Outreach at its most rewarding

2 of our youngest dancers at Desire To Dance Brynmawr

2 of our youngest dancers at Desire To Dance Brynmawr

The past month has been truly rewarding with our dance faktry projects running concurrently at Brynmawr and Tredegar. Our Desire To Dance Project successfully ran at Tredegar and London last season; together with generous funding from Tai Calon Community Housing, we ran a similar project in Brynmawr for the children of the community in that area. They worked for 4 intensive full days over 2 weekends with Effie, Catrin, Louis and Cariad and produced a lovely piece of work focussing on touch and skin.

At Tredegar Comprehensive School Catrin, Julian and Louis worked with a group of young Performing Arts students to create a piece of work that was choreographed to music written by GCSE Music students from the school. 2 intense evenings from 3.30pm – 8pm were spent making the work.  We facilitated this project with funding from a legacy given to Arts Development at Aneurin Leisure, kindly donated to give young people experience with music and theatre.

The 2 pieces were shown to friends and family at the Annual Dance Showcase organised by Aneurin Leisure Arts Development at The Met Theatre in Abertillery, our home theatre.

Desire To Dance Brynmawr

Desire To Dance Brynmawr

The experiences gained by the children and young people were many, but I think the most valuable things learnt were working together to produce a high quality product and digging dip and finding inner strength especially when exhausted!  Of many evaluations from the project participants who were all wowed by their achievements was a comment to Catrin – “you’ve changed my life” – a lump comes into my throat as I write.

Moving on then, we turn our thoughts to our next outreach project, the Summer Dance School. More about that very soon, please feel free to pass on this flyer to all young people who you think may benefit ..

summer school 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

sue lewis

All go

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

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!

t e n poster FinalFriday 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.

Thanks, Julian

Gearing up for opening night

IMG_3713As 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…?

 

Effie biog pic 2I 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

A new journey and tough rehearsals

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

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.

Hope you can join us for t e n Tour 2016
Natasha

Another notch on the success post

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

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 info@ffindance.co.uk

sue lewis

Happy new year

Memoir

Memoir

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.

Here’s a little preview

Catrin and Julian are also performing with Traceworks very soon at the Swallowsfeet Dance Festival in Brighton, catch them if you can.

More details to follow with our t e n Tour 2016 we hope you’ll tune in.

sue lewis

 

 

 

t e n Tour 2016

10FFIN 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.

sue lewis

Off The Street

OTS posterThis autumn has been an amazing time for our outreach projects with last night’s performance being no exception.
Together with the Arts Development team at Aneurin Leisure, we at the ffin dance faktry co-produced Off The Street, a dance showcase that saw over 70 children and young people from Blaenau Gwent, Wales UK sharing their work in a local theatre.  The energy and enthusiasm from all of the young dancers was truly infectious and the sell-out audience was thrilled with the production.  It was great to hear related stories from parents: one in particular told us how she had made good friends with other mothers that she didn’t really know very well,and their children have also become good playmates since starting dance classes 4 years ago. They had all bonded together because of dance.

Another parent told us that she had really enjoyed the performance which was presented in the round.  She liked being “up close and personal” to the performance to see the joy in her daughters face when she was dancing; never having seen that look before, not even opening her Christmas presents!

We have 1 more outreach event before Christmas on Monday 14th December 2015, at Ebenezer Chapel in Abertillery, Wales UK.  This event will see our young people from the ffin dance faktry share class and dance pieces with their families and friends and also raise much-needed funds for the coming year.

For more information how we can work with your group please contact us info@ffindance.co.uk or text 07854 910926

 

New company dancer – part 1

523238_10151376905219344_497662062_nHello all, this is my first blog post as a new company member of FFIN DANCE.
I was delighted to be offered the role of company dancer back in August and feel especially privileged to be joining the company ahead of the 10th anniversary next year. My first encounter with the company was back in 2012 when I participated in the professional Easter intensive and performed in a new piece, Homage to Cello, as part of the Easter Dance Faktry Festival. I thoroughly enjoyed the taster of Sue’s detailed choreographic style, the connections to the music and how she allowed each dancer to play to their strengths in the work. I was encouraged to apply for this opportunity by fellow company dancer, Catrin Lewis, with whom I was in the same year of study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

My working relationship with Catrin began this same year, performing in each other’s choreographies as well as sharing the Laban stage in a commissioned work by Kerry Nicholls in 2013.

Catrin continued to keep me in the loop with all the goings-on at FFIN DANCE when she officially joined the company upon her graduation. I also maintained contact with Sue, informing her of my own professional development as I toured with EDge, the postgraduate performance company at London Contemporary Dance School. This contact sustained my interest in the company and in February 2014 I made a trip to The Met in Abertillery to join company class. I was then offered to shadow some of the company rehearsals with Gary Lambert and in July joined Catrin as a teacher on the Blaenau Gwent Senior Summer Dance School. As a new company dancer, I am full of excitement as to what the coming year will have in store. I look forward to the studio research and all of the creative outcomes and challenges it will bring. I also can’t wait to perform and share our work with a variety of audiences in different locations. I’m hopeful that I’ll offer a new flavour to what is already a dynamic group of professional dancers.

Julian

 

True

Weibertreue

Weibertreue

With just over a week to go, I’d like to share the thinking behind my new work for the company – True
It’s a quartet for the whole  company very loosely based on the German folk tale of Weibertreue. At Weinsberg, in Württemberg, on the summit of a hill, remain the ruins of a castle; which is also known by the name of “Weibertreue,” or “Woman’s Faith.” During the Guelph and Ghibelline wars the castle was besieged in 1140  by the Emperor Conrad III., who, in his exasperation at the protracted resistance made by the garrison, vowed to put all the men to the sword, but promised to spare the lives of the women, with the engagement, moreover, that each should be permitted to carry out along with her, her most choice treasure.  “The good women were beside themselves with sorrow that their husbands and children were to be burned alive. Therefore they took counsel with one another and decided that each woman would take her husband and children onto her back and carry them outside the city.  They did just that; each woman took her husband onto her back and her children under her arms and carried them outside the city.

Now the chronicle tells us that when the conquering lord saw this, tears came to his eyes, and he spared the lives of everyone and set the city free as well” *

It’s lovely tale of virtue and cunning.  I’ll be setting this to some exquisite Medieval dance music, which will structure the dance into episodes.  As those who know my work well, the music is the driving force behind my choreography rather than narrative, and I’m very much looking forward to getting into the studio with our 4 dancers who are all exceptional at picking up on musical form and dynamic.  However structure and form aside, there will also be humour and wit involved, making this piece come alive from the pages of history and folklore.

I hope you join us on our True journey
sue lewis

*Source: Martin Montanus, “Ein statt würt gewunnen, daraus die weyber ihre mann und kinder tragen,” Schwankbücher (1557-1566), edited by Johannes Bolte (Tübingen: Gedruckt für den literarischen Verein in Stuttgart, 1899), 80, pp. 341-42.