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 🙂

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