Island Fling

three bathers picasso

Three Bathers, Picasso

Last week was spent mostly on Holyhead in Anglesey, North Wales UK.  The company has been visiting the Island for 8 years now and each year it’s better and better.

We organised a number of *workshops and residencies working with Barton School Of Dance & Drama, Holyhead High School, Anglesey Writers Club and a Movement Group aimed at ages 50+ moving for well-being.  Liaising with Helen Barton, Mike Gould, Robert Greig and Rhiannon Môn Jones we made 2 curtain raiser performances which were both linked to our show The Power Of 3

I feel that this is a very important part of our audience development where people can experience the show through their own bodies and minds and have an ownership to the work when they come to watch the show.  Here’s one of the pieces of written work using the power of 3 as a starting point:

Island memorials
…so many loved you,

They made you three memorials
Simple words on stone, wood, slate
Low by the seawrack shores of Enlli, Sant Tysilio, Porth y Wrach

And later, too, a gate
Opening to wind-combed meadows
At Cors Goch

We’d thought, once, you would rest
High on three-peaked Tryfan,
Long loved above all your beloved mountains,
with other friends now scattered to Eryri’s winds
But we remembered an old conversation, took you back
To the bay where all began,
And your ashes flew free
From Porth Trecastell’s cliffs,
Starling clouds, whirling west
On the salt-bright air

Rhiannon Môn Jones, May 2015 for William Eifion Jones, 17.02.1925 – 29.03.2004

We met some delightful new friends with whom we would love to work again on future projects.
The workshops that we did, involved some exceptional younger and more mature dancers, I’m very grateful for the wonderful support and co-operation that we met on the island.

I’ll be blogging some more of the poems and also our work with the Barton dancers and the Glee Club at the High School – do hope you’ll join me

sue lewis

 

Our performance and residency programme was only possible with the fantastic support of Holyhead Boatyard Ltd and an Arts & Business Cymru CultureStep grant

A&BCymru50mm

 

HB LOGO

 

Full time for Wales

Fascination Image Paul Trask

Fascination
Image Paul Trask

Well our last 2 weeks of Welsh studio time have ended, and now we see the dancers moving to London to spend time with Gary Lambert for the next three weeks.  Gary and the dancers will be making his new work for our Power Of 3 Tour, whilst I will stay in Wales working with the dance faktry ready for our Easter Faktry Festival 2015

The six weeks that we have spent making d-cay and Fascination have been a real pleasure; I know now why I gave up working full time as a lecturer, with a steady wage and paid holidays to start a professional dance company from scratch.

You may have seen the excellent article that Rachel Mainwaring wrote me about in last weeks Western Mail describing my work in the community and how FFIN DANCE started out. Je ne regrette rien: it’s amazing having the freedom to create work, worth every sleepless night and panic about how to pay the mortgage, I’d recommend it to anyone.  I will be live on air on Radio Wales tomorrow evening at 6.30pm if you’d like to listen in, I’ll be talking about creativity.  It’s such a vital and important part of our being to create, so many people I have worked with over the years have said that creating in some way has been an escape, a day dream, a delicious new recipe and even a glowing work of art – but it’s there in us all, we just sometimes need someone to show us the way.

So as we come closer to our tour, we hope that you’ll join us for one or some of our performances.  Please keep posted for some more blogs from our London based lot during the coming weeks.

sue lewis

 

Popping in some paint

D-cay Image Paul Trask

D-cay
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.

Cat

Gathering the scraps

Omaha Beach today

Omaha Beach today

After an indulging three weeks off, I begin to gather all my scraps of paper together to start with the lovely ladies of FFIN DANCE on Monday morning. Under a tight ten day creative period, it is of importance to me that I over-prepare, as those of you that are familiar with my lack of organisation skills will know that Megan and Lizzie tend to act as diaries for me! We say goodbye to Stand Up Straight and delve into a very different world from events that took place on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. 1 of 5 beaches that the American Allies tried to land in extremely unfortunate conditions. Little did they know that German general Rommel had every inch of the coast covered with canons, mines and explosives causing 66% casualties in only minutes of the initial attack.

Beaches

Why had the men come ashore under the false pretext that they would be facing little to no enemy resistance on the beaches? What had gone wrong to produce such high casualties amongst the assaulting infantry? The tales and tribulations are endless from this tragic disaster, so the concentration for me as choreographer is to not recreate WW2, but to facilitate characteristics and highlight elements that can be explored through the human form. Creating an intensity and vulnerability for both dancers and audience members. That’s enough for now, but do follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates regarding new work.

Any burning thoughts or ideas are welcome for both my film editor and I, there are interactive bubbles on this page for your comments. Have a top week FFIN followers.

Cat

Going for a run…

Picasso 3 women under a treeSo today saw us slot together the jigsaw pieces and go for a first run of Fascination, Sue’s latest work for the company. It’s certainly an exciting stage to reach (with the exhilaration augmented by the fire alarm going off mid-way through!) – you get your first taste of what the piece will be like to perform and start to make sense of it in its entirety.

The different sections of the piece have not been created in a chronological order of how the final piece runs, as is often the case in the creative process. At the start of the day, we knew that we had one final piece of the puzzle to crack before we could string all of the sections together.

What is particularly interesting about this newest addition is that it is going to be a structured improvisation on each occasion that the piece is performed. So essentially, the movement itself hasn’t already been pre-determined; within given parameters we will make different choices in the spur of the moment each time we dance the piece. I think that this is going to be a really interesting challenge for us to maintain a sense of freshness in our decision making whilst simultaneously improvising movement and avoiding looking like rabbits caught in the headlights!

All in all, a good day’s work – from hereon in we will start to clarify our own internal narrative and physical pathway through the piece. If the first run is anything to go by we’re onto a cracker, with a fair amount of vogue sweatiness thrown in for good measure!

Effie 🙂

Change is in the air…

_PRT5070-EditReturning to the valleys for rehearsals this time around has had a really heightened sense of change for me. For a start, it feels like the intervening time from when I was last here in May has been particularly long, on top of that, both Meg and Mike who have been constants since my first Ffin encounters have moved on to pastures new. Oh, and even the family who I stay with during my time here have moved house – adding an extra half hour of driving round lost at the end of my commute here last weekend: trying to negotiate roadworks and ignoring the satnav’s instructions to mosey on through no-entry signs and the wrong way down one-way streets!

Change is what keeps you moving forward though – and let’s face it we’re bang on trend, even coinciding with regeneration on Doctor Who! Our first week back in rehearsals has been fresh and challenging – we have welcomed Natasha Wade and it is lovely to have her as a new input into company life. Each day of the week has resulted in the creation of material with distinctly different energies and I look forward to seeing how Sue will weave this all together next week.

So here’s to embracing change, putting our best feet forward and seeing what new journeys emerge in our pieces and that our 2015 tour will take us on…

Effie 🙂

And here we go again

With less than a week to go before we open our new touring programme, it’s all systems go here at the FFIN machine as you can well imagine.

So why you may well ask is the strap line for the show, Still Standing? As always with me, a number of reasons.  Firstly and perhaps more importantly, it’s a play on the title of Stand Up Straight, the new work made by our company dancer Catrin Lewis: I like to thread the essence of the whole bill into the title of the show.  And then rather more on a cryptic level, the company beset by the ever-gloomy nature of the dire financial situation in which we (as do many others) find ourselves, are actually still standing!  We have an amazing network of support from our Board and volunteers, the public and of course our marvellous team of dancers and technical people who do well over and above their expected commitment.
Just a slight aside, we are currently trying to fund raise to provide free holiday dance classes for children and young people in the Blaenau Gwent area, please give generously if you can. You can follow this link by clicking on the words Holiday Dance Club –

We open our show at the brand new college campus for Coleg Y Cymoedd in Nantgarw next Tuesday March 11th at 7.30pm, it would be great to see you there.
Tickets £7 and £5 are available by calling 01443 663009

More blogs to follow, please join us as we continue our tour..

sue lewis