Cartwheel craze

IMGP2257Morning readers. I hope this blog finds you all well and enjoying your August. Just a quick blog to say a huge thank you to Sue, Krystal and all the beautifully talented and patient volunteer staff at New Ground. Another successful project providing opportunitiy and creativity for young people around the county.
There has been some exceptional work undertaken in all workshops/sharings, and the feedback from parents and loved ones has been nothing but positive. Both Krystal and I have seen endless amount of cartwheels and packed lunches but it has indeed been a humble and rewarding experience that we hope to do again.
Leading these holiday dance clubs in an area where I grew up in, seems somewhat easier for me to teach. I enjoy the challenge of valleys children and how honest they are when it comes to creative tasks and simply communicating. It’s nice to give a little something back where you first started!
The support from parents has been fantastic and we hope to see some if not all of our New Ground children in classes starting in September.

Happy Friday all.
Stay safe, Catrin.

Week 4

_PRT7130We have just finished our third week of New Ground summer holiday dance clubs, which have been full of fun and great dancing. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a volunteer as it has given me new skills and knowledge which will be great value to me in the future.

Just in this short time it is great to see all the children improving so much, developing their confidence and dance technique; it is extremely rewarding and satisfying to see all the hard work of volunteers, teachers and children pay off. It is also lovely to hear some of the children ask about other classes. Hopefully we will see some new starters in all our weekly classes in September.
Today, we are doing a full day session 10-3pm, this is one of three we are doing in the upcoming week. I’m really looking forward to this as I think the children will really enjoy a full day of dancing. It will also be lovely for the children’s parents to see the work they have done in a small viewing at the end of the day, it gives the children something to work towards which is great!!

Gemma Aubrey
New Ground

 

End of the week

_PRT7262So we have just finished our third week of our free holiday dance classes and the volunteers and the children attending are all enjoying learning new skills, from new dance techniques to how to work with children. It’s amazing to see the same children attending each session because they are enjoying it so much and a few children are even asking about joining our weekly classes that will be starting back in September. It’s wonderful to think that we will be gaining some great new dancers all because of these free classes that have been provided.

Being the senior volunteer for this project has really opened my eyes to all the admin work that has to be done to ensure that the project is run as smoothly as possible. This project has really inspired me to run my own classes for the community in the future and I’m so glad that I have been given the opportunity to see first-hand what steps need to be taken to achieve the same success as this project.

During this experience there has been many times where we have all found ourselves laughing due to the quirkiness of some of our children that are attending. My personal highlight so far is seeing all of the children that have attended more than one session improve in a range of different techniques and skills that are definitely going to help them if they decide to join our weekly classes.

I am very much looking forward to sharing our work next week with the children’s family and friends so that they get to see how much their child has improved since starting the classes. I’m sure that we will get great feedback from these sharing sessions.  Maybe you can come along?

Cariad Williams
New Ground

Summer fun

_PRT6991We are now into the third week of our summer holiday dance clubs, and having some great response from the community. The children and young people with whom we are working have been absolutely fantastic.

The holiday clubs provide free dance classes for children in Blaenau Gwent in Wales, aged from 3 – 11 years old (we have a few unofficial teenagers too!) and we are running them at community spaces within easy walking distance of their homes.  As part of our ongoing commitment to providing high quality dance provision to the community, company dancer Catrin Lewis and ffin dance faktry teacher Krystal Campbell are both working with our youth volunteers to create a package of opportunity.

New Ground, our volunteers project, goes from strength to strength with past members progressing on to professional dance training, primary school teacher training and community welfare.  We have enthused children to enquire about regular dance activities that we run in term time and also sign-posted some young people to youth dance activities within the County, with whom we have very strong links as a partner organisation.

Sadly, next week will be our last week of holiday clubs and we will be sharing our work with parents and friends as follows:

Monday 11th August 2014 2.45pm at The Met, Mitre Street in Abertillery
Thursday 14th August 2014 2.45pm at St Mary’s Church Hall, Somerset Road, Brynmawr

It would be great if you could join us …

sue lewis

Summer sizzles

IMG_1941Some of you may remember our online Sponsume appeal for our summer holiday dance clubs for children in Blaenau Gwent; well happy to say that we reached our target of £400, due to your really generous donations.  Together with financial assistance from Tai Calon Community Housing and the Archbishop of Wales Children’s Fund we will be running our free holiday clubs for children.

Our New Ground team will be running a series of holiday dance clubs around the county starting in July and continuing through the school summer holidays.  The volunteers will be led by company dancer Catrin and our professional practitioner Krystal.  They have already received some training leading groups and in customer care and are very keen to get going.  Please see our what’s on page for details (you will need to turn the page for August)

Motus Dance Festival

Motus Dance Festival

Before we start, we have just one more performance of our Still Standing Tour 2014 at Motus Dance Festival at Milton Keynes this weekend.  We will be performing our triple bill at the Festival at The Venue MK.  Theo Clinkard also performing, so we’re in good company!

It would be great to see you there, here’s the booking details

 

In all, a great way to end our 2014 season, a quick break for me late August and then back to it all in September – hope you’ll join me (not for the break in Spain that is!)

sue lewis

Last leg

Fractal Image Paul Trask

Fractal
Image Paul Trask

And so we are on to the last stretch of our 2014 tour, Still Standing.

It’s been a great tour and we have received some great audience feedback: some venues enjoying some of the pieces more than others and then conversely other places getting more from the diversity of the programme.

With our last 2 performances coming up, we travel to London tomorrow to perform Stand Up Straight by Catrin Lewis at Greenwich Dance.  Next week sees our first (and hopefully not last) visit to The Venue at Milton Keynes, where we perform our triple bill as part of the Milton Keynes Dance Festival Motus.

As a company we are very much looking forward to making new friends at these 2 venues as well as seeing familiar faces too.

In addition to these 2 performances I have also been planning the New Ground summer holiday dance club programme with our youth volunteers.  Joining our teaching team will be Krystal Dawn Campbell who has been working with me this term in the dance faktry gaining valuable hands-on experience with class management and working with children and young people.  These classes will be free for children in Blaenau Gwent: the scheme has been awarded financial assistance by Tai Calon, the Archbishop of Wales Children’s Fund, Sport Relief and very generous donations via our online giving scheme.

So an early night for me and off to London in the morning.  Hoping to see you at Greenwich tomorrow and at MK next Sunday.

sue lewis

 

Pleased as punch

Earl of WessexThe company opened the Still Standing season on Tuesday at Coleg Y Cymoedd, Nantgarw in Cardiff, and the show met and exceeded all of my expectations with a marvellous performance and excellent audience.

Opening nights are notoriously edgy and can very often veer off into unchartered waters, but this one was a cracker!
The venue is one which we visited last season, and despite not being a traditional theatre setting, really shows contemporary dance very well in terms of shape and pattern.  It’s up close and very personal which works well with our rep this season; particularly well I think with Catrin Lewis’s ‘Stand Up Straight’, a piece which explores the physicality of Vertigo.
We’ve spent a lot of time in the studio this season perfecting timing for ensemble work, and it has paid off – ‘Synapsequence’ was superb.  Created by Gary Lambert in 2012 for the company, there are a number of very tricky double duets which require precision and accuracy as well as superior technique, so the dancers are really on edge.  Pleased to say they rose to the occasion.

My new work, ‘Fractal’, was aired for the first time on opening night, it actually opened the show being the first piece on the bill.  It relies heavily on musicality and the dancer’s technical ability to carry it through or it can look a bit wan.  The lighting that Mark Read and I created is very simple and grows and decays with the musical episodes, giving the audience a sense of regeneration and development interspersed with resting periods.
Pleased to say that the FFIN A Level students noticed this without prompting!

So première over and Megan and Catrin will be continuing their London sessions with Gary who is making a new duet for first viewing in May 2014
Effie and Mike working on some other projects and I am Wales based running the dance faktry and our youth volunteers project New Ground.  Four of our senior youth dancers with the dance faktry will be performing my work for the Earl of Wessex this coming Monday at the dedication service of Diamond Jubilee Square at St Michael’s Church Abertillery, a real honour for us all.
Next up is Easter Intensives and the Easter Dance Faktry Festival in April, then back on the road again.

Never a dull moment, hope you can catch us at a venue near you very soon …

Back in the studio

Winter Dance Faktry Festival Image Paul Trask

Winter Dance Faktry Festival
Image Paul Trask

We have had an amazingly busy time with our education and outreach unit over the winter months, reaching new children and young people and also new audiences, sometimes seeing contemporary dance for the first time – what a great thing of which to be part!
I’ve been really concentrating on getting some further funding to be able to sustain what appears to be a huge demand for our community work with the dance faktry with not enough financial resources to supply the activities.  Well that’s nothing new!  So keep on keeping on and we will be rewarded soon I know.  We have some wonderful new projects in the pipeline involving our young volunteers programme New Ground and also one of our A Level students would like to put together a programme of workshops for people in the community of Blaenau Gwent who have difficulty expressing their emotions, maybe through grief, anger or financial loss.

Fractal Image Paul Trask

Fractal
Image Paul Trask

Next week the company will return to the studio for rehearsals, to which I am looking forward immensely.  We will be opening our Still Standing Tour next month at Coleg Morgannwg in Cardiff performing Synapsequence by Gary Lambert, Stand Up Straight by company dancer Catrin Lewis and Fractal by myself.

After a quick charge of batteries, we are set for a wonderfully busy spring and summer and will be bringing you news, updates and blogs.  Please keep visiting us and join us at a venue near you.

All good wishes
sue lewis

 

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

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