Hello everyone, I’d like introduce myself so here’s my first blog for the company.
From watching Ffin Dance’s work, I was really drawn to their beautiful, technically driven movement vocabulary and for me, dancing is as much about art and creativity as it is about athleticism and physicality. I am really excited about the prospects of working with Ffin and I am looking forward to working with the team to expand my knowledge and skills as a professional dancer. Alongside working as a professional dancer, I also own my own Beauty business in the heart of Cardiff called Precision Beauty.
I love being my own boss, its challenging yet very rewarding and allows me the flexibility to have two very different careers alongside one another. I couldn’t ask for more! Please feel free to have a look at my working biography by following this link.
…and the end of the beginning! Friday saw us open our new triple bill at our home theatre in Abertillery. This season is aptly named t e n as it marks the company’s tenth anniversary year; it also marks my fifth and final season with Ffin.
As you would expect, over the past five seasons some things have stayed the same (my pink jumper makes an appearance every show day!) while many things have changed or developed over time (not least the length of my hair or the Heads of the Valleys road!).
Friday was an interesting one – it was the opening night of our tour and yet my last performance at the Met, an evening of beginnings and endings all in one! It was the first time we were letting the new bill fly and transition from being in the studio to stage – where a piece really starts to find its own existence. It’s akin to that sense you don’t really start learning how to drive until you’ve passed your test and are in a car by yourself on the roads.
I think because of the newness of the work, I didn’t have time to dwell on it being a last of something as well, which is probably for the better! The last time that we performed Missing Pages in 2013 (a piece which all season had felt very special) I put too much pressure on myself to really make the most of it and actually came away not having enjoyed myself as I would have liked in its final outing.
Recently, I listened to a radio programme called ‘A Dancer Dies Twice’ and it got me thinking about whether I would I prefer to know and plan when my last ever performance comes, or to realise after the event that my last performance had already been. I’m still not sure, but for now I shall continue with t e n until July and fingers crossed both Ffin and I will continue to enjoy plenty of performances after we part ways.
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!
Friday 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.
Last night saw the beginning of an extensive summer education and outreach programme. Our company dancers Catrin, Julian and Sarah worked with over 60 children in Blaenau Gwent linking in with our new work from t e n Tour 2016 with partner organisations Toppers Dance and Aneurin Leisure Trust. Later this week we will be working with another 50 children and young people at The Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale.
Next month, we will be working with children in Brynmawr as part of a partnership programme with Tai Calon Community Housing, bringing professional dance to young people over a period of 2 free weekend courses. We will also be working with the Music Department at Tredegar Comprehensive: using music composed by the pupils themselves, we will be choreographing a new piece of work to be performed in the Aneurin Leisure annual dance showcase.
July sees the company delivering a number of Summer Dance Schools in Blaenau Gwent in partnership with the Arts Development team at Aneurin Leisure.
If you’d like any information about dates, venues and how to enrol, please text 07854 910926 or e mail email@example.com
As we gear up for our première at our home theatre The Metropole in Abertillery, the company pops in some last minute rehearsals for t e n Tour 2016
Sue, Natasha, Effie, Julian and I are excited to be sharing the new repertoire with you all this year, as it marks the company’s 10th year anniversary, hence the name of the show t e n
A special occiasion wouldn’t you agree…?
I would like to take this opportunity to say how lucky I have been to share the stage with the beautiful Effie since joining the company in 2014. This is her last season with us and we wish her all the happiness and success she truly deserves in her next chapter!
We head down to Wales next week to hold workshops in the community with our partner organisations Toppers Dance and Aneurin Leisure Trust, and with our our gorgeous young dancers of the ffin dance faktry and ffin youth, and we do hope you can join us for our opening night on Friday 20th May. Tickets are £8, £6 concessions and can be booked on 01495 355800 or by texting 07854 910926
In the meantime, enjoy the sunshine.
Much love Cat x
It is one thing to work the body, but when your mind is working equally hard, it becomes exhausting. All of the company seems to be feeling the strain, however the moments of joy come from dedicated repetition and embodiment. It’s such a pleasure to dance with such a dedicated group of people and that gives me great inspiration.
With new roles within the company, there is a clarity which has given birth to new life and what feels like the start of a new journey.
With just a month to go before our première at The Met, rehearsals of Duetti and True are really challenging our technical ability; unforgiving movement tearing up our feet as we push on to grasp the many tours en l’air (360 jumps) and the constant play of levels, I can’t help but feel both anticipation and excitement.
So, how do you measure success? A variety of ways I rather imagine, but in the case of our Easter Intensives and Easter Dance Faktry Festival, we like to think that it’s quality performances and happy people.
We recently spent time in the studio with 3 amazing people: Sarah Lee Pryke (professional dancer), Louis Norman (dance graduate) and Jasmine Morgan (youth dancer and trainee) as part of the Easter Intensives where our company dancers taught some of my new work True to our guests. The end result was performed in the festival in front of a packed and appreciative house at our home theatre, The Met in Abertillery. In addition to our professional guests, we had over 60 children and young people performing and sharing their new work which they have been rehearsing since Christmas. I’ve said it before, and will doubtless say it many more times, it’s such a huge privilege to share in work created by these young people and to treat them to a platform where the work is staged and managed by our professional technical team.
So next up is another week in the studio with myself and the FFIN company dancers finalising our work for our new t e n Tour 2016. If you would like to do professional company class with us, drop us a text 07854 910926 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
FFIN DANCE is ten years old this year and we celebrate with our new triple bill t e n
In just a week, our company dancers are all back in the studio, and we can now share the content of our new triple bill line up. We started work on my new piece True back in the Autumn of 2015, and we’ll be just finishing off this delightful quartet for the full company next week.
The second piece is a New Work, that’s a collaboration between myself and 2 of our company dancers Catrin and Julian. Performed as a duet, it will be very much a reflection of the 2 dancers and their personalities. Watch this space over the coming weeks for more blogs and tweets.
And to complete the bill will be Duetti, which I made for the company back in 2008. Accompanied by the haunting songs of Björk, Duetti is as the name implies, a series of duets. Sometimes working with the songs and other times existing as 2 separate elements, the dancers execute lyrical duets.
The organic nature of the songs from Medúlla refer to the purest essence of something and explore the ritual power of the voice in a way that’s primal and elaborate. Several of the songs are sung in Icelandic, which work particularly well with movement. The rolling r’s, guttural stops and elongated vowels reflect the alternately chopped and soaring arrangements behind them.
Unfettered sensuality winds through the songs, with Björk’s voice being miked very closely giving the sense of listening to her from inside her larynx. I was originally inspired by the landscape of Northern Tuscany, when I created the duets: often jagged but occasionally silky and always stunning, the duets unfold in a seamless and intricate order, each one developing from its predecessor.
Described by an audience member at Chisenhale in 2008 – “DV8 meets Matz Ek”
As always we will be posting blogs and tweeting our studio experiences, hope that you’ll join us in our conversations.
Our 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 email@example.com or text 07854 910926