Let’s get our dancing feet going
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As we move further towards life back in the normal lane, I take the time to reflect on how things have been over the past few months during lockdown.
We have been most fortunate to get support from The National Lottery Community Fund, Community Foundation in Wales and more recently from GAVO to keep in touch with our community and find new ways of working together.
Children and young people from our dance faktry have written and sent postcards to members of the community who have been self isolating, those who have been in hospital, those who may have needed a bit of “cheering up” and those who are alone.
Our company dancers and teachers have filmed dance classes and exercises to do at home and they have been posted on social media. We are now in our ninth week of online dance classes via Zoom, having taught 30 classes in that time. The classes are free for the community and we have had some wonderful feedback from parents and the young people themselves.
I think that we are one of the first professional dance companies in the UK to announce our virtual summer dance school. This is free to participants of all ages and abilities and will involve the creation of a new dance film to be screened on August 7th.
We have plans to reopen our café with a take away service as our first step to resuming activity in our beloved Beaufort Theatre
We have found new ways of working and will continue to do that, already we have found that many things can be done differently to good effect.
However, nothing can take away the feeling of being together in a studio – creating, learning, dancing together. Nothing can be as good as the thrill of seeing our Main House full of people coming to watch live performances, maybe for the first time. Nothing can beat the feeling of family that we have at FFIN DANCE
We hope that we will all be together again soon, in whatever way the new normal dictates. Stay safe everyone and keep dancing …
We are delighted to share with you that we have been awarded a grant from the Community Foundation in Wales Coronavirus Resilience Fund to connect with our community through a series of online dance and exercise classes. Our team of professional dancers at FFIN DANCE will be starting this Thursday and Friday (April 30th) with free online classes to the community. The classes will be aimed at all ages and all levels and will be joined through Zoom. In addition to this our dance faktry will be sending cheery post cards to vulnerable members of our community as a way of connecting with those who are isolated or in care homes and hospitals. We are truly grateful to the Community Foundation in Wales for giving us this opportunity to keep our vital work going in our community throughout lockdown and during the period following that: a time of uncertainty for us all.
Look out for details on our social media sites:
This year our Easter dance faktry festival will be held on Saturday April 18th at 7pm.
In addition to a performance by our professional dancers, we will be sharing the work of our community dance and musical theatre classes with you.
Our resident performing arts academy Lybec Arts will also be performing as will local community group Toppers School of Dance & Drama.
Tickets are out now in our weekly classes and also by calling in person at our Café @ The Beaufort between 10-2pm
Here’s a look at some images from the edff 2019 by Paul Trask
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.
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 …
Our Summer Dance School this year will take place at our home base, The Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale. It starts on July 29th and will conclude with a showcase evening performance on Friday 2nd August at 7pm
There are 2 age group categories this year – Junior (age 7-13) and Senior (13 – adult) with a fee of £50.
If you would like to be part of this super opportunity, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form. Here’s some snaps by Paul Trask of our groups last summer –
After a few aches and pains it was time to crack on with day two of production week! The collaborative work between FFIN DANCE and The Beaufort Theatre is the foundation for the work we do day to day at the Beaufort and today was no different.
As a community-led building we are forever hosting young people and with Santa heading our way later this December it was time for Sam, The Beaufort Theatre’s Catering Operative and myself to get crafty! A morning making Reindeer Dust is hard to beat!
Then it was all systems go! The company dancers arrive and after the coffees and mini morning meetings, I was once again thrown into Georgina’s Class. The second day of a class always seems to feel just right!, the exercises have settled and it’s time to sweat! A class full of tilts, swings and floor work is a winner in my book! At the end of last class Georgina had presented us with a mighty phrase that would take a week to tackle! Second time round was just as fun and to keep us pushing it was time for the second side. Whilst the dancers spent some time rehearsing their newest work ‘An Inspector Calls’ choreographed by Sue Lewis, I got back to work.
FFIN DANCE has pioneered the way for high quality dance education in the south Wales area for many years and it’s important for us to ensure that the festival presents not only opportunity to perform but to learn. The invited guests bring a brand new type of training and performance so I think its really important that the young dancers get to watch each others’ work. Finalising the running order and programme was my main focus for the day and before I knew if it was time to get moving again. Tonight marks the start our of Headliner project. Headliner is a collaborative project, very much in the spirit of the faktry festival bringing professional and youth dancers together to create a brand new work for this years performance. Led by the FFIN DANCE professional dancers, we started out with a technique class lead by Julian. It was great to start the project pushing ourselves technically. The project pulls dancers from nearly all of the faktry classes all bringing a different approach to their work. After learning a phrase for the work, it was clear that this project provides challenges for all types of dancers. We finished the evening with a great creative task pulling reference from Julian’s phrase, we were asked to create a solo influenced by the movement but also by the overarching theme of the work; exploring speed. Day two was fab!
FFIN DANCE faktry
After a long term of creativity and technical training, production week has finally arrived. This is always one of my favourites times of year, bringing the faktry and the company together for a real celebration of the work that has been undertaken in this last season.
Day 5 has been an absolute delight. We have spent time today in the studio piecing together the duets in Act 2 working on the all-important transitions that add coherence and meaning (sometimes esoteric) to the overall structure of the work. We have spent time filming Acts 1 and 2 in readiness for when we come back to the continuation of it and the completion of Act 3 and ultimately finish the piece ready for production.
What a luxury it is to have R&D time to explore ideas and let the muse guide you in your thoughts and processes – oh to have this more regularly!
Wishing you all a happy weekend, and see you on Monday for more ramblings on Crib.