Ich bin ein tanzer

The Power Of 3 Tour 2015 continues…
After many delays and hours of travel, we find ourselves stepping into a beautiful castle. To me it feels like I am staying in a museum; art everywhere and interesting design and architectural features
The tour is offering a wonderful balance of dance and relaxation, it feels completely backwards to be on the receiving end of hospitality and service from the Princess and her family instead of offering it.  They are all so kind and it’s wonderful being welcomed into their home.imageimage
Our “stage” is the mirrored ballroom of the castle – spinning around the room and being able to catch a glimpse of yourself is magical, indeed everything about this place keeps surprising us with magical moments.
We have reworked Gary’s piece from duet to trio. The movement hasn’t changed but it has altered the relationships between the three of us in the space. It’s interesting as it leaves room imagefor doubt, but also a nice sense of ownership as we have the choice and ability to change the state by simply walking into the space or not. I think Gary has some surprises to put into action for the performance, a sense of the unknown. That’s quite an exciting concept to look forward to.
Sue’s piece feels different from before, not only because we’ve altered the spacing to work within he round, but also because the space is so vast it allows me to regain a sense of the freedom which I had in creating the work. The space is so big and I have room to push the boundaries and travel which is something which has always driven my movement.
I really look forward to the performance and the rest of my time here in Namedy.

But for now I’m going to continue sunbathing (like in Picasso’s Three Bathers) by the Rhine.

 

 

Natasha x

 

Sunshine at Namedy

Namedy 2015 posterWe’re currently being treated to some gorgeous sunny weather which complements our surroundings here at Namedy perfectly. So much so, that both nights of our stay so far we have been able to remain outside late into the evening – enjoying the good company, conversations, card games and some incredible live music being played by fellow artists.

Of course, we are also spending time in the ‘studio’ ahead of our performances this weekend. It has been good to touch base with Gary once more, especially in terms of the parameters of presenting Retracing Emergence. Here, we are without the fourth wall of a traditional theatre setting which we have been used to encountering earlier in our tour. We have been rehearsing with defined ‘islands’ in the space, within which we can relocate, fragment and leave the trace of our physical movement language. It certainly feels different already, and I’m sure the sense of the piece will change again when we are joined in the space by an audience who have freedom to move amongst us.

There is definitely something to be said also for combining work and play, in keeping both ourselves and our work fresh for performance. Yesterday, Cat, Tash and I wandered down to the Rhine for a little bit of toe-dipping and swimming to cool off after our dancing exploits. I retreated to the shade fairly quickly in order to keep my pasty white skin happy (and Sue for that matter – I’m sure having dodgy sunburn marks for the weekend would not go down well!). As I sat back and watched, I was very struck by the relationship of this scenario to our explorations of Picasso’s 3 bathers for Fascination. Notably, I also saw a connection which I hadn’t previously thought of – when I saw Cat negotiating the rocks, with their surfaces of all different angles and steadiness, up and down from the water. It related very much to a little copycat interplay that myself and Cat share during Fascination – where we lose and catch our balance within our footfall with studious attention to observing one another’s feet. I look forward to remembering this image during our performances this weekend.

For now, it’s time to have a moment a peace in the sunshine (or more sensibly, shade!)

Effie 🙂

Language, images and reflections….

B0001467Firstly, apologies – I meant to write this blog after our first couple of sessions with Gary a week or so ago, but always got caught up in something else. Now, I’m finally realising my good intentions before returning to the studio with Gary this evening – hopefully it will give me some time and space to recap and reflect the thought process we have begun using.

I think one of the things that has most struck me about working with Gary this season is how he is using language and evoking imagery through what he is saying to compel us to explore movement rather than physicalising much himself. Essentially, he is trying not to show us too much so we don’t get bogged down in searching for an aesthetic or codified movement language which appeals to him.

Instead we are currently playing with a lot of constituent parts, thoughts and images to get a grasp on what will work going forwards. So what are some of these things?

First off, we have the solo material which we learnt from video during our time in Abertillery – a linear form which takes us from A to B. This acts as an existing world and reference point that we can improvise from and return to. The phrase gives us a commonality of language – otherwise it is like having 3 dancers in the space speaking French, German and Italian – all valid languages but no-one fully understands each other.

There is also a freedom to stop moving – knowing when an idea has been exhausted and not just continuing to drift for the sake of it. On our second rehearsal day, we taped a performance space on the floor – allowing the possibility to step out of that realm completely. Allowing time to consider and watch from a standpoint completely outside the world that the movement inhabits.

Layering on top of this are lots of images and ideas that Gary feeds in each time we undertake the practice. Here are a few examples:

Having a conversation. The ability to shift the attention between people. Being able to talk to a group but only have eye-contact with one person at a time.

Jumbled thoughts. So much to do – racing through your mind. Inability to hone in on one thing for very long before transferring to the next.

Sediment. Start Simple. Layer by layer – build it up, don’t try to start with a whole strata.

Minority Report. The possibility to deviate from a pre-ordained pathway.

The more images and ideas we have, the greater the temptation to want to try and do everything at once which simply isn’t possible! I wonder what new information will come tonight and how I will cope with processing it…

Effie 🙂

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

 

2 down, one to go

IMG_3713And so ends our second creative period for this season. For the past 2 weeks we have spent time in the studio with company dancer, Catrin Lewis, who has been making a new piece for the company which is inspired by scenarios surrounding the Omaha Beach Landing in World War 2.
D-cay is a moving exploration of events which takes the dancers into a physicality which is grounded in extensive research from witness accounts and historical documentation.

The third piece of work which makes up our new triple bill for The Power Of 3 Tour 2015 involves a new piece by our Associate Choreographer Gary Lambert.  Gary and I are excitedly planning this venture and we’ll fill you in very soon.

Next, we turn our energies to our Winter Intensive for professional dancers which is December 11th-13th, where we invite trained dancers to come and spend 3 days in our studio in Wales, UK where they will undertake intensive technical instruction and learn current repertory.  If you’d like more information on this, please follow this link.

Please keep posted as to our news and developments, and don’t forget you can write in the comments bubble on this page – we’d love to hear from you

sue lewis

 

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 🙂

That was the week

PabloPicasso-Three-Women-at-the-Spring-1921_grandeSo that’s the first studio week over creating my new work for the company – Fascination.

I’m working with a trio of women, Effie, Catrin and Natasha examining some of Picasso’s paintings and why he used three figures in his work so much.

I’ve been astounded at the dancers’ response to the tasks that I have set them: such depth of understanding from tiny intricate details to larger more general pictorial representation.

Many choreographers dislike working with 3 dancers, thinking that the numerical variations possible with 3 can be limiting, but I personally love it1 I adore the asymmetry, the lop-sided qualities, the angles, the relationships, the patterns and so on and on.

And then on to my role – the manipulation of material.

Already starting to structure (just can’t help myself ), I have a very clear vision of where the piece will go. My last work for the company – Fractal – was a series of solos that unfolded as episodes, with occasional groupings thrown in for good measure. Fascination doesn’t work in that way: the sections are governed by the score as in Fractal, but each scene varies from the previous and subsequent one. Today we are working on 5 separate vignettes, inspired by Picasso’s Three Bathers including a trio, 2 solos and 2 duets that will be performed concurrently.

It’s been a most rewarding and exciting week, hope the dancers think so too!

Join us next week as we continue our work with Picasso

sue lewis

 

 

 

 

Fascination

Picasso Three Dancers

Picasso Three Dancers

In less than 2 days time, I will be back in the studio with the dancers making my new piece for the company – Fascination.
The work centres around the fascination that the artist Picasso had for painting 3 figures in much of his work. Three musicians, three dancers, three women, three bathers and more. This fascination with three, called triaphilia, has inspired artists and designers for many centuries and still continues into our daily lives: sneeze three times and make a wish, knock three times before you enter, bad luck comes in threes et al. The figure three also has magical and spiritual connotations like the Trinity, 3 pyramids at Gaza, faith/hope/charity.
It’s this fascination that we will be looking at.

We welcome new company dancer Natasha Wade into our studio on Monday, we hope that she will enjoy being a part of our team and wish her well.

I’ll be tweeting and posting on our Facebook and Instagram profiles over the next couple of weeks, hope you’ll join us on our journey.

 

sue lewis