What an amazing and inspiring two weeks I’ve had in the studio with FFIN DANCE! I would like to thank Sue, Catrin, Effie and Natasha for making my experience such an enjoyable one, by making me feel welcome and part of the team. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to spend time in the studio with you all.
Through joining company class with Ffin every morning and observing rehearsals in the afternoon, as well as learning sections of repertoire I was able to gain an insight into what it is like to be a part of a professional dance company. The dancers were always happy to help, advise and encourage me during class and as a result I have learnt so much more about myself as a dancer and areas in which I need to improve.
I couldn’t have asked for a more fulfilling experience of life in a professional dance company. It is a totally different environment to the training provided at university, and therefore I feel any opportunities given by dance companies to post graduates is invaluable to help bridge the gap between training and obtaining a professional job.
I have definitely taken a lot from my time with the company and appreciate all their guidance. I can’t thank them all enough!! I would recommend Ffin and the opportunities they offer to all post graduates looking to develop a professional dance career.
I am really looking forward to seeing the dancers perform their finished pieces on stage next year as part of their 2015 The Power Of 3 Tour!
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!
Matthew Sandiford is a final year BA Hons Dance student at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London. He is an old friend of the company having spent time with us at Intensive programmes and following our performances over the past few years. He is currently undertaking research in rehearsal techniques. The following conversation was the result of an online interview that we had recently.
My I.P (Independent Project) is based on the use of unison within choreographic works and the want for perfection. To make myself clearer the question I’m asking is; ‘Can I ever achieve perfect unison within my works? & how will my rehearsal techniques benefit this?’
The whole process I’ve been looking at finding perfect unison and discovering just how particular I am with details.The questions I’m asking you are as follows;
1.When choreographing/rehearsing a dance work involving sections of unison how particular are you with the unity?
2.What do you believe perfect unison is? & Do you believe it’s possible to achieve when working with different bodies?
3.What rehearsal strategies/techniques do you use to improve and ensure unison is at its absolute best?
At FFIN DANCE, we spend a lot of time with intricacies and details in terms of both esoteric understanding and technique. We will devote a lot of time to achieving good unison believing that one can create something very special with more than one person performing the same or similar material, at the same time.
To me personally, I believe that unison isn’t just about the same thing at the same time, it can also involve similarity and complimenetary action and accompaniment. For instance, dancers doing similar movements to similar places in the music.
Yes I do believe that unison can be achieved working with different bodies. Of course timing issues and spatial issues need to be addressed for it to appear united to the onlooker.
Before repetition is employed in rehearsal, there has to be a clear understanding from the choreographer to the dancers.After that we spend time filming the sections so that the dancers can take action individually on discrepancy (iPads and iPhones are brilliant for this!). Finally we will use good old-fashioned repetition and notes ad infinitum to achieve the desired quality. As much of our work centres around musical correlation, unison can be more easily achieved. However in our new work Five Dances, there are silent sections performed in unison, which have required a lot of mutual trust and kinesthetic awareness. Needless to say, this has taken a lot of all of the above strategies.