At the start of the calendar year, our attention turns to planning ahead and realising plans and projects that were made last year.
2017 is going to be a year of big changes for FFIN DANCE if all of our plans come to fruition, mainly our bid for Beaufort Theatre and Ballroom. We are hoping to take the venue as a community asset transfer from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council: if we are successful we will be bringing a whole new range of services to the community and offering training and volunteering opportunities for the public in catering, arts business and admin, customer care, and more. So we will see a bigger and busier dance faktry, supplying much-needed services to our community and creating new jobs too. If you would like more information on how to join us, please get in touch.
The company dancers will be back in the studio in February after a break, and we’ll be finishing off our new full length work, Virago
To kick off the Virago season, we will be attending the launch of John F Wakes’s book The Cruel Streets Revisited next Tuesday 17th January at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff. The main character of our work Virago is centred around Minnie McGuire who was the most-arrested person in Victorian Wales; she has her own chapter in John’s book! John and I will be working in collaboration for this project and the book launch sees the start of that journey for 2017
The company will be touring this work from May 2017 and we very much hope you can join us.
I’d like to wish you all a most happy and healthy year ahead, please keep following our progress and sending in your comments and views.
The company is delighted to let you know that we are in the final stages of a business plan to Blaenau Gwent CBC to take over the stewardship of The Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale as a community asset transfer from the Council.
As the company is moving forward, we feel that we would like to provide even more opportunities in Blaenau Gwent for our unique services as the only professional dance company in residence in the Valleys
We plan to work in partnership with Aneurin Leisure Trust and other partner organisations in delivering high quality arts services to the community through shared performance events, weekly classes and holiday clubs; working with the existing users of the venue and inviting new users to use the building as a community hub for arts.
We will be creating new jobs together with training opportunities for volunteers in order to assist people from the community to gain experience for employment in marketing, admin, catering and customer care.
We plan to utilise the existing bar area as a café and bar, which will be open during the daytime for the community, using locally sourced produce as much as possible and promoting nutritional eating.
We will be working with guidance and the full support of Coalfields Regeneration Trust and will be seeking business/corporate sponsorship and grant funding for exterior signage and improvement.
Our Artistic Director Sue Lewis says “our whole plan for the venue involves providing even more platforms for people to enjoy arts in the community and will by no means just be a place to house FFIN DANCE We welcome collaborations, partnerships and micro businesses using the space to achieve their aims too and wish to see the venue open each day and evening. Our wish is for sustainability and to enhance local services that may be lost due to budget restraints and service cuts.
My passion for the community to enjoy arts in this iconic building is at the fore-front of this plan”
We would welcome your support and comments, please feel free to comment in the comments space on this page or e mail us at email@example.com
It seems fitting somehow to say “cheerio” to our senior dancer Effie, after such a successful run of events to celebrate our 10th anniversary season. Our season will continue into the spring of 2017 with new dancer Sarah joining Catrin, Natasha and Julian, whilst Effie is moving on to pastures new.
Effie has been with the company for 5 years, having met us at our Winter Intensives. We were so impressed with her that we offered her a place to learn some of Gary Lambert’s work for the company, to replace Lucille Tappa in Synapsequence.
Effie has created and danced many lovely roles for the company over the years, but I think it was Missing Pages, that really brought out her lyricism and technique more than any other.
Effie has been a wonderful workshop leader and teacher too, with her quirky ways of motivating children and young people; especially noteworthy is her “bananas of the world unite” and her numerical jogging pattern warm ups. We will miss her zany music in professional class, Dr Who will never be the same again!
The image by Paul Trask that is featured above, carries a story, I’m sure that Effie won’t mind me sharing it. The company was in Llanhilleth Wales, shooting some images for our tour Inspired: Paul wanted to shoot somewhere local and out of the studio. This obviously caused a bit of a stir in the village and gathered quite a lot of spectators who were generally supportive and also inquisitive. After a little while, word got around and we were hailed with some children shouting “come over here boys, there’s a stripper down by the railway station” The photo above and some others too, were the culprits of this mistaken identity. We laughed about that one for quite a time, as you can imagine.
So finally it’s time to say a very fond farewell. We wish Effie well in her future pursuits and will miss her tremendously as a wonderful dancer and warm, faithful friend. Please keep in touch.
We’d like to let you know some exciting news!
From July of this year, Sarah Lee will be joining the company, until then she will be on our team helping to deliver workshops and summer dance clubs. We are delighted that she is joining us, and we’ll be giving you more information within the next few days, so you can get to know her better.
Sarah Lee (seen in the image above, dancer on the left) is a beautiful dancer, who also happens to run her own Beauty Salon in Cardiff, having returned to Wales upon graduating from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music And Dance.
Watch this space for more details soon…
Today marks the start of the marketing of our new show The Power Of 3. To celebrate with us, we thought that we would let you in on a preview of the animated film that will be part of Catrin’s new piece d-cay. You can read a little more about d-cay by following this link.
We open the show at our home theatre, The Met in Abertillery, South Wales UK on Friday May 8th at 7.30pm, you can get tickets from the box office by calling 01495 355800 or follow this online link
We would love to hear what you think, please use the speech bubble above with your comments.
This season we say goodbye to 2 of our dancers who have been with us for 4 years. Mike will be moving on to concentrate on his role as a choreographer and personal trainer, we wish him well in his new ventures and very much hope that we see him on a regular basis. Assistant to the company director, Megan Griffiths, will also be leaving us after 4 years. Megan will be moving on to diversify her performing skills and will also be sorely missed by the company. She will be fondly remembered by us all.
We welcome Natasha Wade to the company as from September: she has been a friend of the company for the past year, attending our Professional Performance Development course and also spending time taking class with us. Her biog will appear soon on our company page. She is a beautiful dancer and will bring a new sparkle to our team.
Have you seen our new campaign?
We aim to raise £400 to provide free holiday dance clubs for children and young people in Abertillery. Please donate if you can, no donation is too small – there is also a free offer available to donors!
Our last UK tour date for our current triple bill of dance ~ Inspired will be Thursday 6th June at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.
The show starts at 7.30pm, tickets priced £10, £8. Please follow this link for booking
Phew, what a rollercoaster of a week getting our first performances of the Inspired tour under our belts. Last week saw us swap roles with Gary on the travelling front as we ventured from our base in Abertillery down to Laban Theatre, London for opening night.
We had the luxury of 2 days to prepare, with a studio assigned to us at first while technical preparations got underway in the Bonnie Bird Theatre. The stage space at Laban is amazing to dance in – there is so much room which means movement material can really be stretched to its full potential in order to eat up the space.
For Missing Pages here, we used a gauze for the first section so there was a dream-like, distant impression for the audience and equally for us there was this sensation of separation from the audience – certainly tying in with some of our ideas from the creation period of sitting in a train carriage with the world passing by outside the window and being lost in your own world. Sometimes when you first create and perform a piece it can feel like a memory test going through the motions to get from start to finish, however, Missing Pages has developed far beyond this stage already for me and I was able to garner a real sense of enjoyment and find a new sense of sincerity in bringing it up to performance level.
In terms of Axiom Tangent, the lighting is really integral to marry up with the movement material in order to create a cohesive whole and this certainly took some getting used to at Laban. Also when you are in the space trying to work the lights, there is a very different sensation as a performer to what comes across to the audience – it has been really useful to see video clips as to the effect being created from the front. (If you haven’t already checked them out, there are few snippets of Axiom online so go, go, go!) What is really striking though is that despite working mainly with Mike in both pieces there is an incredible difference and so going into Axiom our partnership feels very fresh even after performing Missing Pages together.
Tuesday saw our first Welsh performance date at Coleg Morgannwg and with one day to get in and perform it is so important for us to arrive with our Ffin heads firmly in place! Mark Read, our production manager, had a lot of work to do in converting the space ready for us to perform and we needed to recalibrate in order to figure out adaptations in spacing – so it was all systems go from the offset. Certainly this was a much more intimate space to perform in and the proximity of the audience was obvious. One of the most interesting challenges was having to negotiate the fluorescent lighting strips which hung down in the space for Axiom, spatial awareness was definitely a must to weave in and out of them even at my measly height! Adding a bit of drama to the evening, the fire alarms were set off by the haze (thankfully during the interval) so the building had to be evacuated while a fire engine and crew arrived.
Next off we’re venturing up to Holyhead today, leading workshops to create a curtain-raiser for our performance at Ucheldre. Oh and I’m definitely going to remember to pack my hairspray this time!!