 2 weeks have really allowed us some time and space to progress both Fascination and d-cay, and given us a good dollop of preparation time for beginning work with Gary next week. (Plus a handy helping of pancakes thrown in for good measure!)
With Fascination, we spent last week working through section by section – refining detail and quality and looking at all of those pesky entrances, exits and transitions between sections. This has helped in establishing a sense of cohesion throughout the piece which we pulled together for a run through this afternoon.
This week also saw us getting a first viewing of the film that has been made in conjunction with Catrin’s piece, d-cay. It’s a very striking watch which will lead into the live movement section of the piece. Having seen the film has also influenced the proximity with which we perform a particular unison section – there’s no room for error or else there’ll be a whole lot of stepping on toes going on!
For Gary, we have begun using the duet Sentient Trace which was created for Meg and Catrin last season as starting point. We are now looking at each person’s role in the duet as solo material – it has certainly been a lot of material to take on board and commit to memory. We have tried several different methods of learning the material – initially from video, then from each other with talking and then just with physical demonstrations without vocal explanations. It has been lovely to devote time to this (although frustrating at times when watching the same moment on video over and over until you can approximate a physical realisation) and I’m excited to see how things start to proceed when we come together with Gary next week.
Here’s to making the most of our last couple of studio days in Wales this week and appreciating our time together while we have it.
A productive and exciting week as the company and I distribute morning classes and solid movement practice throughout.
As previously said by Sue, we once more familiarise ourselves with Fascination to proceed forward under Sue’s direction. “Retaining information”- an important skill involving focus, discipline and familiarity that project based dancers constantly battle with. My experience with this tool grows stronger as I myself take notes on how the other dancers reconnect with the piece accordingly. Having always been fortunate with a good memory, I often leave myself unchallenged in the studio. Thus this seasons artwork and war history keeps a watchful eye on us all! Images and landscape prints being available to us as we drift through D-cay and Fascination.
Effie, Natasha and I would especially like to thank Sue for her sincere patience and understanding towards Gary’s devised work Sentient Trace. A piece that needs exploration, honesty and an opinion! Having performed in the duet last season, I am keen for the girls to capture the essence and quality of the structured tasks. We continue to select the authenticity and originality of the human body next week…
Once again the weekend flies by and we are all one day closer to pancake day. Professional class will be running next week at The Met so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to participate. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
With advent moving closer towards us, I thought to write a wee blog for the Ffin followers amongst you. Yes, November has been a long one, nevertheless, the company has seen some great progress and involvement with bookings, collaborations and feedback etc. Our Artistic Director Sue and photographer Paul Trask have been putting in the hours to deliver some marvelous marketing material for the season as the dancers and I sit back to wait and see who’s made the perfect “poster pose”! You can see some of the images for D-cay in the gallery sometime later this week.
Working on the practical section of D-cay with Natasha and Effie was an absolute joy! It’s always a cracking feeling when folk recognize your trail of thought during studio time. The dancers work both together and independently for each section, welcoming any disruptions from a spoken text sound score. We introduced sensations getting lost to extremes that measure up to no other feeling. Now having an outline to D-cay it is essentially a case of popping in some paint to really stress the initial idea.
With footage soon to be at hand, my collaborator, film editor and research junky Jose Macabra prepares to figure out order, placement and lighting specs. Remarkably exciting times ahead!
Thanks for reading all and have a lovely week.
In synchronicity, October saw us return to Abertillery for our second creation period ready for The Power of 3 tour with Catrin Lewis taking on the role of choreographer for the second time for Ffin.
Those of you who were lucky enough to catch us on tour last year will remember Stand Up Straight, Cat’s first piece performed by the company. This piece had been created and performed in its first incarnation prior to being added to the company repertory and extended. As such, there was a sense of knowing the intended outcome of the process before we began – which was compounded by learning duets and movement phrases from pre-recorded footage of the original piece.
For D-cay, we did not have the luxury of getting a pre-emptive view of what the finished piece may look like but were instead afforded the pleasure of accompanying Catrin as her new piece evolved in the studio. Ever one to challenge our habitual and learned movement choices (remember last year’s task of generating material after spinning for a minute to imbue disorientation), our introductory task for D-cay involved a blackout in the studio and moving through space with our eyes closed: testing our reactions when confronted with a loss of sight.
During the creation of D-cay, Catrin has asked us to share and embody a fair amount of each other’s material with several tight sections of trio unison thrown in for good measure. As a specific cohort of dancers, this is a new challenge for us (having not been required to work all together in unison for Fascination) and is something that we allocated a fair amount of time to early on in the process in order to get a clear sense of working as a unit.
Overall, it has been really refreshing to work with Catrin on a new piece and I look forward to sharing it with you next year – catch you there!