And Moving On

FFIN DANCE Laban

FFIN DANCE
Laban

And so after an incredible opening to our tour at Laban Theatre, London this week, we turn our thoughts to performances next week at Coleg Morgannwg in Nantgarw and Canolfan Ucheldre in Holyhead.  The 2 extreme ends of Wales – one in Cardiff and the other on the lovely island of Anglesey.

Coleg Morgannwg is a new venture for us.  The college has recently opened a brand new building on its campus which houses among other things, a new theatre.

We are proud to say that we are the first professional dance company to be programmed there!  We are hoping to build up an audience for watching dance at this venue.

Canolfan Ucheldre is a venue that we have visited for the past 6 years.  We have performed at this beautiful former convent on the island each year in March around Easter time.  Mike Gould, the manager at the centre, looks after us very well and the audience keeps coming back for more of our work year after year.  While we are on the island, we work with the students of the Barton Academy of Dance and Drama, for whom we make a piece of choreography that is performed as a curtain raiser for our performance.  We also work with the performing arts students at Holyhead High School.  This year we will be expanding the educational work that we do by working with children at the Jesse Hughes Youth Club.

I’ve been trying to catch up in the office since returning from London and wading my way through the ever increasing list of things to do.  Finally getting there I think.

Yesterday evening I met with Jaime Devine one of the Directors of Tudor Brewery in Abertillery, Wales.  Tudor Brewery is a family-run artisan business that follows the pattern of a cottage industry.  Watch this space for future links between FFIN DANCE and this amazing company.

And so, for the next few days, I am busy organising the coming week, hope you can join us in South or North Wales for the next part of the Inspired Tour 2013

sue lewis

Inspired leaving the nest

Missing Pages Image Paul Trask

Missing Pages
Image Paul Trask

And so here we are, it’s the opening of our tour Inspired 2013,  we open at Laban Theatre London this evening. How exciting.

Yesterday we spent the day in Studio 7 at Trinity Laban rehearsing all 3 pieces – Missing Pages, Degrees of Freedom and Axiom Tangent, putting the FFIN machine into action.  Whilst the dancers were in the studio, there was a whole lot of technical stuff going on in the theatre. The Laban Theatre technical crew under the direction of Fay Patterson, were rigging and focussing lights together with Mark Read our production manager, and setting the stage ready for today’s technical and dress rehearsals.

Photographer Paul Trask has spent the last 2 days observing the pieces and getting a good grip on some tasty shots that he will be taking for promotional material for the company.  He is an amazing artist, he will watch and wait and always seems to capture the essence of our work in his images.  We’re all looking forward to seeing the results, which of course we will share with you.

During the day, I met up with Ronen Kozokaro (composer of Synapsequence) and Oli Newman (composer of Axiom Tangent) which was great.  Made some new friends which is always good and met up with some familiar ones too – how come work is such good fun?

And so today has come – opening night later tonight – and time for Gary and I to hand over our work to the dancers and the production team.  Do we trust them?  Of course we do, our creations are now flying the nest and we are very much looking forward to sharing them with you all.

Many thanks to you for following us through our blogs, tweets and FB posts, stay with us now throughout our tour and let us know what you think of the show

sue lewis

Countdown To Opening Night

FFIN DANCE Five Dances

FFIN DANCE
Photo Simon Scott

As our studio time ticks away, I’m mindful of the practicalities of the approaching spring season, which starts for us at Laban Theatre on March 5th

In addition to preparing our 3 pieces in the studio, I’m aware that we need to be looking forwards too and so we are already planning our diaries for touring 2014 and beyond.

I’m very proud of the fact that so many people are very complimentary about the company and want to work with us!

 

 

The last 2 weeks in the studio have been most special: our team of dancers has been spectacular and soaking up the knowledge and experience that Gary Lambert has offered up so generously.  Their work ethos and capacity to work beyond the page is heartening.  As a self-confessed work-aholic I can be quite critical and intolerant of working with a team that is not pulling together, this period of studio time has been super productive and we are all feeling very fired up for our forthcoming tour.

As I write this blog, Gary is working with company dancer Megan on a solo he has created for her.  Pearls of wisdom are flying about and it’s a real treat to watch Gary at work.  His passion and thirst for excellence is infectious.

As in 2012, we open our spring season at Laban Theatre, in less than 2 weeks and we are busy promoting and marketing.  Lots of very nice comments from fans about our posters and postcards.  Do join our tweets #inspiredtour2013

At FFIN DANCE we are all excited about this coming season, and have a firm belief that this is going to be a great year for us!

I am really looking forward to sharing our 3 new works with you all, and sharing some of your comments.

sue lewis

image: Laura Mumby Photography

Masters At Work

Laura Mumby Photography

Laura Mumby Photography

I’ve been fortunate to be able to spend the whole day in the studio today without having to rush off to a meeting, or similar.

The day started with Ben teaching class: it’s been really interesting to watch the development in the dancers’ technique this week.  Such a great treat for them to not only be taught by such an expert in various techniques, but also a teacher who plays for his class.  In this way the musical phrasing for the exercises is played by the person who has set the exercise patterning, this is rare!!  I hope the dancers know how lucky they are (in fact I know they do appreciate it)

 

Our guests for company class, Dan and Jess, are developing too in their confidence around the sequences and looking much more assured.

As I write, Gary is teaching a wondrous meaty phrase full of shifts and changes of facings and energy.  Dancers looking great.  Gary makes it all look so easy, so effortless and this is very inspiring for the dancers, having such a great performer who has personal informed knowledge of his material is a great learning tool.

Ben is creating music on his laptop and already coming up with ideas for our time together in September (fingers crossed that we get the funding).

So indeed masters at work, and we can’t wait to share it all with you, hope you can get along to one of our performances

sue lewis

.. and 5 days

photo shoot  Missing Pages

photo shoot
Missing Pages

I’m sure that many of you reading this blog will have experienced the turmoil of your life before opening night on your tour.  Emotions can go from extreme exhilaration to the depths of despair in a matter of minutes, seconds even.

I have had a lot of requests from our supporters for an insight into the time before a big event in our calendar, hence the blogs which will be bombarding your screens over the next few weeks.  This week sees the posters and marketing literature being printed, I can’t wait for you all to see them, Paul Trask’s images look very beautiful and we feel that they really capture the show.

 

Press release for opening night at Laban Theatre on March 5th written and waiting to go out, and several applications for funding future projects waiting to be finished off.

My piece Missing Pages, will need re-visiting.  A complex piece in terms of structure (as always!) will need to be fresh in my mind before rehearsals next week.  We heard this week that the author of Missing Pages, John F Wake, will be coming to the show on opening night!
Follow our tweets #inspiredtour2013

Looking forward very much to sharing our journey with you all, thanks for your support as always

sue lewis

7 days and counting

FFIN DANCE
Laura Mumby Photography

Just one week to go and terribly excited!
Getting back into the studio after a little time away is such a pleasure, having spent the last  2 months planning our spring tour and facilitating the Winter Dance Faktry Festival, it’s great to get back in the studio with the dancers, joined by our Associate Choreographer Gary Lambert and guest teacher Ben Craft*

Having created my new work for the company Missing Pages, before Christmas, we now turn our attentions to Gary’s 2 pieces which form the triple bill for Inspired – Degrees of Freedom and Axiom Tangent.

We’ll be blogging constantly during our weeks in the studio, with inside information about the pieces and also the process.
We have guests in company class with us too, and an under graduate dance student Dan with us on work placement.  Full house.

Hope you can join us and follow our progress

*Ben Craft is a freelance dance artist based now in The Netherlands, trained at The Royal Ballet School.  Ben created and performed solo dance roles with Rambert Dance, Béjart Ballet, Michael Clark and Small Axe and has taught and choreographed widely in the UK and Europe.

For more details on how to apply for our Easter Intensive 2013 and company class please e mail Megan at megffin@gmail.com

sue lewis

Brand New Start

After a marvellous Christmas time spent with family and friends, I’ve been back in the office, putting finishing touches on some things and starting the wheels in motion for more longer term elements.  I loved the first day back: it was like picking up the threads and off to go again, but refreshed with new energy and vigour.  One of the many things about being freelance is that you don’t dread going to work, because you are creating your own opportunities and seeing them realise.

I am busy making preparations for the Easter Intensives and Easter Dance Faktry Festival and also getting the finishing touches on our marketing material for Inspired 2013, which is really exciting.  Chatting to international contacts is also pretty thrilling, with a view to taking Inspired overseas.

A new venture started for us in December 2012, where we started seeling our own merchanidise: our hand knitted gloves went down a storm!  We are expecting a batch of FFIN DANCE cotton tote bags soon, I’ll keep you posted!

Many thanks for your support and interest in our work during 2012, here’s to a great new season ahead.

sue lewis

 

Box Office Links INSPIRED Spring Tour 2103


Missing Pages
Photo Paul Trask

Please find below our spring/summer touring dates for INSPIRED

Tuesday March 5th 2013  7.30pm – Laban Theatre Creekside, London

Tuesday March 12th  7.30pm - Coleg Morgannwg Nantgarw, Cardiff Wales Box Office: 01443 663013

Saturday March 16th 2013  7.30pm - Canolfan Uchledre, Holyhead, Wales

Thursday May 16th 2013  7.30pm – The Met Abertillery, Wales

Thursday June 6th 2013  7.30pm – Chapter Arts, Cardiff

August 12th – 16th 2013 - Burg Namedy Germany

 

 

 

Time To Reflect

 

Usually in August, I can get a little time to reflect and think in terms of both where the company has been in the past year and where it is going to in the future year.  However August 2012 saw the company really take off in new directions following invitations to perform at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh and Tanz@Namedy in Germany.  As a result we were straight back into the studio to make my new work Missing Pages in September, and we haven’t stopped since!

I now have a little bit of breathing space to reflect before January.

I love the period of Advent before Christmas, but am ever mindful of the fact that Christmas time for some people is very painful having lost loved ones: I think particularly of the family of Keith Dykes, our Chairman of the Board, who passed away very suddenly this week.

The warmth of people at this time of year is a real incentive to assess the work that FFIN DANCE undertakes in the community and new projects are planned and waiting to go, funding permitting.  Next week we celebrate at the awards evening for SCARF Dance and Abertillery Youth Dance Company where our community dancers will be presented with certificates for endeavour, attendance and commitment.  I look forward to watching the youth dancers and children perform for their families and friends in an informal sharing, ending in a cuppa and cakes.  The community can be very proud of them.

A few weeks back, I looked back at a 5 year business plan that I wrote in 2007 and was amazed at what the company has achieved in that time.  Although I had the utmost faith that we would do what we set out to do, I never thought that we would surpass that by so much.

So a full circle has evolved: five years has passed since the Arts Council turned our grant application down and we have done it on our own! But never a person to burn my bridges, I am off for a meeting at the Arts Council of Wales tomorrow to see how things have changed in the funding strategy and to boast about the company tucked away in a small Welsh valleys town, who now have a world-wide following, over 517,666 hits on our website in 12 months and an audience that many larger companies would be very happy to have.  Wish me luck …

sue lewis

Degrees of Freedom

Choreography: Gary Lambert
Sound score: Otis Lift
Original lighting: Ross Cameron

Degrees of Freedom was first commissioned for Edinburgh Dance Base in 2004 for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will form part of the new triple bill for FFIN DANCE  – Inspired

The work was initially a response to limitations impacted on the body after a long career in dance; it explored the changing identity of the body and its relationship to the physical. The work was initially set through a series of improvisations that followed the physical theme of limitation due to physical degeneration.For the original performer/choreographer, it was the recognition of an end of a known type of physicality and a wrapping up of a performance career that had span over twenty years. (There are no meanings, just a habitual need to move)

It’s an intimate solo work exploring the changing identity of the body and its relationship to the physical and I will be working with company dancer Megan Griffiths to make a new work on her using the original piece as a starting point.

 “A day in Lambert’s universe leaves the audience alert and amazed. His expressive strength resides in articulating with efficiency an aesthetic that captures the attention of the audience and at the same time demanding from it to focus on the detail of each movement” DANZAHOY

“Gary Lambert – a personal aesthetic” Susana B. Williams

I am very much looking forward to seeing what new qualities will be brought about as we work in the studio, and look forward to sharing that with Megan and of course you the audience.

Gary Lambert