Ich bin ein tanzer

The Power Of 3 Tour 2015 continues…
After many delays and hours of travel, we find ourselves stepping into a beautiful castle. To me it feels like I am staying in a museum; art everywhere and interesting design and architectural features
The tour is offering a wonderful balance of dance and relaxation, it feels completely backwards to be on the receiving end of hospitality and service from the Princess and her family instead of offering it.  They are all so kind and it’s wonderful being welcomed into their home.imageimage
Our “stage” is the mirrored ballroom of the castle – spinning around the room and being able to catch a glimpse of yourself is magical, indeed everything about this place keeps surprising us with magical moments.
We have reworked Gary’s piece from duet to trio. The movement hasn’t changed but it has altered the relationships between the three of us in the space. It’s interesting as it leaves room imagefor doubt, but also a nice sense of ownership as we have the choice and ability to change the state by simply walking into the space or not. I think Gary has some surprises to put into action for the performance, a sense of the unknown. That’s quite an exciting concept to look forward to.
Sue’s piece feels different from before, not only because we’ve altered the spacing to work within he round, but also because the space is so vast it allows me to regain a sense of the freedom which I had in creating the work. The space is so big and I have room to push the boundaries and travel which is something which has always driven my movement.
I really look forward to the performance and the rest of my time here in Namedy.

But for now I’m going to continue sunbathing (like in Picasso’s Three Bathers) by the Rhine.

 

 

Natasha x

 

Inspired in Germany

Namedy flyer 2This week saw the company return to Germany which is definitely one of the highlights of the tour for myself.
It was so lovely to return to Namedy and perform once again in the Spiegelsaal.
Catrin, Effie and myself set off from London St Pancras (after a false start where Catrin and I bought the wrong tickets) and met the rest of the company in Dover. Setting sail across the channel, sadly without a re enactment of The Little Mermaid but with a cheeky g&t.
Arriving in France we began our journey to Germany. We arrived at midnight feeling very tired and slightly squashed. We were all quick to sample some German beer and headed straight to bed.
Tuesday morning saw us taking company class led by Mike and we were joined by two young dancers Manon and Jessie from Holland who were also performing in the programme in a piece by Ben Craft.
We were straight into rehearsal for Axiom Tangent, Gary Lambert’s group piece for us.
I have spent time with Catrin in the studio teaching her the structure of the piece but this was the first time that we have been able to fully rehearse the complicated lifts that happen throughout. To say the pressure was on is to put it mildly. We had to get used to lifting one another again as we have not worked like this together since we were younger and adjusting how we used our weights provided some challenges for us.
Our performances at Namedy happen in the round. This involves the audience being on all sides so there is never a ‘true front’. This type of performance setting provides many challenges. As you have the audience in 360° there is no hiding, especially when they are in such close proximity to you.
As there is no ‘front’ we spent a long time rehearsing all three pieces of the ‘Inspired’ bill readjusting the facings and the placings of both the material and the dancers. It’s quite an exciting thing to do as you have to rewire the brain’s way of thinking of the piece and it takes a little bit of time for it to settle into something you recognise, a bit like washing your favourite pair of jeans- they take a while to get comfy again.
I especially enjoyed reworking ‘Degrees of Freedom’ in this space. The fluorescent lights which normally light the piece from the back of the stage were this time placed on the floor around me, providing little areas which dictated where the material would be performed. I was free to play with the directions of the material and kept it quite free and unset which is very in keeping with sections of the piece. This has been a big challenge for the brain because my usual markers of where material begins and ends has shifted dramatically, especially when the movement becomes faster. Trying to keep the pace of it and decide which way I want to do the material has kept me on my toes…quite literally.
I’m looking forward to performing over the next two evenings and seeing how the pieces develop.
Thanks for reading
Meg

Opening night Tanz@Namedy 2013

IMG_2859After a marvelous day of rehearsals and restaging Inspired for a round presentation, we performed to a packed audience, who absolutely loved the work.  Each of the pieces was called back to the stage for rapturous curtain calls, the audience refusing to let the dancers get away with just one series of bows.

 

Our new company dancer, Catrin settled well in Gary’s group piece, Axiom Tangent, which was an incredible task for her to learn such a meaty role in so short a time.

Megan, Mike and Effie looked like they were really at home in the work, our last part of this season’s tour.

 

As usual the welcome that we receive from the princess and her staff is amazing, the food and the accommodation incredible.

The crowd are all in the wonderful castle grounds in the evening sunshine, enjoying the beauty of this stunning placeWe’re looking forward to the second performance this evening, it’s been quite a relaxed day, hoping for another great audience and of course even more standing ovations for our work!

sue lewis

The same but different

IMG_1251So once again we found ourselves arriving at Namedy in the pitch blackness after a long trek on the Ffin Dance minibus, thankfully with a few less accidental detours! Being greeted by Gary and on stepping into the castle, it was nice to feel less at odds with our setting, having a sense of knowing where we’re going and easing back into our Namedy lifestyle has been a swift process. Overall, there is a distinct feeling of sameness with a healthy new edge of difference (not least exhibited in a new fringe being sported by myself!).

With performances speedily upon us this year (on Wednesday and Thursday evenings) we have been cracking on straight away today, starting off with company class lead by Mike.  We were also joined by Ben’s dancers Jessie and Manon which was lovely in having a bigger community feel – it’s always great for a new vibe and a different energy to be introduced when working alongside some new faces.

Our Ffin team for the week is reminiscent of last year’s Namedy quartet, consisting of Megan, Mike, Catrin and myself. While this in itself dwells on the idea of sameness, it does in fact constitute a different cast from the preceding leg of our Inspired tour – Catrin takes on the role of partnering Megan in Axiom Tangent while Missing Pages takes on a trio form.

Whilst last year I was highly affected by the cast change part way through our season – with a new partner and undertaking a new role – this year I am probably the least directly impacted so it is interesting to come at the change with a very different perspective. My partnership with Mike feels grounded with solid roots and having consistency has allowed us to develop a much better sense and awareness of one another. Our challenge now is to keep this high sensitivity to each other but also being able to devote enough attention to the other couple in the space so that we can dance as a unit of four rather than two couples.

I’m certainly looking forward to performing again at Namedy but already there is a tinge of bittersweet in the knowledge that we will be saying goodbye to both Axiom Tangent and Missing Pages – I’m not sure I’m quite ready to let go of the Inspired repertoire just yet! Catch it while you can…

 

Effie :-)

 

No let-up

zFVQHQFuInCF47CmeVmCghZ8ItsuNxPMCunTK2Odqbsvi4iMaUZGB8PT2HNPFmmRhav2cKfTvYOdd60DaZUmitFkAdAQQxr7XnA97qd3O1h18hFjHjVzdlkoPuEpr6xOu8Y2yC5MEmOMUe6lOcl1OWqnQ4dIAbh4kG7iSC5gyU3T8AFXn0ZBXPzxTdGeFyjzEqih3nO2Just when the school term ends and everyone is talking holidays, many dance companies are gearing up for summer schools, festivals and European touring, and FFIN DANCE is just one of those such companies.

For the past few weeks, the company has been recruiting and planning the new A Level Dance course that will commence in September, finalising the timetable and content last Friday.  There are still some places left, please contact us if you would like to be considered.
Next week, I am commissioned by Blaenau Gwent Arts Development to make a new work for the senior summer dance school, a privilege and pleasure to which I am looking forward immensely.  I started the summer school many years ago now and I’m glad to see that it has grown and developed into one of the best summer dance schools in Wales – offering great value and expert tuition all in one package.

Then the company is off to Germany once again.  Our associate choreographer Gary Lambert is curating a dance festival at the wonderful Schloss Burg Namedy in Andernach, hosted by the Princess Heide von Hohenzollern.  We will be performing our triple bill Inspired in the amazing castle spiegelsaal (hall of mirrors) which will be the last time that we perform this bill.  Last summer we received 3 encores after each performance – a tough act to follow!

FFIN DANCE Synapsequence Choreography: Gary Lambert Image Laura Mumby

FFIN DANCE
Synapsequence
Choreography: Gary Lambert
Image Laura Mumby

And my thoughts now turn to the new season for 2014, commencing work in the studio in September.  The company says goodbye to dancer Adam Murphy and we welcome recently graduated dancer Catrin Lewis.  Catrin is no new-comer to the company: she has performed with our 2nd company ffin2 and also served her apprenticeship with us back in 2008.  She was invited by Gary Lambert to perform in his work Synapsequence last season when she was on work placement with the company, making such an impression that we snapped her up immediately on her graduation from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music earlier this month.

 

We will be platforming her latest work Stand Up Straight as part of our new triple bill for 2014

So no rest just yet, wheels keep rolling at the FFIN machine.  We’ll be blogging from Germany, please join us and keep in touch with our shenanigans …

sue lewis