Number Stations

The idea behind the music for Gary Lambert’s Axiom Tangent sprang from some audio clips I found of Number Stations.

Number Stations are a fascinating leftover from the Cold War. Most countries had a secret radio transmitter that broadcast series of numbers, often using a computerised voice, to spies in the field.

No one has ever successfully decoded a transmission, and no government has admitted to using this technology. I was particularly struck by one station, thought to be from East Germany that still broadcasts daily. It appears to be fully automated, as it plays the same recording over and over again, and the tape has been gradually degrading and stretching over the last 30 years.

I was fascinated by the image of this now forgotten machine, in a cupboard in some government building in the now unified Germany, quietly doing its duty for a country that no longer exists.

The idea of the sound gradually stretching was the basis for one of the other sections. Using software I stretched out pre-existing music without dropping the pitch. This stretched out music becomes unrecognizable and turns into weirdly beautiful ambient sound. I took some of the worst pop tunes I could find, and stretched them out to about an hour long.

I’m really looking forward to seeing where FFIN DANCE and Gary take Axiom Tangent

Oli Newman


Axiom Tangent

Axiom Tangent will be one of 3 pieces forming a triple bill called Inspired, which FFIN DANCE will be touring from March 2013

  • Choreography: Gary Lambert
  • Music:  Oli Newman
  •  Lighting: Karsten Tinapp

My focus and interest is working with visually abstract movement, through which the body becomes an expressive and aesthetic landscape. An approach that initiates from an interest in the articulation, manipulation, and syncretic use of various movement influences into a personal movement aesthetic.

Axiom Tangent was initially commissioned in 2010,  the work was a response to Oli Newman’s score, which was inspired by number stations (number stations are cold war recordings, sequences of numbers, transmitted at long wave by most of the cold war countries secret services)

This lead me on a tangent to think about the cold war and what it represented, for me confrontation, resistance and proximity, this lead the way as a starting point, to generate movement ideas based around confrontation, resistance and proximity, other inputs that informed the devising process, was, Sir Isaac Newton’s axiom 3rd law of motion. (“To any action there is always an opposite and equal reaction”).

I didn’t want the outcome or representation of these ideas to be a literal or narrative interpretation within movement and so the process was to abstract away from these possibilities: with the intention of presenting the transformation of such dark subject material into something of abstracted beauty and in a sense, the opposite visually from the initial subject materials starting point.

I’m very much looking forward to getting back into the studio with the FFIN dancers in the new year, try and catch us on tour

Gary Lambert



Packed House

Laura Mumford Photography

Last Saturday was our 5th annual Winter Dance Faktry Festival held at our home base in The Met in Abertillery.

64 community dancers, 10 professional dancers, 2 photographers, 6 volunteers and 3 technicians brought together a showcase performance that ranged from professional dance pieces to works in progress that have been made during community projects over the past term.

We were joined by professional dance companies Ceyda Tanc Dance and Exim Dance, together with our youth groups from the community.

I am delighted to say that we played to a packed house, full not only of excited and supportive parents and friends but also the general public who wanted to come and share our work.  The comments and feedback that we have received have been overwhelming with many congratulations on our achievements.

The Festival has grown and developed over the years and each year sees us making new friends and links and truly is a great celebration of our work and commitment to providing opportunities for young dancers and choreographers to stage their work with professional guidance and support.

Easter Dance Faktry Festival 2013 will be our next venture, we look forward to seeing you all again

Please keep following our company progress via Twitter #ffin dance and join our Facebook pages

sue lewis

Camelot Inquisition

Cardiff Castle remembers the fallen

On a wet and windy morning last week, Megan and I went to the book launch of The Camelot Inquisition written by Welsh author John F. Wake.  We arrived at Cardiff Castle and were shown to a marvellous old room where John would be talking about his new book.  The book, published by Little Acorns Publishers, will be in the shops from the first week in December and looks at King Arthur, Merlin and The Grail.

John spoke passionately about how Wales has much written evidence regarding the Arthurian story documented by Geoffrey of Monmouth, and yet the popular more modern stories of Tintagel and Camelot have overtaken the more ancient Welsh writing.

John has written the story of Walter Walters for FFIN DANCE, which I have choreographed into a dance work entitled Missing Pages.  It is the memoir of a soldier from WW1 with a shocking guilty secret to tell, Missing Pages is set to the marvellous Ravel Sonata for Violin and Cello.  We will be touring this work in 2013 – opening in London in March.


Anyone enjoying the Arthurian Legend will love this book, get along to Waterstones and have a look.  John has also published various other books, check out his stuff on kindle too.

sue lewis

Missing Missing Pages…

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

Our 3 week creation period for Missing Pages ended on Friday and it feels very odd to part ways with the work for a time having delved so far into Ravel’s Sonata, John F Wake’s short story ‘Walter Walters’ and our own material informed by Sue’s creative tasks. Having inhabited this world and settled into such a sense of structure each day, company class followed by creation and rehearsal sessions, now comes an inevitable period of readjustment for each of us…which right now is feeling strange indeed.

In my experience, no matter what the length of the creation period there is always a sense of wanting those few extra days at the end just to round everything off and while I would happily have continued with Missing Pages this week I think we have left it in a strong place with space to breathe. On Friday, we filmed a rough version of our final run of the piece so we will be able to use this as reference point for where we left off and hopefully a little time away will give us a greater perspective on the piece as a whole – allowing ideas to assimilate from their distinct jigsaw shapes being pieced together.

We will be back revisiting and sharing the material for the Winter Dance Faktry’s Professional Development Course – so if you’d like to get a first-hand sense of the movement material perhaps we’ll see you there?

In the meantime, it’s time for us to get back into Connections Tour mode ready for our performance at DanceLive in Aberdeen next week….

Effie 🙂


John F. Wake Approves

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

Welsh author John F. Wake who has written the short story entitled Walter Walters says of a short film extract “the music, the dance, the choreography made this short sequence [of Missing Pages] extremely seductive and powerful. I can imagine when it is finished and in a packed theatre the audience will be transfixed from start to finish”
John’s story of a WW1 soldier and his guilty secret is the inspiration for Sue Lewis’ newest work for FFIN DANCE – Missing Pages.  The company is really happy that John approves of the way in which his story has been used.

Please take a look at our blogs and images of the rehearsal period

week 3 all steam ahead :)

Evening everyone!

Sorry for the delay since my last blog, its been quite a busy few days in addition to my weekend work, so my free time has been spent digesting all we have done and allowing my brain to wind down. Feeling quite refreshed after today’s work and a lovely bath so lets get down to business.

We are now into our final creation week with our new piece, Missing Pages, and it’s certainly starting to take shape. Having worked extensively on movements 1,3 and sections of 4, to the beautiful string sonata score by Ravel the previous week, we began this morning by tackling movement 2. We were tasked initially to listen closely and see if we could identify familiar musical phrasings that have been explored in the other sections of music. This proved quite difficult to begin with, yet after listening all together we began to notice points within the score that were familiar. The music has shown itself to be very clever yet simple in its treatment and development in each section. I still find it incredible that such a rich, expressive and emotive piece of music only uses two instruments.

It has been so helpful using the written score as a visual aid alongside listening to the music on the sound system or our ipods. It gives you an added layer to draw upon as you can see the changes in dynamics, how subtle or strongly notes are played to sections of music that are developments of each other, mirrored or in contrast. I find that it allows you to understand the music in a much deeper sense and will in turn inform how you execute movement in its physical exertion to its intention. I hope to be able to continue working like this and am eager to learn more, it has even reawakened my desire to play music,  I might just have to bring my violin out from its hiding place in the attic and maybe I’ll finally pluck up the courage to learn the harp, my favourite instrument. will keep you posted 🙂

Looking forward to seeing the week through and bring the pieces to its completion. still lots to do and things to work on so here’s to a busy week.

Chat soon,


Mike 🙂

#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