Finishing off

102-a4Just touching base after what was a very busy and enjoyable week here at FFIN DANCE. The main goal of our most recent week in the studio was to finish the creation period of Sue’s new work Virago. Not only was this achieved but we also had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the brilliant Paul Trask, our photographer as well as some exciting conversations about the next steps for the company.

The creation of Virago has been a very special and personal process that I believe has brought the company firmly together ahead of our next performances. The story of Minnie McGuire along with the social issues it relates to have really pulled on our heart strings as well as conjured up many different images and thoughts that have inspired our creative work in the studio. The movement feels very honest and physically challenging to dance and that combined with the way Sue has stitched the work together makes for something that I’m sure will be very exciting to watch. Beyond the movement is a variety of different music as well as voiceovers and there will be plenty more to please the eye including our striking set and lighting designs. I think I speak for all the dancers when I say we can’t wait to share it with our existing audiences as well as with new ones!

For the first part of the week we were joined by Rochelle who is on work placement from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Rochelle joined us for company class as well as observing our (sometimes chaotic) rehearsal process! With all the current company dancers having spent some of their training at Trinity Laban, it was lovely to welcome Rochelle and we hope she enjoyed her time getting a taste of how a small professional dance company works.

The week was also underpinned by the looming result of our bid to become the new leaseholders of Beaufort Theatre & Ballroom, an exciting prospect that could bring in so many more opportunities for the company and the surrounding community.

Watch this space for more information about all that is FFIN DANCE!

Julian x

A fond farewell

Missing Pages Photo Paul Trask

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

It seems fitting somehow to say “cheerio” to our senior dancer Effie, after such a successful run of events to celebrate our 10th anniversary season. Our season will continue into the spring of 2017 with new dancer Sarah joining Catrin, Natasha and Julian, whilst Effie is moving on to pastures new.
Effie has been with the company for 5 years, having met us at our Winter Intensives.  We were so impressed with her that we offered her a place to learn some of Gary Lambert’s work for the company, to replace Lucille Tappa in Synapsequence.

Effie has created and danced many lovely roles for the company over the years, but I think it was Missing Pages, that really brought out her lyricism and technique more than any other.

Effie has been a wonderful workshop leader and teacher too, with her quirky ways of motivating children and young people; especially noteworthy is her “bananas of the world unite” and her numerical jogging pattern warm ups. We will miss her zany music in professional class, Dr Who will never be the same again!

The image by Paul Trask that is featured above, carries a story, I’m sure that Effie won’t mind me sharing it.  The company was in Llanhilleth Wales, shooting some images for our tour Inspired: Paul wanted to shoot somewhere local and out of the studio.  This obviously caused a bit of a stir in the village and gathered quite a lot of spectators who were generally supportive and also inquisitive. After a little while, word got around and we were hailed with some children shouting “come over here boys, there’s a stripper down by the railway station” The photo above and some others too, were the culprits of this mistaken identity. We laughed about that one for quite a time, as you can imagine.

So finally it’s time to say a very fond farewell.  We wish Effie well in her future pursuits and will miss her tremendously as a wonderful dancer and warm, faithful friend.  Please keep in touch.

sue lewis

Popping in some paint

D-cay Image Paul Trask

Image Paul Trask

With advent moving closer towards us, I thought to write a wee blog for the Ffin followers amongst you. Yes, November has been a long one, nevertheless, the company has seen some great progress and involvement with bookings, collaborations and feedback etc. Our Artistic Director Sue and photographer Paul Trask have been putting in the hours to deliver some marvelous marketing material for the season as the dancers and I sit back to wait and see who’s made the perfect “poster pose”! You can see some of the images for D-cay in the gallery sometime later this week.

Working on the practical section of D-cay with Natasha and Effie was an absolute joy! It’s always a cracking feeling when folk recognize your trail of thought during studio time. The dancers work both together and independently for each section, welcoming any disruptions from a spoken text sound score. We introduced sensations getting lost to extremes that measure up to no other feeling. Now having an outline to D-cay it is essentially a case of popping in some paint to really stress the initial idea.

With footage soon to be at hand, my collaborator, film editor and research junky Jose Macabra prepares to figure out order, placement and lighting specs. Remarkably exciting times ahead!
Thanks for reading all and have a lovely week.


Power of 3 Preening…

IMG_0506Tuesday was photo shoot day with Paul Trask in the Ffin Dance studios so there was an unusual amount of preening going on! Having helpfully been sent YouTube tutorials by Sue, we donned the smoky eye look and then set about creating some sleek up-dos with our hair. Let it be noted here that despite having had Meg as a personal hairdresser on tour for the last couple of tours, I was in demand when it came to styling Tash and Cat’s hair!

With hair and make-up up to standard, we danced various sections from both Fascination and D-Cay to capture some images for our marketing material for The Power of 3 Tour coming up in 2015. Due to the nature of the photos being taken and the flash that was being used, we were quite restricted in the amount of space we had to dance in – being limited to only a quarter of the stage space.

Throughout the day, we had a chance to look at the photos on the camera after we’d run a short section which helped to inform our placement and direction before repeating the process. It’s also interesting for us to see those ‘in between’ and transitional moments caught on camera – sometimes it’s rather difficult to figure out from what physical material the moment has been captured!

So there you have it – a quick little insight into our flashy photo day…keep a look out for the new shots hitting your screens on the Ffin website, twitter and facebook pages!

Effie 🙂

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 🙂

Inspired leaving the nest

Missing Pages Image Paul Trask

Missing Pages
Image Paul Trask

And so here we are, it’s the opening of our tour Inspired 2013,  we open at Laban Theatre London this evening. How exciting.

Yesterday we spent the day in Studio 7 at Trinity Laban rehearsing all 3 pieces – Missing Pages, Degrees of Freedom and Axiom Tangent, putting the FFIN machine into action.  Whilst the dancers were in the studio, there was a whole lot of technical stuff going on in the theatre. The Laban Theatre technical crew under the direction of Fay Patterson, were rigging and focussing lights together with Mark Read our production manager, and setting the stage ready for today’s technical and dress rehearsals.

Photographer Paul Trask has spent the last 2 days observing the pieces and getting a good grip on some tasty shots that he will be taking for promotional material for the company.  He is an amazing artist, he will watch and wait and always seems to capture the essence of our work in his images.  We’re all looking forward to seeing the results, which of course we will share with you.

During the day, I met up with Ronen Kozokaro (composer of Synapsequence) and Oli Newman (composer of Axiom Tangent) which was great.  Made some new friends which is always good and met up with some familiar ones too – how come work is such good fun?

And so today has come – opening night later tonight – and time for Gary and I to hand over our work to the dancers and the production team.  Do we trust them?  Of course we do, our creations are now flying the nest and we are very much looking forward to sharing them with you all.

Many thanks to you for following us through our blogs, tweets and FB posts, stay with us now throughout our tour and let us know what you think of the show

sue lewis

.. and 5 days

photo shoot  Missing Pages

photo shoot
Missing Pages

I’m sure that many of you reading this blog will have experienced the turmoil of your life before opening night on your tour.  Emotions can go from extreme exhilaration to the depths of despair in a matter of minutes, seconds even.

I have had a lot of requests from our supporters for an insight into the time before a big event in our calendar, hence the blogs which will be bombarding your screens over the next few weeks.  This week sees the posters and marketing literature being printed, I can’t wait for you all to see them, Paul Trask’s images look very beautiful and we feel that they really capture the show.


Press release for opening night at Laban Theatre on March 5th written and waiting to go out, and several applications for funding future projects waiting to be finished off.

My piece Missing Pages, will need re-visiting.  A complex piece in terms of structure (as always!) will need to be fresh in my mind before rehearsals next week.  We heard this week that the author of Missing Pages, John F Wake, will be coming to the show on opening night!
Follow our tweets #inspiredtour2013

Looking forward very much to sharing our journey with you all, thanks for your support as always

sue lewis

Missing Pages #5

Missing Pages

Day 5 saw the close of the first week of my studio time with the dancers making Missing Pages.  Using a short story written for us by John F Wake, together with divine music by Ravel, the work is s series of male/female duets depicting the memoirs of an imaginary character Walter Walters.

I am very much privileged to be working with an amazing team of artists on this piece, with the dancers playing a pivotal role in the combination of the elements – they have been amazingly creative in the studio this week, surpassing all of my expectations (which are pretty demanding)

Today we welcomed another team member, photographer Paul Trask, to our creative session.  We were located at Llanhilleth Railway Station in Abertillery, South Wales, for a photo shoot which at times reminded me of Brief Encounter.  We shot some really evocative images which will be used throughout the coming season for our Inspired Tour 2013

All in all a great week, I look forward to sharing more with you next week – have a great weekend!

sue lewis