Homeward Bound

IMG_2869So the FFIN team have reached the end of the Inspired Tour 2013 and what a journey it has been. I think it’s safe to say that all the members have had an enriching time.
We performed twice in Germany, selling out on both evenings. The evening consisted of our triple bill plus a piece choreographed by Ben Craft and performed by two of his students. Ben took inspiration from his time in Namedy last year to create a piece based around the many artifacts of the castle. As well as choreographing, Ben played a live score along with fellow musician Bart Tarenskeen. What resulted was an interesting collaboration between dancers and musicians.
Both of the evenings went well for the FFIN -ners. The pieces all sit quite comfortably on us now, even with all the new and sometimes confusing facings, that we can really indulge in the material and revisit some of the finer details that may have been lost along the way.
For Missing Pages it was revisiting the original stories that we had way back in September last year that we used to generate material. This was something I had to work quite hard on as I am now without my partner for the majority of the piece. In order for the piece to make sense as a whole I had to create another missing page, so to speak, to allow my story to develop through the piece.
With my solo Degrees of Freedom I was looking to refine the different dynamic contrasts and how I could use the new facings to maximum effect. The whole solo is very sculptural and multi faceted so I wanted to make sure that really worked and pushed the material to its full potential. I feel very privelledged to be dancing this solo as I know that it was very close to Gary’s heart and I hope that I did it justice.
Axiom Tangent has always proved to be a bit of a tricky one to master. With a new cast member it was important that we worked as a team. The majority of the piece is a series of contact duets in unison. Unison being quite hard at the best of times let alone when you’re trying to lift another person! I think this is the piece that grew the most over the time in Germany and it is a credit to Cat that she was able to step in and learn a difficult piece and to then perform with relatively little rehearsal time.
The German audience were very appreciative. They were open and receptive to the work and it was a pleasure to perform to them.
It’s been an amazing experience to share with such talented artists. I’ve learnt a lot over the past four days which I look forward to taking into my working life.
As I write we’re currently driving home. No idea of the location but I can’t wait to get to the ferry for a g&t.

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

Opening night Tanz@Namedy 2013

IMG_2859After a marvelous day of rehearsals and restaging Inspired for a round presentation, we performed to a packed audience, who absolutely loved the work.  Each of the pieces was called back to the stage for rapturous curtain calls, the audience refusing to let the dancers get away with just one series of bows.


Our new company dancer, Catrin settled well in Gary’s group piece, Axiom Tangent, which was an incredible task for her to learn such a meaty role in so short a time.

Megan, Mike and Effie looked like they were really at home in the work, our last part of this season’s tour.


As usual the welcome that we receive from the princess and her staff is amazing, the food and the accommodation incredible.

The crowd are all in the wonderful castle grounds in the evening sunshine, enjoying the beauty of this stunning placeWe’re looking forward to the second performance this evening, it’s been quite a relaxed day, hoping for another great audience and of course even more standing ovations for our work!

sue lewis

No let-up

zFVQHQFuInCF47CmeVmCghZ8ItsuNxPMCunTK2Odqbsvi4iMaUZGB8PT2HNPFmmRhav2cKfTvYOdd60DaZUmitFkAdAQQxr7XnA97qd3O1h18hFjHjVzdlkoPuEpr6xOu8Y2yC5MEmOMUe6lOcl1OWqnQ4dIAbh4kG7iSC5gyU3T8AFXn0ZBXPzxTdGeFyjzEqih3nO2Just when the school term ends and everyone is talking holidays, many dance companies are gearing up for summer schools, festivals and European touring, and FFIN DANCE is just one of those such companies.

For the past few weeks, the company has been recruiting and planning the new A Level Dance course that will commence in September, finalising the timetable and content last Friday.  There are still some places left, please contact us if you would like to be considered.
Next week, I am commissioned by Blaenau Gwent Arts Development to make a new work for the senior summer dance school, a privilege and pleasure to which I am looking forward immensely.  I started the summer school many years ago now and I’m glad to see that it has grown and developed into one of the best summer dance schools in Wales – offering great value and expert tuition all in one package.

Then the company is off to Germany once again.  Our associate choreographer Gary Lambert is curating a dance festival at the wonderful Schloss Burg Namedy in Andernach, hosted by the Princess Heide von Hohenzollern.  We will be performing our triple bill Inspired in the amazing castle spiegelsaal (hall of mirrors) which will be the last time that we perform this bill.  Last summer we received 3 encores after each performance – a tough act to follow!

FFIN DANCE Synapsequence Choreography: Gary Lambert Image Laura Mumby

Choreography: Gary Lambert
Image Laura Mumby

And my thoughts now turn to the new season for 2014, commencing work in the studio in September.  The company says goodbye to dancer Adam Murphy and we welcome recently graduated dancer Catrin Lewis.  Catrin is no new-comer to the company: she has performed with our 2nd company ffin2 and also served her apprenticeship with us back in 2008.  She was invited by Gary Lambert to perform in his work Synapsequence last season when she was on work placement with the company, making such an impression that we snapped her up immediately on her graduation from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music earlier this month.


We will be platforming her latest work Stand Up Straight as part of our new triple bill for 2014

So no rest just yet, wheels keep rolling at the FFIN machine.  We’ll be blogging from Germany, please join us and keep in touch with our shenanigans …

sue lewis