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 :D

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


Ceyda Tanc Dance

Ceyda Tanc Dance are working on a new piece for touring in 2012 and 2013, called Volta. Initial inspiration for the piece came from Ceyda’s dad, telling us stories of a walking exercise played in Turkish prisons, named Volta. In pairs, the inmates would walk a short distance side-by-side. When they wanted to turn and walk back, the ‘rule’ was that they have to turn in towards each other. If one turned their back on the other, it was considered as an insult and a betrayal. The tense atmosphere that this creates and the idea of what might happen if one person turned their back on the other, provided impetus for creating movement material Ceyda paired the themes with a type of Turkish folk dance called Kafkas.

This particular form of Turkish dance is very sharp and physically demanding, fitting with the hostile mood of the piece. The company have had two intensive rehearsal weekends to learn and create material. Ceyda taught us various Kafkas phrases, that she had learnt whilst training in a Turkish dance school last year. I think all the dancers noticed the difference from the Zeybek dances that we had learnt for our previous piece Kartal. The Zeybek dances are controlled, repetitive and slower in pace, whereas, although still being precise, the Kafkas dances are fast and powerful. Kafkas includes explosive jumps, quick turns and strong arm movements with interesting rhythms, making it very exciting to perform. It was amazing how Kafkas lent itself to inspiring contemporary movement material.

I think we all enjoyed incorporating the traditional dance movements into contemporary phrases and it created an interesting movement language for the piece. We all worked on solo phrases and created duet material together.

A few new dancers recently joined us, so it was great to work together, adding different personalities and a new dynamic to the company for this piece. We are working towards creating a full length piece for touring next year, but will be performing an excerpt at Ffin Dance’s Winter Dance Faktry Festival at the weekend (Saturday 17th November). We are looking forward to having a little road trip over to Wales, meeting everyone and performing our brand new piece! Exciting times ahead.

Hayley Ovens
Dancer – Ceyda Tanc Dance

Hard Work And Focus

Photo Paul Trask

As a member of ‘The Move’, Blaenau Gwent Youth Dance Company, I am currently very busy preparing for the piece ‘Deeper’ that will be showcased Saturday in the annual Winter Dance Faktry Festival.

Myself and all other members of The Move have recently been undergoing consistent rehearsal periods in preparation for Saturday’s showcase, involving a fair amount of hard work, commitment, focus, effort and amendments.

This time of year is exceptionally busy but exciting for members of The Move, as each member is involved in other community youth dance classes and projects across the borough, including ‘New Ground’ community dance project, ‘Leapers’ community dance class and ‘ADYC’ Abertillery Youth Dance Company, Some of whom are also performing in the Winter Dance Faktry Festival.

This week rehearsal periods and preparation time has been increased, with the intention of creating an intensive rehearsal regime generating positive effect, a lot to rehearse with little time to do it. Although this could have the potential to be strenuous it is beneficial in every way and a vital way of improving our performance skills as young dancers, encouraging us to always strive for better, even if we believe that we are currently doing our best.  It would be great if you can come and support our work at the Festival.

Aimée Broad Aged 17