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

Authentic and original

Fascination FFIN DANCE Chor: Sue Lewis

Fascination
FFIN DANCE
Chor: Sue Lewis

A productive and exciting week as the company and I distribute morning classes and solid movement practice throughout.

As previously said by Sue, we once more familiarise ourselves with Fascination to proceed forward under Sue’s direction. “Retaining information”- an important skill involving focus, discipline and familiarity that project based dancers constantly battle with. My experience with this tool grows stronger as I myself take notes on how the other dancers reconnect with the piece accordingly. Having always been fortunate with a good memory, I often leave myself unchallenged in the studio. Thus this seasons artwork and war history keeps a watchful eye on us all!  Images and landscape prints being available to us as we drift through D-cay and Fascination.

Effie, Natasha and I would especially like to thank Sue for her sincere patience and understanding towards Gary’s devised work Sentient Trace. A piece that needs exploration, honesty and an opinion! Having performed in the duet last season, I am keen for the girls to capture the essence and quality of the structured tasks. We continue to select the authenticity and originality of the human body next week…

Once again the weekend flies by and we are all one day closer to pancake day. Professional class will be running next week at The Met so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to participate. My email is lewispochin@hotmail.co.uk

Stay safe, Cat. x

Popping in some paint

D-cay Image Paul Trask

D-cay
Image Paul Trask

With advent moving closer towards us, I thought to write a wee blog for the Ffin followers amongst you. Yes, November has been a long one, nevertheless, the company has seen some great progress and involvement with bookings, collaborations and feedback etc. Our Artistic Director Sue and photographer Paul Trask have been putting in the hours to deliver some marvelous marketing material for the season as the dancers and I sit back to wait and see who’s made the perfect “poster pose”! You can see some of the images for D-cay in the gallery sometime later this week.

Working on the practical section of D-cay with Natasha and Effie was an absolute joy! It’s always a cracking feeling when folk recognize your trail of thought during studio time. The dancers work both together and independently for each section, welcoming any disruptions from a spoken text sound score. We introduced sensations getting lost to extremes that measure up to no other feeling. Now having an outline to D-cay it is essentially a case of popping in some paint to really stress the initial idea.

With footage soon to be at hand, my collaborator, film editor and research junky Jose Macabra prepares to figure out order, placement and lighting specs. Remarkably exciting times ahead!
Thanks for reading all and have a lovely week.

Cat

That was the week

PabloPicasso-Three-Women-at-the-Spring-1921_grandeSo that’s the first studio week over creating my new work for the company – Fascination.

I’m working with a trio of women, Effie, Catrin and Natasha examining some of Picasso’s paintings and why he used three figures in his work so much.

I’ve been astounded at the dancers’ response to the tasks that I have set them: such depth of understanding from tiny intricate details to larger more general pictorial representation.

Many choreographers dislike working with 3 dancers, thinking that the numerical variations possible with 3 can be limiting, but I personally love it1 I adore the asymmetry, the lop-sided qualities, the angles, the relationships, the patterns and so on and on.

And then on to my role – the manipulation of material.

Already starting to structure (just can’t help myself ), I have a very clear vision of where the piece will go. My last work for the company – Fractal – was a series of solos that unfolded as episodes, with occasional groupings thrown in for good measure. Fascination doesn’t work in that way: the sections are governed by the score as in Fractal, but each scene varies from the previous and subsequent one. Today we are working on 5 separate vignettes, inspired by Picasso’s Three Bathers including a trio, 2 solos and 2 duets that will be performed concurrently.

It’s been a most rewarding and exciting week, hope the dancers think so too!

Join us next week as we continue our work with Picasso

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 :-)

 

Missing Missing Pages…

Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

Our 3 week creation period for Missing Pages ended on Friday and it feels very odd to part ways with the work for a time having delved so far into Ravel’s Sonata, John F Wake’s short story ‘Walter Walters’ and our own material informed by Sue’s creative tasks. Having inhabited this world and settled into such a sense of structure each day, company class followed by creation and rehearsal sessions, now comes an inevitable period of readjustment for each of us…which right now is feeling strange indeed.

In my experience, no matter what the length of the creation period there is always a sense of wanting those few extra days at the end just to round everything off and while I would happily have continued with Missing Pages this week I think we have left it in a strong place with space to breathe. On Friday, we filmed a rough version of our final run of the piece so we will be able to use this as reference point for where we left off and hopefully a little time away will give us a greater perspective on the piece as a whole – allowing ideas to assimilate from their distinct jigsaw shapes being pieced together.

We will be back revisiting and sharing the material for the Winter Dance Faktry’s Professional Development Course – so if you’d like to get a first-hand sense of the movement material perhaps we’ll see you there?

In the meantime, it’s time for us to get back into Connections Tour mode ready for our performance at DanceLive in Aberdeen next week….

Effie :-)