As we move further towards life back in the normal lane, I take the time to reflect on how things have been over the past few months during lockdown.
We have been most fortunate to get support from The National Lottery Community Fund, Community Foundation in Wales and more recently from GAVO to keep in touch with our community and find new ways of working together.
Children and young people from our dance faktry have written and sent postcards to members of the community who have been self isolating, those who have been in hospital, those who may have needed a bit of “cheering up” and those who are alone.
Our company dancers and teachers have filmed dance classes and exercises to do at home and they have been posted on social media. We are now in our ninth week of online dance classes via Zoom, having taught 30 classes in that time. The classes are free for the community and we have had some wonderful feedback from parents and the young people themselves.
I think that we are one of the first professional dance companies in the UK to announce our virtual summer dance school. This is free to participants of all ages and abilities and will involve the creation of a new dance film to be screened on August 7th.
We have plans to reopen our café with a take away service as our first step to resuming activity in our beloved Beaufort Theatre
We have found new ways of working and will continue to do that, already we have found that many things can be done differently to good effect.
However, nothing can take away the feeling of being together in a studio – creating, learning, dancing together. Nothing can be as good as the thrill of seeing our Main House full of people coming to watch live performances, maybe for the first time. Nothing can beat the feeling of family that we have at FFIN DANCE
We hope that we will all be together again soon, in whatever way the new normal dictates. Stay safe everyone and keep dancing …
We are most happy to announce that FFIN DANCE will be working in partnership with the Arts Development team of Aneurin Leisure Trust to deliver high quality dance classes for children and young people in Blaenau Gwent, South Wales UK.
The ffin dance faktry will be expanding upon its already successful outreach folio to include the following dance classes:
Leapers Dance for under 11 years
Junior Move Dance for ages 7-13
Combination Dance age 13+
The Move Youth Dance Company age 13+
All of the above classes will be held at The Beaufort Theatre, Ebbw Vale, Gwent UK
Suzanne Allen the Business Development Manager for Aneurin Leisure Trust says “I’m delighted to be working in partnership with FFIN DANCE to provide classes for our children and young people. I’m looking forward to some new and exciting projects and supporting this really vital work in our community”
For further information on classes and the work of the ffin dance faktry, please e mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 07854 910926
Our summer camp will involve daily singing and dance classes led by professional tutors who are industry specialists in the theatre, and will lead towards a showcase on the last afternoon that can be shared with family and friends. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be tiring and it’s going to be good!
This is our first partnership venture with Ebbw Fawr Learning Community and Play Learn Play and we are all very excited to see where it will lead – to great things we hope for our children and young people
Hello to all you Ffin followers!
I hope you’re all well and looking forward to seeing us perform our triple bill at Coleg Y Cymoedd on the 11th March.
Just a few things to check in on this early Saturday morning. As I trek down from the city to the valley to teach The Move 21 starter class I suddenly realise it was indeed where I started at such a young age.
The Beaufort Theatre is my home theatre and also had the pleasure of giving me my very first job as a teenager working front of house.
Being asked by artistic director Sue to provide technique and masterclasses to dancers (old and new from the past 21 years) feels extremely special to me. The skills that I gained through Laban and previous projects can now be passed on to the dancers accordingly!
Regarding the company repertoire from May onwards, Megan and I will be replacing Synapsequence with a duet, which is currently in progress. Devised by Gary Lambert and initiated by theories and studies he is continuously analysing from his time spent in America, we witnessed the start of what is going to be something very honest and concentrated!
Not to spoil the development of the piece too much as it’s completely fresh and intimate for the three of us. However, footage of the tasks we undertook this week left us fulfilled and anxious to the “being” nature of the movement vocabulary.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend – see you at Nantgarw Campus next week for our first show of the Still Standing Tour
As the winter dance faktry festival rehearsals begins to step up and everybody starts working even harder, there’s always that excitement and eagerness that fills the air.
Being involved with the winter dance faktry festival this year I will be performing with Combination Dance and I’ll be performing a solo piece of my own. For the Combination piece I will be performing with a variety of dancers; we enjoy rehearsals as there is always laughter involved but we are keen to make sure everything is right for the piece.
My very first solo choreography will be showing what I have learnt from studying A Level Dance with FFIN DANCE. I’ve enjoyed learning about the different ways of developing a motif and structuring my own choreography, I never realised how important all the little details were! I’ve really enjoyed learning about all the topics and music making, I come home every day thinking what can there be to learn next? There is always something new it never ends and I love it!
I am nervous but with a mixture of excitement at the same time to be part of the winter dance faktry festival show this Saturday – and now I can not wait for the show to begin!
Let’s show them what we can do guys!
Its been a while and this week so far has certainly been a busy one and as soon as I get home my brain just goes ahhhhhh. But here we go……
It has been so nice to be back in the studio after the Christmas period and to start working on our new pieces with our associate choreographer Gary Lambert. The first is a group ensemble and the second is a solo for company dancer Megan. I’m looking forward to seeing her work with the material, and the small snippets I have seen her rehearsing look very interesting.
Over the last few days we have been learning a vast amount of duet material and some ensemble phrases which have been quite taxing on the brain but incredibly exciting. The duets are full of athletic lifts (which are making several muscles ache lol) and moments of small interactions. Its also been interesting revisiting Gary’s notion of ‘paralysis of analysis’, his dynamic approach to movement, his eye for detail and his utter passion for his art.
With regard to the new duets we have been learning, Gary has been instilling into us to have the calmness and smooth quality that marking material can bring yet still executing clarity,form and articulation when moving at a fast pace. A contradiction but a fascinating one. The group phrasing is meaty, fast and dynamic, and is going to be fun having to develop it 🙂
In addition, this week we have had the pleasure (more than I can truly express) this week of having our company class being led by the lovely Ben Craft, a close friend and fellow Royal Ballet school mate of Gary. To be taught and to learn from all of Ben’s many years of experience in many different dance and somatic forms has been beyond a privilege. Its going to be very sad when he returns to Arnhem, Netherlands.
Our first week is almost over and we still have a lot to do but let’s meet the challenge head on 🙂
Off to write up some notes from the past few days before next week as my computer has not been my closest friend of late.
Till next time
So we are now nearing the end of our first week of studio time with Gary Lambert recreating his work Axiom Tangent ready for the Inspired triple bill. Each morning has also seen us take class with Ben Craft, who has travelled all the way from Arnhem to work with us.
This is certainly a treat, not only in terms of the wealth of dancing knowledge that Ben is sharing but also as it gives us a little bit of respite from planning/ leading classes for each other in addition to our jam-packed day of rehearsal!
One of the approaches that Ben uses has been to teach a simple phrase which can be repeated alternating between sides (right and left); once we know the movement he gives us several different directional facings in which to dance the material. This means that we have to really keep our minds in gear and be thinking ahead as to where we are facing next, it is easy to get confused in the middle of a phrase. I think this learning device has been a really useful challenge – it has helped me to build in coping mechanisms whereby even if I do make a mistake, as long as I stay calm, I can quickly adapt and correct myself using visual clues from the space around me and the other dancers. This is also handy for the rehearsal process with Gary as there are lots of repeated variations of phrases to learn often with a sneaky change of facing to catch us out!
In terms of the studio time we have with Gary, it is a very different process compared with last year working on Synapsequence – this time around we are recreating a pre-existing choreography of Gary’s and so must use video footage to learn the material we will be dancing. This in itself demands a very different skill set from us – rather than generating material on our own bodies, we are having to pick up as much detail as we can from the videos (slow-motion playback is particularly handy!) before transferring this into physical information.
Within the piece, there is a lot of duet work and for the most part we are working within the same partnerships that we established in Missing Pages during our last rehearsal period. In Missing Pages rehearsals, Mike and I had to learn several of Adam and Meg’s duets and vice versa so we have already had some experience of learning and adapting material to work in our partnerships. What I have found really interesting in our current studio practice, reconstructing duets from video, is how much more quickly Mike and I have been able to make connections more organic between us allowing the duet material to find a flow. Part of the reason for this is that we are all in the same boat – it is not a case of Meg and Adam already having created their duet and being familiar with it before we try to pick it up. When this was the case, there was always a sense of looking over to Meg and Adam for clarifications – it felt like we were paying more attention to them than each other and as a consequence would miss the real sense of combined momentum by not focussing on one another. Certainly reconstructing from video has been a lot of work for our minds and bodies but I feel that there has been a really positive impact on how Mike and I are relating to each other as dancers.
Now, onto our final day of the week…
Thanks to funding made possible by the Archbishop of Wales Children’s Fund, FFIN DANCE is able to provide free dance classes to local children aged 7+
Company dancers Adam Murphy and Megan Griffiths will work with the young people, teaching them class each day and creating a new dance which will be performed at the FFIN DANCE Winter Dance Festival in Abertillery on November 17th
The holiday dance clubs take place on October 30th, November 1st and 2nd at Ebenezer Chapel in Abertillery, from 10am -2pm each day
Applications for the dance club will need to be made by contacting FFIN DANCE at the FFIN DANCE Offices, C/O The Met, Mitre Street, Abertillery NP13 1AL