Quite a week

Première of Power Of 3 Tour 2015

Première of Power Of 3 Tour 2015

After having spent a lot of my recent time and energy on our Easter dance faktry festival, it was time this week to pick up the pieces for our Power Of 3 Tour 2015

We open in a few weeks at our home theatre The Met in Abertillery, South Wales UK – an event which pleases me very much.  I’m intensely proud of everything that the company has achieved in the past 10 years in this part of the world.  “Abertillery!” people say, ‘the valleys?” more people say with disdain, but I feel passionately that there is a place for high quality professional dance outside of the major cities (albeit these places are needful too).  We have developed an audience in the valleys as well as other places, for our work which surpasses audience and participation numbers for many other larger companies and will continue to invite guests and collaborative partners to our studio for as long as we can.

The week has seen the release of our teaser video for Catrin’s new piece d-cay, which has been commissioned for us by RE:Act!  It forms part of a 10 minute animated film that accompanies the choreography that will be seen for the first time on May 8th at The Met.  During our production week we will undertaking a series of workshops with local dance schools, working in the evenings and days to further develop new audiences for our work, aiming to help with understanding the work that the young dancers will be seeing at the theatre later that week.  If you’d like a workshop, do get in touch.

Box office for May 8th 01495 355800, tickets are priced £8 and £6 – the theatre has excellent wheelchair and buggy access and provides free booster seats for children at no extra charge.

It would be great if you could come along to opening night, if not, we perform later in May in Holyhead, North Wales then on to London, Oxford and Germany.  See you there!

sue lewis

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

 

Authentic and original

Fascination FFIN DANCE Chor: Sue Lewis

Fascination
FFIN DANCE
Chor: Sue Lewis

A productive and exciting week as the company and I distribute morning classes and solid movement practice throughout.

As previously said by Sue, we once more familiarise ourselves with Fascination to proceed forward under Sue’s direction. “Retaining information”- an important skill involving focus, discipline and familiarity that project based dancers constantly battle with. My experience with this tool grows stronger as I myself take notes on how the other dancers reconnect with the piece accordingly. Having always been fortunate with a good memory, I often leave myself unchallenged in the studio. Thus this seasons artwork and war history keeps a watchful eye on us all!  Images and landscape prints being available to us as we drift through D-cay and Fascination.

Effie, Natasha and I would especially like to thank Sue for her sincere patience and understanding towards Gary’s devised work Sentient Trace. A piece that needs exploration, honesty and an opinion! Having performed in the duet last season, I am keen for the girls to capture the essence and quality of the structured tasks. We continue to select the authenticity and originality of the human body next week…

Once again the weekend flies by and we are all one day closer to pancake day. Professional class will be running next week at The Met so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to participate. My email is lewispochin@hotmail.co.uk

Stay safe, Cat. x

Week 5 done

three bathers picassoThanks to all of you who have given us feedback on rehearsals this last week via tweets, likes and comments, it’s been good to know that you’re all with us once again for the new season.

This week we have been re-visitng and rehearsing my new work for 2015, Fascination: we have also been looking at tasks for Gary in anticipation of his new work for us which begins studio time later this month.  It’s wonderful that the body remembers what sometimes the head forgets.  During the time that we have been out of the studio, Fascination has germinated and grown resulting in a more settled and mature piece of work with which I’m thrilled.  There’s still a lot to do in terms of production details, but I’m sure that those of you who enjoy watching my work will very much enjoy this work too.  It has all the usual intricacies of form and texture together with an affinity to the score.  For those who are new to my work I am a stickler for detail and structure and a grounded relationship with the musical accompaniment.

The dancers are really getting into the Picasso fascination for threes which forms the basis of the dance idea and we have become more closely connected with Three Bathers and Three Dancers this week; it’s become quite eery as we now connect with the actual 3 figures in the paintings as well as the painting itself.

Next week we continue with Fascination and Gary’s tasks, but we’ll be spending more time on D-cay, Catrin’s new work based on the Omaha Beach tragedies in WW2.

We have been visited by 3 guests this week in our company class – Krystal Campbell one of our teaching staff for the dance faktry, Julian Lewis a company friend and Matt our technical assistant who also “dances a bit” It was lovely to see you all, please call in again!

More blogs coming up over the next week, please drop by.

sue lewis

And here we go again

With less than a week to go before we open our new touring programme, it’s all systems go here at the FFIN machine as you can well imagine.

So why you may well ask is the strap line for the show, Still Standing? As always with me, a number of reasons.  Firstly and perhaps more importantly, it’s a play on the title of Stand Up Straight, the new work made by our company dancer Catrin Lewis: I like to thread the essence of the whole bill into the title of the show.  And then rather more on a cryptic level, the company beset by the ever-gloomy nature of the dire financial situation in which we (as do many others) find ourselves, are actually still standing!  We have an amazing network of support from our Board and volunteers, the public and of course our marvellous team of dancers and technical people who do well over and above their expected commitment.
Just a slight aside, we are currently trying to fund raise to provide free holiday dance classes for children and young people in the Blaenau Gwent area, please give generously if you can. You can follow this link by clicking on the words Holiday Dance Club –

We open our show at the brand new college campus for Coleg Y Cymoedd in Nantgarw next Tuesday March 11th at 7.30pm, it would be great to see you there.
Tickets £7 and £5 are available by calling 01443 663009

More blogs to follow, please join us as we continue our tour..

sue lewis

Rambling

FFIN DANCE Still Standing Tour Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Still Standing Tour
Image Paul Trask

Well what a week it has been! It’s been so lovely to be back in the studio with the Ffin family.

As Effie has mentioned in her blog, we have been rehearsing for our ‘Still Standing’ tour. It looks set to be a cracker!
We began the week refreshing ‘Synapsequence’ choreographed by our associate choreographer Gary Lambert. I have thoroughly enjoyed slipping back into the piece. It feels like a comfortable pair of shoes you haven’t worn for a long time.
Relearning it has bought back all the memories and fun I had whilst creating it way back in 2012. I’ve found it fascinating the way that my body can remember not only the movement content and structure but also the way my ears are automatically listening for musical cues and my eyes for visual ones.
‘Synapsequence’ is one of my favourite pieces to perform. There is nothing to hide behind and you have to constantly push yourself to keep the piece fresh and to stay true to the material.
This phrase is something that I’ve been pondering about…’staying true to the material’ what does that even mean?  I have been rehearsing and running this piece all week and the material is inherent in my body. However, am I staying true to it? Most of the time when I run the piece I no longer need to think about what comes next or how I should dance this bit or that bit but I wonder if by doing so I loose a sense of where the material has come from thus loosing the identity that made that piece of material what it is? Slightly hard to explain but I’ve been having this internal chatter with myself throughout the weekend.
We moved onto Cat’s piece ‘Stand up Straight’ next. I have a sort of love/hate relationship with this one. I love the physicality and dynamic of it but can’t say I’m a massive fan of making myself dizzy and then having to fall over safely, without loosing that edge you have if you did fall, and lifting and being lifted when you’re not quite on balance. It’s hard work and often leaves me in a bit of a weird head space.
It was lovely to begin work on Sue’s piece for the company ‘Fractal’. We made this back in October and as is often the case with Sue’s work we worked closely with the musical score. This was similar to ‘Synapsequence’ in the sense that the material came back to us pretty quickly except one frustrating part of my solo (which resulted in a little mini diva strop and several attempts to slow motion myself on our video reference). Apart from that, things have been plain sailing.
It’s interesting to see how my ear has found new things to listen for in my solo music. I have made some dynamic changes to parts of my solos as they weren’t quite sitting right for me. As well as these changes I’ve also changed some of my accent points, rhythmic patterns and the way that I approach some of the material. You may not be able to notice the difference physically but it helps me to be able to perform it better.
It looks set to be a great show and the company and myself would love for you to come and share our work at Nantgarw Campus, Coleg Y Cymoedd on 11th March…
Thanks for reading
Meg

Back in the studio

Winter Dance Faktry Festival Image Paul Trask

Winter Dance Faktry Festival
Image Paul Trask

We have had an amazingly busy time with our education and outreach unit over the winter months, reaching new children and young people and also new audiences, sometimes seeing contemporary dance for the first time – what a great thing of which to be part!
I’ve been really concentrating on getting some further funding to be able to sustain what appears to be a huge demand for our community work with the dance faktry with not enough financial resources to supply the activities.  Well that’s nothing new!  So keep on keeping on and we will be rewarded soon I know.  We have some wonderful new projects in the pipeline involving our young volunteers programme New Ground and also one of our A Level students would like to put together a programme of workshops for people in the community of Blaenau Gwent who have difficulty expressing their emotions, maybe through grief, anger or financial loss.

Fractal Image Paul Trask

Fractal
Image Paul Trask

Next week the company will return to the studio for rehearsals, to which I am looking forward immensely.  We will be opening our Still Standing Tour next month at Coleg Morgannwg in Cardiff performing Synapsequence by Gary Lambert, Stand Up Straight by company dancer Catrin Lewis and Fractal by myself.

After a quick charge of batteries, we are set for a wonderfully busy spring and summer and will be bringing you news, updates and blogs.  Please keep visiting us and join us at a venue near you.

All good wishes
sue lewis

 

Opening Night

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

Our new show Still Standing will open on at Coleg Morgannwg, Nantgarw Cardiff on March 11th 2014 at 7.30pm.  We will be performing:

Fractal by Sue Lewis
Stand Up Straight by Catrin Lewis
Synapsequence by Gary Lambert

Tickets £6 and £4 concessions for students
Box Office  01443 663202

Stand Up Straight 3

Stand Up Straight Image Paul Trask

Stand Up Straight
Image Paul Trask

Evening all.

Just a quick blog for you after the glorious win today!! Excellent things occuring for the Welsh rugby team and with the winter closing in fast we at FFIN DANCE are hoping to follow with similar footsteps.
After our three weeks of intense rehearsing in the studio, I am pleased to see the re-construction of my work Stand Up Straight take shape accordingly. The company has embraced qualities and a presence in the space, which allows them to shift in and out of solo and duet work with ease and buoyancy. I am confident that the sections will nurture and ripen during time until we’re back in the studio again.
The biggest challenge we now face is adapting the piece to compliment each theatre on tour. Section two covers a lot of space and the detail in solo work must be seen in order for the audience to suffer with the same sense of disorientation as the dancers. This will be my first time as a professional dancer where I will be performing and choreographing/directing work, therefore preparation and awareness of time will be my main concentration leading up to all performances.
Follow us for more information regarding upcoming on Facebook and Twitter

Stay safe and enjoy the celebrations this evening.
Cat x

Rehearsal hangover…

IMG_3110So it’s the morning after the night before…or that’s what it feels like anyway! I’ve definitely needed this weekend to recover, but as a result of my actions in the studio rather than any other kind of over-indulgence.

For the latter part of week 2, we began working on Stand Up Straight, a piece which Catrin Lewis is reworking for the company (have a gander back at her blogs for more info), which couldn’t be more different from any of the pieces I’ve danced previously for Ffin. My experience thus far is that Catrin’s concern is less with the aesthetic presentation of material and more with invoking true sensations and physical reactions on a personal level relating to the subject matter of vertigo.

One of the tasks which Catrin has set us has involved standing up and spinning for 30-60 seconds with our heads dropped back and focus up to the ceiling.

IMG_3209

It is the movement that we perform subsequently when we are in a self-induced state of dizziness that Catrin is most interested in – the choices that we make whilst somewhat incapacitated, as opposed to our normal learned movement patterns which result from years of studio time.

Another component within the piece is being able to get over the fear factor of allowing yourself to fall off balance so that another dancer can break your fall and take care of your journey to the ground. This is a moment where it is really mind over matter – all of my instincts are screaming at me to take a step and regain my own balance – especially when I’m falling backwards and can see the dancer who is going to support my fall in front of me!

While I’m used to self-inflicted aches, pains and bruises after rehearsals, Stand Up Straight is really taking its toll on my mind – it’s this headachy hangover which has made me very glad of two days’ rest before gearing up to our third and final week of rehearsals.

Effie 🙂