IMG_3218It’s that time of year again when I seriously question the reason behind staging a showcase late in December.  It’s crazy spending almost every night for weeks going over and over material that you begin to wonder if it’s the right thing for that particular group.  Scratching time at 5.30am to make mince pies, racking home made elderflower gin at midnight and writing Christmas cards in batches of 20 or so in a rare coffee break, you seem to be caught up in a muddle.

Will things get done?  Why aren’t I out socialising?  Why aren’t I shoppping?
And then when you see the delight on the children and young peoples’ faces when you mention they are performing in just a week, you begin to realise that you are playing a part in that delight, that’s the reasoning behind it all.  It’s not about the taking at this time of year, it’s about the giving.
I know I say it a lot, but I really mean it; I feel most privileged to have a small part to play in the developing and maturing of our outreach groups in the ffin dance faktry.

The winter dance faktry performance will take place at our home theatre, The Met in Abertillery next Saturday at 7.30pm.  We will be showcasing work from primary level right the way through to professionals, who will be spending 3 days in the studio with us next week learning a new piece of work to perform at the festival.

Those of you who know me well, will know that I love Advent – the expectancy and anticipation of the coming Christmas is wonderful.
Likewise, the happy rehearsal period of our groups leading to the festival is highly infectious.
We hope you can join us next Saturday at 7.30pm, the box office number is 01495 322510 with tickets priced at £8 and £6.  Pre-booking is essential.

sue lewis

Busy times

_PRT0240I am currently preparing for the winter
dance faktry festival with the Blaenau Gwent county youth dance company The Move, Combination
Dance and I’m also creating a solo as part of my A level Dance course with FFIN DANCE.

It is a very busy time for me and my fellow dancers because we are all working hard and doing lots of rehearsals to ensure our pieces are ready and polished for the show.
It is very tiring preparing for a show but it is also very enjoyable and rewarding. It is especially rewarding to see the pieces progress as the show gets closer.
With The Move I am performing a piece called Distort which we have performed before: we have worked on developing the piece and getting back to the original intention of the piece ready for the faktry festival performance. In Combination Dance, we are working on a new piece so it will be exciting to perform it for one of the first times. Finally I have been creating a solo piece which is to help
with my A Level Dance studies with Ffin Dance. Making my first solo piece has been very challenging but I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of making my own choreography although it’s been particularly hard at times. There’s a lot involved – much more involved in making your own piece than I ever thought!
There’s the lights,costume,title all things I’ve never considered when dancing before. It’s very rewarding to see it all starting to come together now and I am looking forward to performing my solo.

I’m really looking forward to the show next week and so are my
fellow dancers.

Gemma Two hearts

Winter Dance Faktry Festival 2014

Image Paul Trask

Image Paul Trask

Building upon the success of the past five twice-yearly festivals, FFIN DANCE is excited to offer to all professional dancers who have completed their dance training

a three-day intensive PPD Professional Performance Development in the studio with the company, taking daily technique class and learning current repertory on
December 11th-13th 2014

Cost: £40 which includes a free ticket for the Winter Dance Faktry Festival on the Saturday evening

Deadlines for applications Friday 21st November 2014 at 5pm

Please apply via email attaching a current CV or send hard copy to our home address.   Details below.

Contact: Sue Lewis

C/O The Met,
Mitre Street,
NP13 1AL

07854 910926


Packed House

Laura Mumford Photography

Last Saturday was our 5th annual Winter Dance Faktry Festival held at our home base in The Met in Abertillery.

64 community dancers, 10 professional dancers, 2 photographers, 6 volunteers and 3 technicians brought together a showcase performance that ranged from professional dance pieces to works in progress that have been made during community projects over the past term.

We were joined by professional dance companies Ceyda Tanc Dance and Exim Dance, together with our youth groups from the community.

I am delighted to say that we played to a packed house, full not only of excited and supportive parents and friends but also the general public who wanted to come and share our work.  The comments and feedback that we have received have been overwhelming with many congratulations on our achievements.

The Festival has grown and developed over the years and each year sees us making new friends and links and truly is a great celebration of our work and commitment to providing opportunities for young dancers and choreographers to stage their work with professional guidance and support.

Easter Dance Faktry Festival 2013 will be our next venture, we look forward to seeing you all again

Please keep following our company progress via Twitter #ffin dance and join our Facebook pages

sue lewis

Social Enterprise Day

It’s Social Enterprise Day and Catherine Evans, Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing Manager, is spending some time with Ffin Dance in Abertillery, South Wales.

Dancer leaping into the air

Ffin Dance performer takes flight!

Ffin (pronounced Feen) Dance is a social enterprise which was founded in 2003 by charismatic Artistic Director Sue Lewis. Sue spent many years developing dance in the South Wales Valleys, first as Head of the Dance Department at Ebbw Vale Comprehensive School and subsequently as Director of Blaenau Gwent’s flagship Youth Dance Company, The Move.

The South Wales Valleys is one of the poorest areas in the UK with disproportionately high unemployment and many families living just below the poverty line. Whilst many urged Sue to set up a dance company in the more cosmopolitan environment of Cardiff, she was clear that everyone should have access to high quality, contemporary art, and so decided to base herself and her company in Abertillery.

Traditionally, arts companies have tended to rely on grants to survive, but since Sue found that many grants came with strings attached, she decided to follow a social enterprise model and rely on income earned from classes, ticket sales and commercial opportunities. This has given the company the freedom to pursue its own strategic goals, and forced them to become more entrepreneurial, ambitious and pro-active as a result. The company also has some high profile supporters as a result of its social enterprise status. Internationally renowned performance architect Sheron Wray made a new piece for the company in 2009, and Gary Lambert, a critically acclaimed performer and choreographer, is now the company’s Associate Director. These high profile connections have enabled Ffin Dance to extend its touring programme and it now regularly performs at international festivals across the globe.

Ffin Dance performer

Bending over backwards to make things work!

Today will be a very busy day for the company as it prepares for its Winter Dance Faktry Festival. This is a two-day event which pulls together performances by a number of local community dance groups as well as two fledgling professional companies, who are being given a public platform for the first time to showcase their work. The shows are on at The Met in Abertillery (more details at

The main job for today is to get everything ready for the performances. This means working with the technical team to plan for the final rehearsals, rigging the theatre lighting, making decisions about how to photograph and film the show and making sure all the dressing rooms are ready for when the performers arrive.

Its going to be a busy and exciting day!

Wade In The Water 3

Wade In The Water

After another productive day down at TR2 in Plymouth the piece is finally finished!

It’s been such a fun piece to make and both Emma and I have really enjoyed getting to develop our characters within the piece, letting our personalities come through.


Emma and I have quite a close relationship anyway because we have been dancing together for 3 years (and we live together!), there is a lot of trust there which I think has helped us creatively.

After spending most of the morning in a cardboard box throwing clothes around we were able to work all afternoon piecing together the final section with help form Kathryn Hawken who popped in to offer her dramaturgic eye. Her feedback and input really helped especially as this is the first time she has seen the piece.

It was great to get an idea of what an audience might read from the piece. I think one thing we all realised today was that there is a lot of scope in what we have created and when finished we will more than likely have a 40 minute piece with this just being a short extract from it.

We then had to take a short trip to perform the finished piece for Magdalaina Walker our wonderful musician so she can finish off the music for us tonight.

So – tomorrow we are working down at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth from the day to rehearse, rehearse, rehearse ready for our road trip to Wales on Friday!

I’m so excited to be part of the Winter Dance Faktry Festival , it’s such an amazing opportunity for us to reach a totally new audience and a great chance to take a road trip to Wales!  Hope you can join us.

Claire Summers
Dancer – Wade In The Water and Co-Director of Exim Dance Company

Developing Links


We have all been really busy in the past few weeks in rehearsal for the FFIN DANCE WINTER DANCE FAKTRY FESTIVAL 2012.

I have been in rehearsals for two new pieces for the festival and am really excited to show the work we have done in the last few months. It is very exciting to yet again be performing in the winter dance faktry festival as it is a great learning opportunity for me as I wish to go on to profesional training.  I will get to watch many profesional and community class pieces and can really see the progression on performance and techinal skills. It is also a great chance to ask the FFIN dancers and other community class dancers questions.

I enjoy participating in the winter dance faktry festival not just to dance and rehearse work, but to watch the profesional pieces and be part of a profesional show.

Louis xx 😀

Louis Norman aged 15

An Intense Time

Working with New Ground

As a member of ‘The Move’ Blaenau Gwent Youth Dance Company, I am currently very busy rehearsing for the upcoming show ‘winter dance faktry festival‘. I am featured in 3 of the pieces. One is performing with ‘The Move’ another with AYDC and finally as a volunteer for New Ground.

I have really enjoyed volunteering for New Ground and feel that it has been a very worth while experience. I am really looking forward to performing all 3 pieces Saturday. The past few weeks of ‘The Move’ classes have been very intense to insure me and my peers perform ‘Deeper’ to the best of our ability. I think this intense process makes me a better dancer in the long run.

I really enjoy being challenged and pushed, because I feel that I improve and gain confidence within this process. I have thoroughly enjoyed learning and rehearsing all 3 pieces and I’m looking forward to performing all 3 pieces in the show on Saturday.

 Gemma Aubrey aged 15

Please Support WDFF 2012

Workshops with FFIN DANCE

We hope that you can support our Festival and show these young artists that they have a future in the arts.  You can support by attending the Festival on November 17th at The Met in Abertillery or by making a donation to our future work with young people

Supporting the Festival
The Met Box Office