The finale

Burg Namedy

Burg Namedy

Well what a tour it has been. Last week saw the company travelling to Milton Keynes to perform, for the final time this season, in the Motus Dance Festival.

It was such such a lovely day and a great way to say goodbye to the current ‘Still Standing’ tour. The sun was shining and we had an incredible space to perform in. Ffin Dance was a group of happy chappies.

We performed three of the four pieces of rep (Fractal, Sentient Trace and Stand up Straight) which all seemed to go down very well with the audience.

I always feel quite sad to say goodbye to pieces, especially when you have just reached that stage where you know the pieces so well that you don’t have to worry about what comes next, or looking for those little intricate moments, or trying to remember corrections you have been given or one of the other thousands of things that performers have to think about for new pieces. My main aim for our last performance was to enjoy it. Luckily I did.

Fractal is always a bit of nightmare to get yourself ready for. The material for the whole piece requires a lot of stamina, both mental and physical. There’s a lot of standing on one leg, hitting double pirouettes, intricate foot work, unison to get, musical phrasing etc. These combined are all things that I worry about and usually things that I’m trying to get everytime. Sometimes I’d be concentrating so hard on trying to find these that I’d come off stage and would only see the things that I didn’t do right rather than look at what I did get right. It was so nice to come off stage on Sunday after Fractal and think ‘ooo I enjoyed that!’.

Sentient Trace has been a special piece for me to perform this tour. Working with both Gary Lambert and Catrin Lewis was such a privilege. I have known Catrin for many years and being able to work and perform with such a close friend gave the piece a totally different quality. We know each other so well that the piece could grow and change throughout the tour. It was a very different type of piece to what I have performed in previous seasons with Gary but it was definitely an experience that I won’t forget.

Last on the bill was Stand up Straight. I felt that the company really went for it.  We had the space to really indulge in the ‘motion not movement’ brief that we have been working to. I know I woke up with some bruises from this on the following Monday!

It was also a bittersweet end to the tour as it marked my last performance with the company. I joined the company in 2010 as an apprentice when I was a fresh faced graduate and I now leave my position as dancer and assistant to the director with all the knowledge and experience I have gained but hopefully still looking fresh faced.

It has been an incredible journey for me with the company and one which I will struggle to put into words. I have learnt so much from Sue, the dancers and all the other guest artists who I have had the privilege to work with and I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the Ffin Dance family, past and present, who has been a part of my journey. Words can not describe.

Thank you also to everyone that has supported the company by attending workshops, classes, shows, drink receptions at Hobbits. Your feedback has been invaluable and I will take it all away with me.

I can honestly say that working with the company has never been a chore and I’ve always felt so lucky that I’ve looked forward to going into rehearse and perform during every creation period – except using the bus to get to the valleys!

I have many happy memories to take away with me and I will always look back at my time at Ffin with fondess and a sense of great achievement.

I wish the company the best of luck for their future and I look forward to watching them from the other side of the stage on their next tour.

Diolch yn fawr and toi toi toi.
Meg x

 

Tara Ffin Tara

Inspired in Germany

Namedy flyer 2This week saw the company return to Germany which is definitely one of the highlights of the tour for myself.
It was so lovely to return to Namedy and perform once again in the Spiegelsaal.
Catrin, Effie and myself set off from London St Pancras (after a false start where Catrin and I bought the wrong tickets) and met the rest of the company in Dover. Setting sail across the channel, sadly without a re enactment of The Little Mermaid but with a cheeky g&t.
Arriving in France we began our journey to Germany. We arrived at midnight feeling very tired and slightly squashed. We were all quick to sample some German beer and headed straight to bed.
Tuesday morning saw us taking company class led by Mike and we were joined by two young dancers Manon and Jessie from Holland who were also performing in the programme in a piece by Ben Craft.
We were straight into rehearsal for Axiom Tangent, Gary Lambert’s group piece for us.
I have spent time with Catrin in the studio teaching her the structure of the piece but this was the first time that we have been able to fully rehearse the complicated lifts that happen throughout. To say the pressure was on is to put it mildly. We had to get used to lifting one another again as we have not worked like this together since we were younger and adjusting how we used our weights provided some challenges for us.
Our performances at Namedy happen in the round. This involves the audience being on all sides so there is never a ‘true front’. This type of performance setting provides many challenges. As you have the audience in 360° there is no hiding, especially when they are in such close proximity to you.
As there is no ‘front’ we spent a long time rehearsing all three pieces of the ‘Inspired’ bill readjusting the facings and the placings of both the material and the dancers. It’s quite an exciting thing to do as you have to rewire the brain’s way of thinking of the piece and it takes a little bit of time for it to settle into something you recognise, a bit like washing your favourite pair of jeans- they take a while to get comfy again.
I especially enjoyed reworking ‘Degrees of Freedom’ in this space. The fluorescent lights which normally light the piece from the back of the stage were this time placed on the floor around me, providing little areas which dictated where the material would be performed. I was free to play with the directions of the material and kept it quite free and unset which is very in keeping with sections of the piece. This has been a big challenge for the brain because my usual markers of where material begins and ends has shifted dramatically, especially when the movement becomes faster. Trying to keep the pace of it and decide which way I want to do the material has kept me on my toes…quite literally.
I’m looking forward to performing over the next two evenings and seeing how the pieces develop.
Thanks for reading
Meg

#missing pages

Hello all,

Its been a while since I have posted a blog here, this mainly due to needing to give my brain and body a rest in the evenings! It has been a very tough process so far both mentally and physically.

As many of you will have read we have spent the last two weeks researching, reading, improvising, creating, learning, structuring (and counting!) material for Sue Lewis’ new piece for the company entitled Missing Pages.

It is always an exciting opportunity to work with Sue in the studio as I feel we always tackle pieces from new angles and in my time with the company with some sort of stimulus. This time around we are using John F. Wake’s story for the company called Walter Walters. The story has led to many discussions within the company about what our own version of the story would be and the different ways in which we view the characters.

it has been a real pleasure creating movement that highlights certain aspects of the story for us and even though we are not acting out the story as such I have found that the movement content coming has a rawness to it and an internal intention that transform the movement into something else….I’m finding that quite a hard thing to try and explain!

It has also been lovely to welcome Adam back to the Ffin family. Adam and I have been working closely together over the past two weeks as we form one of the partnerships in the piece. I have found it very refreshing working with him as he constantly pushes me to find new and different ways of working, not going with what feels comfortable and pushing to try and find a more interesting alternative. Having a long rehearsal period to create the piece has allowed us to do this.

After creating a lot of material and setting it we are now going back to things and refining it; looking for those little things that may have been lost and making sure that we are not getting too comfortable and loosing these intricacies is something I think that we will have to constantly be doing in the future when we begin to tour the works.

On Wednesday I will be live tweeting throughout the day to show our followers what a day in the life of a Ffin dancer is. Please search for the #missingpages #dayinthelifeofaffindancer hash tags on Twitter to follow for photos and studio updates.

Thanks for reading

Meg