It’s been almost 3 years since we took over the management of The Beaufort Theatre, and I’m delighted to to tell you that we’re going from strength to strength.
I’d like to introduce you to our latest partner Lybec Arts Performing Academy who has become artist in residence with us. We are delighted to welcome the Academy to The Beaufort. Lybec Arts is a qualifications academy offering weekly skills development in a range of performance pathways, all groups are fully subscribed at the moment with new students able to apply in the summer term.
Image Paul Trask
Our dance faktry classes are an absolute joy! The recent winter dance faktry festival provided an opportunity for our children and young people to showcase the work that they had created throughout the term. The young dancers also got the opportunity to watch each other which is always a most valued and valuable experience. The High Sheriff of Gwent came along to the event and was thrilled to see such energy and commitment.
It’s been a few years since we toured our professional work as our priority has been establishing a stronghold in our own community, however now we are firmly bedded in, we will be touring to Holyhead in North Wales next month. Canolfan Ucheldre has always been one of our favourite places to show our work and we get a great welcome on the island. We will also be working with community groups including the Barton Dance & Drama Academy with whom we have had a strong working relationship for many years now. We will be making a curtain raiser performance for the students to perform with us. We are hoping to make new friends too with other community groups of all ages.
On a personal level, I’m happy to say that I can now see properly after having cataract surgery. One of my greatest joys is that I can now see the faces of the children whom I teach and see the expressions on their faces in dance class. I am most grateful to the fantastic team at Emersons Green Treatment Centre in Bristol for this miracle.
Now that I am able to see to complete more extended writing, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. Thank you for sharing my FFIN experiences with me, see you in Holyhead …
Day 5 has been an absolute delight. We have spent time today in the studio piecing together the duets in Act 2 working on the all-important transitions that add coherence and meaning (sometimes esoteric) to the overall structure of the work. We have spent time filming Acts 1 and 2 in readiness for when we come back to the continuation of it and the completion of Act 3 and ultimately finish the piece ready for production.
What a luxury it is to have R&D time to explore ideas and let the muse guide you in your thoughts and processes – oh to have this more regularly!
Wishing you all a happy weekend, and see you on Monday for more ramblings on Crib.
Hello again. Today was all about focussing on the remaining duets that I have set which explore the various relationships that the main characters of the play undertake with the victim – Eva/Daisy.
Goole of course points out that each one of the characters has in turn (collectively) contributed to Eva’s suicide. I also needed to set Act 1 soliloquies to the divine Elgar Enigma Variation 10, Nimrod. Take a look at the full score here – Nimrod-from-Enigma-Variations-Full-Score.
The dancers and I looked at simplicity in content for each of the duets, which we felt would be a good ground from which to start weaving together the phrasing of Act 2. I think that Priestley’s point is that we don’t address our guilt until it’s pointed out to us that even our very small negative actions when multiplied by everyone else’s small actions can congregate into a catastrophic effect that only has that effect because it’s multiplied. A bit like the old advert on TV “my one little wrapper won’t do any harm!”
Tomorrow sees the introduction of the sublime The Lark Ascending by Vaughann-Williams
Please join us tomorrow for more Inspector shenanigans…
Day 2 in the studio didn’t disappoint, more super work explored. The images above are from Julian’s notebook, jottings of the things that have come to mind with the task in hand.
Today the dancers recapped on the tasks from yesterday, working on soliloquies.
We later started on the new tasks for Act 2 which involved looking at the relationships that Eva/Daisy had with each of the guilty parties. As we are three dancers (1 male, 2 female) we thought to move away from gender-stereotypicality in some of the duets – we got through 3 out of the 7 possibilities.
Take a little peep here of our dancers working through the task. Don’t forget that you can interact with us by using the speech bubbles on this page.
My new work is based on the underlying themes of JB Priestley’s amazingly progressive but classic play An Inspector Calls.
Catrin, Julian and Georgina began their R&D time in the studio with me today discussing the characters, the historical context, the social background and of course the parity with contemporary society that emanates from the play. As a result, soliloquies were made with each dancer transposing these ideas into moment terms – what a talented bunch!
I’m hoping that each day I can share with you our studio time and would welcome your interaction with us – please use the speech bubbles on this page to tell us your thoughts.
Still very early days, but Day 1 was exceptional, please stay with us.
So here we are at last! I started making my new work in the studio back in the autumn of 2017 and Crib will see its première this coming Friday at The Beaufort Theatre.
The title needs a little explanation I think.
I started choreographing professionally when I was teaching Dance at Ebbw Vale Senior Comprehensive School and spent many, many happy years working with students, creating work for our annual dance shows. Together with my own passion for Prince music and that of the students, each show became peppered with tracks like Purple Rain, Sometimes It Snows In April, Nothing Compares To You, Little Red Corvette, Raspberry Beret, 1999 and many more.
Over 21 years we got through a fair amount as you can guess.
It’s most fitting that I return to The Beaufort Theatre as this place holds a very special place in my heart. It was the first place I performed, the first place I presented amateur choreography, the first place I presented professional choreography and now the company I founded FFIN DANCE has its home there since we took on the asset from Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council back in April 2017. So coming home to Ebbw Vale is a full circle, with which I’m very happy; it makes me feel like I’m returning to the beginning once more – hence the title
Crib is a tribute to Prince music and also to my past.
I hope that you can come and join me this Friday together with all of our community groups from the ffin dance faktry, together with guest dancers from Tredegar – Kidz R Us. Tickets are available from the café at The Beaufort or via text 07854 910926
With just over a week to go before the company heads north, there’s a lot of lists to write, packing to be done, rehearsals and all sorts of things to think about.
We have been busy writing press releases and organising our marketing for one of the most competitive and exciting fringe festivals in the world. My piece Virago will be programmed by Zoo Venues (The Sanctuary Venue 124 ) from August 13th – 19th at 7.45pm. Tickets here
We have previewed the piece in London and at our base back here in Wales in various forms and guises, the latter being an interactive performance where the audience was invited to be the jury and decide upon Minnie McGuire’s fate: the jury declared her “not guilty”. The audience joined in with a final reel celebrating Minnie’s innocence.
Some of the audience feedback:
” there but for the grace of God go I!”
“I have no doubt that Virago will go down a storm at The Fringe. The story is compelling and the interpretation is excellent”
“Brilliant interpretation in dance, well-executed, enjoyed every minute of it. Good luck in Edinburgh!”
Keep posted for more of our travel news, get the iFringe app on your phone and book into our show, and share our posts. Many thanks for your support!
Just touching base after what was a very busy and enjoyable week here at FFIN DANCE. The main goal of our most recent week in the studio was to finish the creation period of Sue’s new work Virago. Not only was this achieved but we also had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the brilliant Paul Trask, our photographer as well as some exciting conversations about the next steps for the company.
The creation of Virago has been a very special and personal process that I believe has brought the company firmly together ahead of our next performances. The story of Minnie McGuire along with the social issues it relates to have really pulled on our heart strings as well as conjured up many different images and thoughts that have inspired our creative work in the studio. The movement feels very honest and physically challenging to dance and that combined with the way Sue has stitched the work together makes for something that I’m sure will be very exciting to watch. Beyond the movement is a variety of different music as well as voiceovers and there will be plenty more to please the eye including our striking set and lighting designs. I think I speak for all the dancers when I say we can’t wait to share it with our existing audiences as well as with new ones!
For the first part of the week we were joined by Rochelle who is on work placement from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Rochelle joined us for company class as well as observing our (sometimes chaotic) rehearsal process! With all the current company dancers having spent some of their training at Trinity Laban, it was lovely to welcome Rochelle and we hope she enjoyed her time getting a taste of how a small professional dance company works.
The week was also underpinned by the looming result of our bid to become the new leaseholders of Beaufort Theatre & Ballroom, an exciting prospect that could bring in so many more opportunities for the company and the surrounding community.
Watch this space for more information about all that is FFIN DANCE!
We have just spent the past week finishing off our new workVirago. A productive and action-packed week including our new season photo shoot with Paul Trask, a work-placement by a lovely dance student from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, an exciting glimpse at our new logo and marketing strap lines designed by company dancer Julian and of course the underlying tension of just under a week to go before we hear about our bid for Beaufort Theatre.
I’m thrilled with Virago, it’s a tale of social injustice: although inspired by Minnie McGuire the most arrested woman in Victorian Wales, its social issues are as relevant today as back then.
Threaded through the work are references to the Irish Holocaust, extreme poverty in Ireland and Wales, alcohol abuse, immigration and prostitution.
We are most fortunate to be working alongside author John F Wake whose book The Cruel Streets Revisited has inspired Virago, and who has written the lyrics for the cover song for our work.
The song is composed and performed by Lorraine King especially for us, we hope you love it as much as we do.
So, on to another week, hoping to hear that we have become the new lease holders of The Beaufort Theatre and Ballroom. More news soon.
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.