Our Inspired Tour has come to an end, with a marvellous 5 days in the German Rhineland, our home from home. Originally planned as one performance, this sold out with 2 weeks to go; another performance was consequently added which also sold out! Standing ovations and 4 encores at each performance, our German audience absolutely loved Inspired.
The season has been exceptional with the dancers and technical crew really fitting into the 3 pieces of work, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our staff, guest artists, our FFIN Friends and sponsors, our Board and of course you our audience and friends for making it such a success.
As many of you know, we are not funded by the Arts Council (neither England or Wales) and we manage our company as a social enterprise and business. This has in turn I believe, made us stronger and ultimately more skilled – learning new business skills, marketing, promotion and budget management, skills not always natural to an artist. We have made some marvellous friendships and lasting links with like-minded people which may not have occurred had we been part of the mainstream. So a little word of encouragement to those struggling with funding – keep at it and have faith.
This is my last day in the office before taking a short break to the lovely hills above Malaga in Spain. As well as hopes of sitting reading numerous books, cooking delicious fresh food, sampling local sherries and wines, I will be working on my new piece for next season. It’s an episodic series of solos set to some of the divine Bach Partitas, using the concept of repeated patterns in nature and science: it’s called FRACTAL. It will make up the 3rd piece of our new triple bill with a piece by new company dancer Catrin Lewis, entitled Stand Up Straight which examines the medical condition Vertigo together with a brand new piece made for us by our Associate Choreographer Gary Lambert.
The new show carries the strap line – Still Standing – look out for our tweets and further blogs.
Wagons rolling on to our last UK date for our current tour Inspired.
On Thursday June 6th we will be performing at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, our only performance in the Welsh capital, so we hope you can join us.
The tour has exceeded our expectations in every way, with increased audience numbers in each venue and also great audience feedback – very often leading to impromptu post performance chats in the bar afterwards! At The Met in Abertillery, Effie and I had the pleasure of such chat with our sponsors from Tudor Brewery, and also past school students of mine from Ebbw Vale, a great ending to an excellent show.
We have heard of the sad passing of Adam’s grandmother recently and out thoughts and prayers go to him and his family at this time.
After our Chapter gig, we will be planning our visit to Germany; for the second year in succession Princess Heide von Hohenzollern has invited us to perform at Burg Namedy in the beautiful Rhineland. More about that next month.
We hope you can get along to our last UK performance of Inspired, and join us for a chat on June 6th, please let us know what you think of the show.
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
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.
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….
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
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.
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.
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!