Countdown To Opening Night

FFIN DANCE Five Dances

Photo Simon Scott

As our studio time ticks away, I’m mindful of the practicalities of the approaching spring season, which starts for us at Laban Theatre on March 5th

In addition to preparing our 3 pieces in the studio, I’m aware that we need to be looking forwards too and so we are already planning our diaries for touring 2014 and beyond.

I’m very proud of the fact that so many people are very complimentary about the company and want to work with us!



The last 2 weeks in the studio have been most special: our team of dancers has been spectacular and soaking up the knowledge and experience that Gary Lambert has offered up so generously.  Their work ethos and capacity to work beyond the page is heartening.  As a self-confessed work-aholic I can be quite critical and intolerant of working with a team that is not pulling together, this period of studio time has been super productive and we are all feeling very fired up for our forthcoming tour.

As I write this blog, Gary is working with company dancer Megan on a solo he has created for her.  Pearls of wisdom are flying about and it’s a real treat to watch Gary at work.  His passion and thirst for excellence is infectious.

As in 2012, we open our spring season at Laban Theatre, in less than 2 weeks and we are busy promoting and marketing.  Lots of very nice comments from fans about our posters and postcards.  Do join our tweets #inspiredtour2013

At FFIN DANCE we are all excited about this coming season, and have a firm belief that this is going to be a great year for us!

I am really looking forward to sharing our 3 new works with you all, and sharing some of your comments.

sue lewis

image: Laura Mumby Photography

What a week :)

FFIN DANCE Image by Simon Scott 2012

Image by Simon Scott 2012

Hi everyone,

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




DanceLive 2012 Done

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

Yesterday saw the second performance for FFIN DANCE in Scotland. We performed at The Lemon Tree which is situated in the heart of Aberdeen.

We were lucky enough to kick start the day by taking company class at CityMoves which is a really lovely space, with beautiful arched windows. We rehearsed both Five Dances and Synapsequence, ironing out any creases we had, double checking all the unison sections in Five Dances and reaffirming the work that we did with Gary last week with one another.

We then moved over to the theatre venue where we were joined by photographers Simon Scott and Laura Mumby, who had come to take photographs of our dress rehearsal.

The dress rehearsal was a little shakey. Even though we have performed this programme many times these dress rehearsal wobbles still happen. They can be for a variety of reasons such as getting used to a new space, nerves, getting a little too comfortable with the material, timing issues, lighting issues, body issues the list goes on. The most important thing though is to realise what has happened, how you can fix it and not letting it affect you mentally. An audience can always tell when you are nervous or scared! I always find having a bad run of something jolts me into upping my game because as a dancer you are constantly looking to achieve that elusive perfect performance!

Before a show most dancers will have a little set routine. I will always have a banana whilst doing my make up and then spend a few minutes trying to tame my cows licks. I then go about warming up and focusing myself. I talk through each piece and remember things that I’ve been working on and what things I need to get across to the audience. After I’ve finished this mental preparation I remind myself that I am lucky to be where I am and that performing is why I put myself through the disciplines of being a dancer and that I’m meant to enjoy it, which you can sometimes forget during the stresses of a performance day. Once I have done that I feel that ‘I’m good to go’ and I can go out onto the stage confident and knowing that I love my job.

In this performance of the Connections Tour we were without Platform4 for Five Dances. Their absence always has an impact on the piece as they are such an integral part of the piece. As well as forming relationships with the other dancers we also formed them with “our” musician and I always find it a challenge to bring out the characteristics of the piano when Chris, my musician, isn’t there. Platform4’s absence means that the dancers have to work harder to create the right personality/atmosphere for the piece.

Synapsequence saw the return of Catrin. It was lovely to work with her again after having her join the company for our summer touring. Synapsequence felt like it had grown a lot since the summer. After working with Gary I felt that the movement had matured and I had refound the sense of moving through my body as opposed to just creating the shapes of the movement. The result of this is a more cross-lateral way of moving where you are fully engaging with not just your body but with the space around you aswell.

After the show we took part in a Q&A. Here the company discussed the programme and the work that the company does with members of the audience. It was interesting to hear what questions people had about us and the show and also to hear their thoughts and opinions of the work.

All in all, I think FFIN DANCE definitely showed off what Welsh dance has to bring to a Scottish audience and hope that we can return again on the next tour.

Thank you for reading



All Change

Yesterday saw a change of direction for the dancers as they travelled from Wales to London to work with Gary Lambert spending a day rehearsing Synapsequence.  Next week we will be performing Synapsequence and Five Dances at the DanceLive 2012 Contemporary Dance Festival in Aberdeen.

The company has been in the studio for the past month making Missing Pages with me, so it was a complete head and body change for them to do Synapsequence.  As always, working with Gary was a pleasure and a joy.  Gary works with us again in February 2013 creating a solo for company dancer Megan entitled Degrees of Freedom together with a new ensemble for our 4 dancers, Axiom Tangent.

We are really looking forward to performing in Aberdeen next Tuesday, a first for all of us.  The Festival opening this week with Andy Howitt’s piece Deliberance, which received rave reviews.  We are hoping to make new contacts and friends and start building a Scottish following for FFIN DANCE

And so on to today – planning Half Term Holiday Dance Club, the Winter Dance Faktry Festival, Winter Intensives and tour booking.

Hope to see you next week Tuesday 23rd October at The Lemon Tree in Aberdeen, it’s going to be a great night.  Tickets £7.50

sue lewis