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

Language, images and reflections….

B0001467Firstly, apologies – I meant to write this blog after our first couple of sessions with Gary a week or so ago, but always got caught up in something else. Now, I’m finally realising my good intentions before returning to the studio with Gary this evening – hopefully it will give me some time and space to recap and reflect the thought process we have begun using.

I think one of the things that has most struck me about working with Gary this season is how he is using language and evoking imagery through what he is saying to compel us to explore movement rather than physicalising much himself. Essentially, he is trying not to show us too much so we don’t get bogged down in searching for an aesthetic or codified movement language which appeals to him.

Instead we are currently playing with a lot of constituent parts, thoughts and images to get a grasp on what will work going forwards. So what are some of these things?

First off, we have the solo material which we learnt from video during our time in Abertillery – a linear form which takes us from A to B. This acts as an existing world and reference point that we can improvise from and return to. The phrase gives us a commonality of language – otherwise it is like having 3 dancers in the space speaking French, German and Italian – all valid languages but no-one fully understands each other.

There is also a freedom to stop moving – knowing when an idea has been exhausted and not just continuing to drift for the sake of it. On our second rehearsal day, we taped a performance space on the floor – allowing the possibility to step out of that realm completely. Allowing time to consider and watch from a standpoint completely outside the world that the movement inhabits.

Layering on top of this are lots of images and ideas that Gary feeds in each time we undertake the practice. Here are a few examples:

Having a conversation. The ability to shift the attention between people. Being able to talk to a group but only have eye-contact with one person at a time.

Jumbled thoughts. So much to do – racing through your mind. Inability to hone in on one thing for very long before transferring to the next.

Sediment. Start Simple. Layer by layer – build it up, don’t try to start with a whole strata.

Minority Report. The possibility to deviate from a pre-ordained pathway.

The more images and ideas we have, the greater the temptation to want to try and do everything at once which simply isn’t possible! I wonder what new information will come tonight and how I will cope with processing it…

Effie 🙂

Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…

Fascination Image Paul Trask Chor Sue Lewis

Fascination
Image Paul Trask
Chor Sue Lewis

It’s always the way with studio time – it seems that you can blink and suddenly you’re nearly at the end of 2 weeks together. Having said that, I feel like these 2 weeks have really allowed us some time and space to progress both Fascination and d-cay, and given us a good dollop of preparation time for beginning work with Gary next week. (Plus a handy helping of pancakes thrown in for good measure!)

With Fascination, we spent last week working through section by section – refining detail and quality and looking at all of those pesky entrances, exits and transitions between sections. This has helped in establishing a sense of cohesion throughout the piece which we pulled together for a run through this afternoon.

This week also saw us getting a first viewing of the film that has been made in conjunction with Catrin’s piece, d-cay. It’s a very striking watch which will lead into the live movement section of the piece. Having seen the film has also influenced the proximity with which we perform a particular unison section – there’s no room for error or else there’ll be a whole lot of stepping on toes going on!

For Gary, we have begun using the duet Sentient Trace which was created for Meg and Catrin last season as starting point. We are now looking at each person’s role in the duet as solo material – it has certainly been a lot of material to take on board and commit to memory. We have tried several different methods of learning the material – initially from video, then from each other with talking and then just with physical demonstrations without vocal explanations. It has been lovely to devote time to this (although frustrating at times when watching the same moment on video over and over until you can approximate a physical realisation) and I’m excited to see how things start to proceed when we come together with Gary next week.

Here’s to making the most of our last couple of studio days in Wales this week and appreciating our time together while we have it.

Effie 🙂

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

Recapping and revisiting…

FFIN DANCE Still Standing Tour 2014 Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Still Standing Tour 2014
Image Paul Trask

Rehearsals this February have a different feel than usual – rather than using this period to create another piece we are refreshing our memories on Fractal and Stand Up Straight as well as picking up Synapsequence (from Connections 2012) ready to première in March.

It has been really interesting to return to Synapsequence by Gary Lambert as the movement material was generated by ourselves (albeit 2 year younger models!) and so re-inhabiting it feels relatively natural.
Often a comment we get from audience members is that they can’t understand how we retain and remember all of the movement. I was surprised this week by how efficiently we could pick up a whole piece which we had last performed 18th months ago. For me I don’t feel that the memory of Synapsequence was particularly embedded in my brain but as soon as I started revisiting the material it felt as though my muscle memory came into play re-finding these previously visited places.

I found this none more so than with a duet section which I had originally created with Lucille and due to a cast change in the season hadn’t performed since March 2012. As such, I asked Meg to re-teach me my part but soon found that I could remember details and sequentially what happened next with little input needed – fitting back into the movement just made sense in my body, allowing it to happen instead of over-thinking it.

In one section of Synapsequence, we switch from one person to the next for short duets which are specific to each partnership and occur concurrently. When we had re-established the details and connections in each partnership to the extent that we felt comfortable with it, Sue asked us to run through this section with our eyes closed. While this request was greeted with an air of preposterousness initially, we were actually able to manage it for the most part and it gave us a really good sense of knowing our spatial relationship without over-relying on visual feedback. Don’t worry though, we’ll definitely go back to having our eyes open for performances!

So now it’s time for a weekend off (and a bit of time for planning morning class) before returning to Abertillery for week two of rehearsals. Here’s hoping there’ll be no more weather related stand stills on the Heads of the Valleys next week!

Effie 🙂

Busy times

_PRT0240I am currently preparing for the winter
dance faktry festival with the Blaenau Gwent county youth dance company The Move, Combination
Dance and I’m also creating a solo as part of my A level Dance course with FFIN DANCE.

It is a very busy time for me and my fellow dancers because we are all working hard and doing lots of rehearsals to ensure our pieces are ready and polished for the show.
It is very tiring preparing for a show but it is also very enjoyable and rewarding. It is especially rewarding to see the pieces progress as the show gets closer.
With The Move I am performing a piece called Distort which we have performed before: we have worked on developing the piece and getting back to the original intention of the piece ready for the faktry festival performance. In Combination Dance, we are working on a new piece so it will be exciting to perform it for one of the first times. Finally I have been creating a solo piece which is to help
with my A Level Dance studies with Ffin Dance. Making my first solo piece has been very challenging but I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of making my own choreography although it’s been particularly hard at times. There’s a lot involved – much more involved in making your own piece than I ever thought!
There’s the lights,costume,title all things I’ve never considered when dancing before. It’s very rewarding to see it all starting to come together now and I am looking forward to performing my solo.

I’m really looking forward to the show next week and so are my
fellow dancers.

Gemma Two hearts