So it’s a couple of weeks since our first airing this season at Coleg Y Cymoedd and it’s taken the intervening time for me to actually find a moment to process and reflect on the evening.
What has really hit me is how different Stand Up Straight felt in situ as opposed to rehearsal time in the studio. Of course with every piece there is growth when being transferred from studio to stage…much like when learning to drive, it’s not until you pass and are out there on your own that you fully understand what it takes. You come to anticipate this change – beyond a point there is little more to be done in the studio and the introduction of the fourth wall brings with it an inevitable change.
However, with Stand Up Straight, it was quite a shock to my system how exposed, vulnerable and disorientated I felt in performance. I suppose this is the very nature of the piece – with several minutes of spinning on the spot included to induce dizziness there’s always going to an edginess to cope with but the amount that this was heightened by having an audience in and the introduction of lighting was considerable. After one of my bouts of spinning, I came to a stop what felt like barely a few inches from someone sat in the front row. This demonstrated to me that the control and adaptability I had built up during studio time had gone out of the window – such a sense of unpredictability is pretty scary to encounter mid-performance!
What scares me even more is knowing that in Abertillery we’ll be spinning on a rake and that there’s a drop at the front of the stage into the auditorium…anybody have some spare crash mats?!!
Hello to all you Ffin followers!
I hope you’re all well and looking forward to seeing us perform our triple bill at Coleg Y Cymoedd on the 11th March.
Just a few things to check in on this early Saturday morning. As I trek down from the city to the valley to teach The Move 21 starter class I suddenly realise it was indeed where I started at such a young age.
The Beaufort Theatre is my home theatre and also had the pleasure of giving me my very first job as a teenager working front of house.
Being asked by artistic director Sue to provide technique and masterclasses to dancers (old and new from the past 21 years) feels extremely special to me. The skills that I gained through Laban and previous projects can now be passed on to the dancers accordingly!
Regarding the company repertoire from May onwards, Megan and I will be replacing Synapsequence with a duet, which is currently in progress. Devised by Gary Lambert and initiated by theories and studies he is continuously analysing from his time spent in America, we witnessed the start of what is going to be something very honest and concentrated!
Not to spoil the development of the piece too much as it’s completely fresh and intimate for the three of us. However, footage of the tasks we undertook this week left us fulfilled and anxious to the “being” nature of the movement vocabulary.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend – see you at Nantgarw Campus next week for our first show of the Still Standing Tour
So we’ve just begun week 2 of rehearsals and today has been mostly spent finding a culmination point for Fractal, Sue Lewis’ latest work for the company. While this entailed establishing group unison and duet relationships with generous helpings of canon and counterpoint, we have in fact spent much of rehearsal thus far on our own individual journeys developing solos which slot in to the overall piece. Hopefully this will give you a little bit of insight into how I’ve been finding the process so far…
The nature of working on solos is such that I’ve spent a lot of time this past week in my own head – not least because I’ve got my headphones in to concentrate on responding to the music for my section. This has had both its high and low points – moments when I’ve been on a roll I’ve hardly noticed anyone around and have been able to immerse myself in both the music and my movement (albeit finding ways to pass my iPod between hands and negotiate getting tangled up in my headphones to bring me back to the real world with a bump!)
At other times, particularly at the start of the week, I would have spurs of loneliness or paranoia – seeing the others in the space around me with seemingly reams of movement material would make me question whether I was working quickly enough or producing material and structuring it to meet the demands of the task with enough clarity.
Come Friday, we ran and filmed all of our solos and group sections in order. This enabled us to watch back everything within the context of the (almost) entirety of the piece. Being able to watch film back is an incredibly useful tool to give you an outside eye on the work that you are creating and inhabiting. Oftentimes, there is a distinct difference between what it feels like you are doing (according to your own mind’s eye) and what an onlooker observes.
One of the areas which I earmarked for myself to work on, having looked back at the footage, was the depth, length and fluidity of my legwork down into the ground. This – along with feedback from Sue and the other dancers to delve into a chewing-gum quality of elasticity as I perform the movement, to really locate the trills in the music within my movement language and to think of moving from the middle of back so arm movements don’t become merely gestural – gave me plenty of ideas to go armed back into my own world of solo development this afternoon.
Thankfully now I’m getting to the point where my enjoyment and the challenge of working solo is managing to mostly quash those lonely moments!!
In my last blog post, I shared with you the concept of my new work, Stand Up Straight for FFIN DANCE. The work will be 1 of 3 pieces in the touring production of Still Standing. Stand Up Straight is centred around the idea of Vertigo.
The sound score I have chosen compliments and highlights the physicality and subtle moments within the movement content. For the dancers to keep in unison, they have spoken words to follow in section 1. This immediately gives them a sense of togetherness and unity to carry on into section two. As one dancer comes to a standing vertical position there is a shift in both music and intention. This section is all about the dancers as individuals and how they react to the spinning sensation. To encourage more discomfort for them I composed music myself which consists of high intensity noises and strained notes, which fall in and out of tonal strength. This is followed by a section of music by Jon Hopkins.
Stand up Straight has allowed me to design and demonstrate a specific style and motion of movement within extreme depths of choreography. The need to capture this essence has motivated me to further develop this piece with FFIN DANCE
I am looking forward to more incorporation of contact work in groups of four to increase the risk element even more and to over emphasise both the support/treatment and imbalance of hearing (trigger point for a Vertigo attack). I am happy to have the opportunity to take my work on tour around the UK as sharing my work to the general public is something that greatly excites me. The whole process and end product is something that I am tremendously proud of, consequently the piece will continue to grow with the FFIN cast later this month.
Originally I did not perform in Stand Up Straight, however I will now be taking a role with in the work. This will be the biggest challenge for me I think! We start work in the studio in less than 2 weeks, very exciting times ahead. We’ll chat again then.
Hello to all FFIN DANCE followers familiar and new!
As I leave the student world and enter the realms of the freelance artist, I must firstly say how excited I am to be taking a step forward into the company. This season will prove to be an exceptionally challenging one as I take on the role of both performer and choreographer.
I’ll be re-constructing my final major piece Stand up Straight, that was originally created at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in June 2013. With the help of Artistic Director Sue Lewis and original perfomer Lily Turner, I hope to create something equally as innovative and fresh to witness as an audience member. This piece will be 1 of 3 that forms the triple bill – Still Standing – which will tour in 2014
Stay close for my updates on research and development and the initial strategies that were put into practice in the studio.