Crib, here we go

ffindancepresentsapr18FINALSo here we are at last!  I started making my new work in the studio back in the autumn of 2017 and Crib will see its première this coming Friday at The Beaufort Theatre.
The title needs a little explanation I think.
I started choreographing professionally when I was teaching Dance at Ebbw Vale Senior Comprehensive School and spent many, many happy years working with students, creating work for our annual dance shows.  Together with my own passion for Prince music and that of the students, each show became peppered with tracks like Purple Rain, Sometimes It Snows In April, Nothing Compares To You, Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret, 1999 and many more.

Over 21 years we got through a fair amount as you can guess.
It’s most fitting that I return to The Beaufort Theatre as this place holds a very special place in my heart.  It was the first place I performed, the first place I presented amateur choreography, the first place I presented professional choreography and now the company I founded FFIN DANCE has its home there since we took on the asset from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council back in April 2017.  So coming home to Ebbw Vale is a full circle, with which I’m very happy; it makes me feel like I’m returning to the beginning once more – hence the title

Crib is a tribute to Prince music and also to my past.

I hope that you can come and join me this Friday together with all of our community groups from the ffin dance faktry, together with guest dancers from Tredegar – Kidz R Us.  Tickets are available from the café at The Beaufort or via text 07854 910926

 

Mae’n ddrwg

Photo of PRINCEIt’s with huge apologies that I write this blog, after what seems like an eternity.  Since the company has taken on the running and management of The Beaufort Theatre in April 2017, my life has been rather taken over with operational things other than writing blogs.

 

Things are at last settling down and we have had an amazing 9 months learning new skills, meeting new people and of course expanding our business.

Next week sees the start of me making my new work with the company dancers: it’s a tribute to the music of one of my favourite artists, the late, great Prince.  Please keep posted for a further insight

We will be looking for another dancer to join us later this spring, keep your eyes open for the advert – it could be you joining our team!
We will also be updating this website and introducing you to a new page dedicated to The Beaufort Theatre.

Hope you join us on our 2018 journeys, happy New Year to you all

sue 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

 

Emigrated?

beaufortmavenproblackIn my absence from blogging, you may have thought that I had emigrated or left the planet, and in a way I have.
If you’ve been following the company escapades on Twitter and Facebook, you will know that we have moved in to The Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale and taken over the management of the venue from the Borough Council of Blaenau Gwent. We have been there since the beginning of April and our energies have been spent on getting together a full volunteers programme, a rolling programme of community theatre events and of course establishing a café bar opening throughout the day serving the community with excellent food and drinks at competitive prices. Quite a tall order you may say; and yes it has been.

Well, 6 weeks later and we can boast all the above and more.  We have been joined by 2 Volunteers Coordinators,supported by funding from The Coalfields Regeneration Fund – Jocelyn and Sharon, who are building a great team of volunteers to work with us.

Kahve logoWe also have a new Catering and Bar Manager, Bülent Dilek-Karaosmanoglu who has brought his own excellent brand of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine to our café with the inventive and delicious Kahve Café Bar. Kahve is the proud recipient of the Wales Food Awards Finalist position, opening from 10am-5pm from Monday to Saturday at Kahve @The Beaufort

In addition to this, we have opened our new show Virago at The Met Theatre in Abertillery and  we’re in the process of planning our next shows at Highgate School, London and The Sanctuary with Zoo Venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Please follow our progress, and we hope you can join us in seeing this most special show.

We have been working with a group of children and young people in Blaenau Gwent with the support of Aneurin Leisure and the Arts Council of Wales in a dance engagement project. Our company dancers, led by Catrin and Julian, have been engaged in a number of intensive workshops, to create a piece of work which opened our performance as a curtain raiser.  We were thrilled with both the process and the end result, some great creativity and commitment demonstrated at every workshop.  The audience was thrilled too.  Well done to all!

We are just about feeling comfy with our developments and the growth of the company and welcome you to our new home.  Please drop by and have a coffee, a drink, a light bite or a lunch with us, you will be sure of a good welcome and excellent quality refreshment.

See you soon….

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

 

 

All things new

Winter dance intensives 2016 Image Paul Trask

Winter dance intensives 2016
Image Paul Trask

At the start of the calendar year, our attention turns to planning ahead and realising plans and projects that were made last year.

2017 is going to be a year of big changes for FFIN DANCE if all of our plans come to fruition, mainly our bid for Beaufort Theatre and Ballroom.  We are hoping to take the venue as a community asset transfer from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council: if we are successful we will be bringing a whole new range of services to the community and offering training and volunteering opportunities for the public in catering, arts business and admin, customer care, and more.  So we will see a bigger and busier dance faktry, supplying much-needed services to our community and creating new jobs too.  If you would like more information on how to join us, please get in touch.

The company dancers will be back in the studio in February after a break, and we’ll be finishing off our new full length work, Virago
To kick off the Virago season, we will be attending the launch of John F Wakes’s book The Cruel Streets Revisited next Tuesday 17th January at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff.  The main character of our work Virago is centred around Minnie McGuire who was the most-arrested person in Victorian Wales; she has her own chapter in John’s book!  John and I will be working in collaboration for this project and the book launch sees the start of that journey for 2017

The company will be touring this work from May 2017 and we very much hope you can join us.
I’d like to wish you all a most happy and healthy year ahead, please keep following our progress and sending in your comments and views.

sue lewis

Winter dance faktry festival 2016

3-amigosAs the glorious autumn days roll by, it’s time to turn our thoughts to winter time, and of course for us here at FFIN DANCE, the winter dance faktry festival.

This is when we bring all of our community and outreach groups together and share the new term’s work with family and friends.
We also have guests groups that we have worked with over the year and the professional dancers/dance graduates who have attended our winter intensives course during the week of the festival. It really is a joy to share the work of these emerging artists ranging from 4 years olds to professionally trained dancers all in the same show.  Held at The Met, our resident theatre in Abertillery, we combine all the groups in a friendly and supportive festival atmosphere with no competitive edge: all of the dancers at the festival get to watch the other dancers which we feel is a vital part of our outreach, we believe that the routes for progression from beginners to full graduate training need to be shown to young people to raise an awareness that dance can be a career, a way of life and not just a hobby.  We strive for excellence even at a young age.

We hope that you can join us in what will be a lovely occasion on November 12th 2016 at 7.30pm, here’s the ticket line.  If you’re a new-comer to our festivals please stick around to say hello, we’d love to meet you.

sue lewis

Moving On

As the company moves on into its second decade, we have plans to expand in a variety of different ways, one of which includes the expansion of our Board of Trustees.
We are delighted that Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE has joined us as Patron and Andrew Tuggey CBE is our Company Champion.

Here’s a little more about them:

Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE

Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE

Brigadier Aitken is currently Lord Lieutenant of Gwent and has lived in Gwent since childhood.  Following a choral scholarship to Oxford, Brigadier Aitken was commissioned in the Royal Regiment of Wales. He had a distinguished military career lasting 34 years during which time he was awarded a CBE.
He is currently the Director of Music in Hospitals Cymru/Wales, a charity that provides live music events in healthcare settings. He is an Officer of the Order of St John Cymru, and chairman of 3 military charitable trusts. He is also Honorary Colonel of Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force.

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Tuggey CBE

Andrew Tuggey CBE

Andrew Tuggey CBE is Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK’s Chief Executive & Secretary; he also is Secretary of the CPA British Islands & Mediterranean Region. Highly experienced in international outreach, parliamentary strengthening and parliamentary diplomacy, he served in the Army prior to his current appointment, latterly as a Defence diplomat with the FCO. Andrew has a BSc (Eng) and speaks French, German, Malay and Nepalese. He served as High Sheriff of Gwent and is currently a Vice Lord Lieutenant (VLL) in Gwent

We are seeking offers from the community for other Trustees, please contact us by e mail info@ffindance.co.uk
More of our new ventures to follow.

sue lewis

 

A fond farewell

Missing Pages Photo Paul Trask

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

It seems fitting somehow to say “cheerio” to our senior dancer Effie, after such a successful run of events to celebrate our 10th anniversary season. Our season will continue into the spring of 2017 with new dancer Sarah joining Catrin, Natasha and Julian, whilst Effie is moving on to pastures new.
Effie has been with the company for 5 years, having met us at our Winter Intensives.  We were so impressed with her that we offered her a place to learn some of Gary Lambert’s work for the company, to replace Lucille Tappa in Synapsequence.

Effie has created and danced many lovely roles for the company over the years, but I think it was Missing Pages, that really brought out her lyricism and technique more than any other.

Effie has been a wonderful workshop leader and teacher too, with her quirky ways of motivating children and young people; especially noteworthy is her “bananas of the world unite” and her numerical jogging pattern warm ups. We will miss her zany music in professional class, Dr Who will never be the same again!

The image by Paul Trask that is featured above, carries a story, I’m sure that Effie won’t mind me sharing it.  The company was in Llanhilleth Wales, shooting some images for our tour Inspired: Paul wanted to shoot somewhere local and out of the studio.  This obviously caused a bit of a stir in the village and gathered quite a lot of spectators who were generally supportive and also inquisitive. After a little while, word got around and we were hailed with some children shouting “come over here boys, there’s a stripper down by the railway station” The photo above and some others too, were the culprits of this mistaken identity. We laughed about that one for quite a time, as you can imagine.

So finally it’s time to say a very fond farewell.  We wish Effie well in her future pursuits and will miss her tremendously as a wonderful dancer and warm, faithful friend.  Please keep in touch.

sue lewis