Tour starts on March 11th 2014

coleg M poster

We open our new show – Still Standing – on March 11th 2014 at Nantgarw Campus, Coleg Y Cymoedd, Cardiff CF15 7QY  The show starts at 7.30pm, the box office number for tickets 01443 663009

We will be performing:
Fractal – Choreography 2013 by Sue Lewis, music by JS Bach.  A series of solos for 4 dancers set to the sublime English Suite Number 3 by JS Bach.  Abstract movement sentences draw details from repeated patterns (fractals) in nature to form a complex partnership with the musical score

Stand Up Straight – Choreography 2013 by Catrin Lewis, An ensemble which explores the idea of Vertigo, using physical and sometimes unconventional movement vocabulary, set to a sound score including the voice over for the Lempert Manouevre and music by Jon Hopkins

Take a look here, where the piece is performed by BA3 students at Trinity Laban

Synapsequence – Choreography 2012  by Gary Lambert, music by Ronen Kozokaro.
Informed by experiences drawn from an extensive performance background Lambert’s focus and interest is working through the body, where the devised movement becomes an expressive and physical landscape. It initiates from an interest in the manipulation and physical articulation of the body, as a reactive response to the images, sound score and environment.  Movement is the starting point of exploration and space is explored as a laboratory to frame movement. Gary’s appetite for movement has resulted in an eclectic style with an emphasis on physical aesthetics.

Through the interaction of the creative process with FFIN dancers, Gary has made a pure, non-narrative work that is highly unique and reflects his love for athletic physicality
Take a look at an extract of the work here

 

Fractal – The Finished Item

Fractal Image Paul Trask

Fractal
Image Paul Trask

The past 3 weeks have been really astounding, the dancers have worked tirelessly from the wonderful Bach Suite in G Minor score and together we have created Fractal.

The dance unfolds in a series of episodes – solos that sometimes morph into duets and a quartet.  The overriding subject and title of the piece, Fractal, comes from the theory of fractals found in nature, science, mathematics etc where a small part of the whole represents the whole itself in a series of repeated patterns.  The score by Bach offers an ideal framework for this type of treatment with obligingly repeated motifs and figures in the music.  The suite written originally for dancing, is both simple and witty, abounding in contrapuntal motifs and rhythmic patterns, all of which have been embraced into the choreography.  It is this crafting of work to music that is my absolute penchant, having a profound love of form and structure.

The result is a 20 minute piece which is charming and athletic, a style for which our reviewers have commented upon favourably in recent years.  Fractal will sit well alongside Catrin Lewis’s work Stand Up Straight, and with Gary Lambert’s new work which we start in the new year; a great triple bill.  Look out for #stillstandingtour on Twitter and I hope you’ll join us at a venue near you in 2014

Here’s a quick shot at the final Gigue in Fractal, being rehearsed at our home studio in Abertillery last week

Fractal 4

IMG_3191The piece is now complete and I’m thrilled with the result of the dancers’ exceptional hard work and dazzling creativity in the studio for the past 2 weeks.  It has exceeded my expectations by a long measure.

Following the delightful score by JS Bach, has been a pleasure and of course a privilege. The recorded version of the Suite is played by the fabulous Maria João Pires, a Portuguese virtuoso pianist, who really brings out the complexity of Bach’s genius.  The piece unfolds as a series of solos that culminate in a wonderfully spirited Gigue, where the dancers weave together the separate strands of the whole, as fractals represent a portion of the entirety.

Although we have created this work reasonably quickly, the dancers have achieved a real classic quality, that has been borne out of intense study of the music, its form and of course its texture.
All that’s left is for me is to work through the transitions and then to investigate the production details of costume and stage design.

For those of you who like our ever-growing reputation for producing technical and athletic work, Fractal won’t disappoint.

Back to the studio on Monday, continuing Stand Up Straight by company dancer Catrin Lewis.  An altogether different piece, testing the dancers’ ability to switch the way in which they use their body and mind.

We can’t wait to share our studio experiences with you, please keep following our blogs.

sue lewis

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 🙂

Fractal 3

IMG_3106One week has already passed and I’m thrilled with the work that we have achieved thus far in the studio.

We’ve been working on solo episodes this week, in close connection with the sublime score by JS Bach, discovering dynamics and structure that aid with the colouring of each performer’s  individual take on each section of the suite.

Having originally being written for dance, the Baroque suite was very often named a Suite de Danse and ultimately it lends itself to choreography so well, and is so often an amazing tool for choreographers of every genre.

The dancers have been experimenting with a number of floor and air patterns making a phrase from this improvisation stage.  Then after “borrowing”  material from each others’ patterns, they have created longer passages of movement material that are developed into solos.

Immensely looking forward to next week, I’ve had a splendid time in the studio – hope the dancers have too!  Never one to be indulgent on a grand scale, I am feeling very, very fortunate to have such an amazing team around me in the ever extending FFIN family.

Look out for more blogs from the dancers very soon

sue lewis