Onwards and upwards

It’s been almost 3 years since we took over the management of The Beaufort Theatre, and I’m delighted to to tell you that we’re going from strength to strength.

I’d like to introduce you to our latest partner Lybec Arts Performing Academy who has become artist in residence with us. We are delighted to welcome the Academy to The Beaufort. Lybec Arts is a qualifications academy offering weekly skills development in a range of performance pathways, all groups are fully subscribed at the moment with new students able to apply in the summer term.

Image Paul Trask

Image Paul Trask

Our dance faktry classes are an absolute joy!  The recent winter dance faktry festival provided an opportunity for our children and young people to showcase the work that they had created throughout the term. The young dancers also got the opportunity to watch each other which is always a most valued and valuable experience. The High Sheriff of Gwent came along to the event and was thrilled to see such energy and commitment.

It’s been a few years since we toured our professional work as our priority has been establishing a stronghold in our own community, however now we are firmly bedded in,  we will be touring to Holyhead in North Wales next month. Canolfan Ucheldre has always been one of our favourite places to show our work and we get a great welcome on the island.  We will also be working with community groups including the Barton Dance & Drama Academy with whom we have had a strong working relationship for many years now. We will be making a curtain raiser performance for the students to perform with us.  We are hoping to make new friends too with other community groups of all ages.

On a personal level, I’m happy to say that I can now see properly after having cataract surgery.  One of my greatest joys is that I can now see the faces of the children whom I teach and see the expressions on their faces in dance class. I am most grateful to the fantastic team at Emersons Green Treatment Centre in Bristol for this miracle.

Now that I am able to see to complete more extended writing, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. Thank you for sharing my FFIN experiences with me, see you in Holyhead …

sue lewis

Image Paul Trask Design Julian Lewis

Image Paul Trask
Design Julian Lewis

Edinburgh bound

cropped-ifringebanner.pngWith just over a week to go before the company heads north, there’s a lot of lists to write, packing to be done, rehearsals and all sorts of things to think about.

 

We have been busy writing press releases and organising our marketing for one of the most competitive and exciting fringe festivals in the world.
viragozooMy piece Virago will be programmed by Zoo Venues (The Sanctuary Venue 124 ) from August 13th – 19th at 7.45pm.  Tickets here

 

We have previewed the piece in London and at our base back here in Wales in various forms and guises, the latter being an interactive performance where the audience was invited to be the jury and decide upon Minnie McGuire’s fate: the jury declared her “not guilty”.  The audience joined in with a final reel celebrating Minnie’s innocence.

 

 

 

Some of the audience feedback:
” there but for the grace of God go I!”

“I have no doubt that Virago will go down a storm at The Fringe.  The story is compelling and the interpretation is excellent”

“Brilliant interpretation in dance, well-executed, enjoyed every minute of it.  Good luck in Edinburgh!”

Keep posted for more of our travel news, get the iFringe app on your phone and book into our show, and share our posts.  Many thanks for your support!

sue lewis

 

Finishing off

102-a4Just touching base after what was a very busy and enjoyable week here at FFIN DANCE. The main goal of our most recent week in the studio was to finish the creation period of Sue’s new work Virago. Not only was this achieved but we also had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the brilliant Paul Trask, our photographer as well as some exciting conversations about the next steps for the company.

The creation of Virago has been a very special and personal process that I believe has brought the company firmly together ahead of our next performances. The story of Minnie McGuire along with the social issues it relates to have really pulled on our heart strings as well as conjured up many different images and thoughts that have inspired our creative work in the studio. The movement feels very honest and physically challenging to dance and that combined with the way Sue has stitched the work together makes for something that I’m sure will be very exciting to watch. Beyond the movement is a variety of different music as well as voiceovers and there will be plenty more to please the eye including our striking set and lighting designs. I think I speak for all the dancers when I say we can’t wait to share it with our existing audiences as well as with new ones!

For the first part of the week we were joined by Rochelle who is on work placement from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Rochelle joined us for company class as well as observing our (sometimes chaotic) rehearsal process! With all the current company dancers having spent some of their training at Trinity Laban, it was lovely to welcome Rochelle and we hope she enjoyed her time getting a taste of how a small professional dance company works.

The week was also underpinned by the looming result of our bid to become the new leaseholders of Beaufort Theatre & Ballroom, an exciting prospect that could bring in so many more opportunities for the company and the surrounding community.

Watch this space for more information about all that is FFIN DANCE!

Julian x

Virago’s ready to go

Berry's BarWe have just spent the past week finishing off our new work Virago.  A productive and action-packed week including our new season photo shoot with Paul Trask, a work-placement by a lovely dance student from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, an exciting glimpse at our new logo and marketing strap lines designed by company dancer Julian and of course the underlying tension of just under a week to go before we hear about our bid for Beaufort Theatre.
I’m thrilled with Virago, it’s a tale of social injustice: although inspired by Minnie McGuire the most arrested woman in Victorian Wales, its social issues are as relevant today as back then.

 

Threaded through the work are references to the Irish Holocaust, extreme poverty in Ireland and Wales, alcohol abuse, immigration and prostitution.

We are most fortunate to be working alongside author John F Wake whose book The Cruel Streets Revisited has inspired Virago, and who has written the lyrics for the cover song for our work.

The song is composed and performed by Lorraine King especially for us, we hope you love it as much as we do.

So, on to another week, hoping to hear that we have become the new lease holders of The Beaufort Theatre and Ballroom.  More news soon.

sue lewis

 

 

Women GOLive

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

The next performance of our current tour – t e n – takes place this coming week at Oxford’s Old Fire Station Arts Centre.
Women GOLive is curated by Dance Critic Donald Hutera and features work by women choreographers, he states “men are welcome too”
We will be performing Memoir and Duetti on Friday 15th July at 7.30pm and Memoir and True on Saturday 16th July at 7.30pm

We hope you can join us, here’s the link for details and how to book tickets

All go

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

So it’s all GO this week in the South Wales valleys. Fellow company dancer, Catrin and I arrived Monday afternoon ready to lead our first workshops passing on the movement material and ideas behind the t e n Tour 2016 to the local community. We had 4 workshops happening across the evening for a variety of ages from infants to seniors from groups including Ffin Infants & Juniors, Ffin Youth Dance Company and Toppers School of Dance & Drama.

The young dancers had an amazing time, showing great energy, enthusiasm and interest in the workshop content. We were also delighted to be joined by Sarah Lee Pryke who will be joining FFIN DANCE later in the summer. Sarah has already begun learning and researching our new repertoire and assisted Catrin and Julian to deliver yesterday’s workshops.
With the première of our new dance works fast approaching, the real work is yet to begin. Tuesday has been a day of admin, planning, costume fitting and photoshopping – not to mention a slice of Grandma’s fruit cake and a cheeky glass of wine!
We’re back in the studio today for some last minute rehearsals and fine tuning. We also have more community workshops and are leading professional company class on Thursday and Friday. This Friday night will be my first full-length performance with FFIN DANCE and I’m especially excited as it marks the beginning of the 10th anniversary celebrations for the company. It’s been such a pleasure to work with Sue and my fellow performers Catrin, Effie and Natasha so far and I can’t wait to share the stage with them.

If you haven’t yet booked your tickets for the show, we’d love to see you there!

t e n poster FinalFriday 20th May, 7:30pm – The Met, Abertillery – tickets are £8/£6, call the box office on 01495 355800 to book

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and our website for updates on our future performances and projects.

Thanks, Julian

Happy new year

Memoir

Memoir

The company started back in the studio in February 2016 and started our new year with 2 weeks rehearsing my new work True and also re-working my 2008 piece Duetti.
It was a very odd journey going back in time to the early days of our company life as so much water has gone under the bridge since then, and the company has come so far.  We celebrate our ten years as a company this year and it seemed right somehow to bring one of my older pieces back for the season.
In addition to these two pieces, we are also presenting work that is a joint collaboration between our company dancers Catrin and Julian.  A duet called Memoir which takes the form of an autobiographical journey which promises to be funny, sad, happy, poignant, and everything else in between.  The dancers have been in the studio this week making the first steps to choreographing the work.

Here’s a little preview

Catrin and Julian are also performing with Traceworks very soon at the Swallowsfeet Dance Festival in Brighton, catch them if you can.

More details to follow with our t e n Tour 2016 we hope you’ll tune in.

sue lewis

 

 

 

New adventures

Desire To Dance ticketsOur new project Desire To Dance has kicked off with 2 marvellous performances at Bedwellty House, Tredegar in South Wales and St Paul’s Church, London.  The aim of this project is to work in partnership with a community dance group who is situated near a chosen venue: the venues all being in the heart of the community and offering cultural interest to the people of that community.  We are specifically interested in performing this work outside of traditional theatre venues to demonstrate that any space can be a space to perform, and to develop new audiences for dance in terms of both participating and watching.  In addition, the venue gets an intimate and up-close performance of our current triple bill – Power Of 3

I was delighted with new friendships made at both of the venues, the extent of which can’t be documented really.
The staff at Bedwellty House had never hosted a dance performance in their beautiful Grade 2 listed Regency Villa, but really went the extra mile (and more) to help us achieve success.  Similarly, at St Paul’s Church in Marylebone, the priest and her staff were outstanding in their hospitality and kindness (even offering me a parking space for the day as someone had already parked in my JustParking pre-paid space grr…)
The children and young people of Tredegar Comprehensive School, Wales and Highgate School, London were wonderful in their energy and commitment, again going well past what we had expected.

My thanks to the staff of the groups again for supporting our projects and to our company dancers who worked ridiculously long days to achieve perfection.

If you have any ideas for future partnerships in 2016 with youth groups/schools, please don’t hesitate to contact me info@ffindance.co.uk or text 07854 910926

sue lewis

 

 

New company dancer – part 2

523238_10151376905219344_497662062_nYou join me after the end of a jam-packed first week with the company. We have started working on Sue’s new work for next year’s tour, True as well as rehearsing the current triple bill, The Power of 3, for the performance at Bedwellty House & Park in Tredegar and this coming Friday in London.

As a new dancer, I have been included in Catrin’s work, d-cay and have learnt a couple of sections for these performances. From my perspective, it has been the perfect balance to learning some repertoire and jumping straight into the performance mode but to also take a back seat during the other 2 pieces and appreciate the performances of my fellow dancers. It is inspirational to see how refined and ‘in-the-body’ the existing work is on the other 3 dancers and it fills me with energy as we move on to the new work. This week also saw the first Desire to Dance project in which we created a new piece on students from Tredegar Comprehensive School in only 2 sessions to then be performed on the Friday evening. The project was a great success and it filled all members of the FFIN DANCE team with immense satisfaction to see how much was achieved by every individual in such an intense process. Well done all!

Until next time… and if you’re in the London area this Friday, don’t forget to book your tickets to see the current triple bill (The Power of 3) as well as a guest performance from Vision Youth Dance Company (Highgate School).
Venue: St Paul’s Community Centre, Marylebone. Tickets are £10, call or text 07854 910926.

See you there.
Julian