Outreach at its most rewarding

2 of our youngest dancers at Desire To Dance Brynmawr

2 of our youngest dancers at Desire To Dance Brynmawr

The past month has been truly rewarding with our dance faktry projects running concurrently at Brynmawr and Tredegar. Our Desire To Dance Project successfully ran at Tredegar and London last season; together with generous funding from Tai Calon Community Housing, we ran a similar project in Brynmawr for the children of the community in that area. They worked for 4 intensive full days over 2 weekends with Effie, Catrin, Louis and Cariad and produced a lovely piece of work focussing on touch and skin.

At Tredegar Comprehensive School Catrin, Julian and Louis worked with a group of young Performing Arts students to create a piece of work that was choreographed to music written by GCSE Music students from the school. 2 intense evenings from 3.30pm – 8pm were spent making the work.  We facilitated this project with funding from a legacy given to Arts Development at Aneurin Leisure, kindly donated to give young people experience with music and theatre.

The 2 pieces were shown to friends and family at the Annual Dance Showcase organised by Aneurin Leisure Arts Development at The Met Theatre in Abertillery, our home theatre.

Desire To Dance Brynmawr

Desire To Dance Brynmawr

The experiences gained by the children and young people were many, but I think the most valuable things learnt were working together to produce a high quality product and digging dip and finding inner strength especially when exhausted!  Of many evaluations from the project participants who were all wowed by their achievements was a comment to Catrin – “you’ve changed my life” – a lump comes into my throat as I write.

Moving on then, we turn our thoughts to our next outreach project, the Summer Dance School. More about that very soon, please feel free to pass on this flyer to all young people who you think may benefit ..

summer school 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

sue lewis

The madness kicking in ..

The Move Image Paul Trask

The Move
Image Paul Trask

Once again the Ffin Dance Faktry Festival is fast approaching and we have all been working tirelessly preparing for not only the 2014 Easter Dance Faktry Festival but also the A-Level Dance qualification with the FFIN DANCE Outreach and Education programme.

This year the festival has seemed to sneak up on us and there is only a matter of days until the madness of festival week kicks in. Members of all the County Dance groups have been rehearsing for the show, especially both the Blaenau Gwent County Youth Dance Companies who will be performing their new work at the festival this year. At Move (senior county company) we have had a chance to prepare our new work “Perseid” at a number of events that FFIN DANCE has been invited to show their work at this season  This has been a great opportunity for the other youth dancers and myself to really show what youth dancers are capable of achieving.

This year’s show is destined to be the most successful yet and I am very excited to be able to perform once again in one of the local theatres in the county. This year’s faktry festival is especially exciting for me as the senior dancer of The Move as we will be working alongside FFIN DANCE company dancers Catrin and Megan at the Easter Dance Faktry Intensives which is a high-energy series of technical master classes. This once again, has been one of the busiest times of the calendar for The Move and for the Faktry. Let’s hope we survive the week !!

Louis Norman, Senior Dancer The Move

Cuppa anyone?

BellaIsabella has been going to the ffin dance faktry since September. It’s already provided me with a proud parent moment at the Winter Dance Faktry Festival and I’m preparing for another when I watch her at the Easter one!

At the moment, she goes once a week on a Monday – but for Isabella, it seems to start on a Tuesday morning asking me “Dancing tonight?” and then extending her arms and lifting one leg for a warm up. This goes on every day until Monday when she finally gets to see Sue, the volunteers and other children (and have her infamous “cuppa” before she starts) She absolutely loves going and she likes to show me everything that Sue teaches her!

I have to be honest, I absolutely love watching her twirl and leap and encourage all her fluttery (and not so fluttery!) movements. I am so glad that I have found this gem of a class in Abertillery for my daughter. It has been a joy to watch her confidence grow and make more friends. Long may her desire to dance continue and her tea consumption to increase!

Katy Price, Abertillery

The dance faktry in full flow

Royal Visit

Royal Visit

This week I’ve been speaking to lots of people and they all seem to think the same, that March has gone absolutely crazy, giving a little credence to the Mad March Hare Theory.  January and February always take time to get going after the lull of the Christmas holidays and the New Year sluggish return to work, with March beginning the season all over again.  But this year seems even more so.
Those of you who read my last blog will know that this week has been rather special in that we have had a Royal visit by HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex.  I was asked to create a site specific piece of work to celebrate the opening of the Diamond Jubilee Square at St Michel’s Church in Abertillery a while back now and decided it would be rather fitting to work with 4 of our ffin dance faktry senior dancers.  They are great youth ambassadors for our outreach programme, the Earl really enjoyed their performance (see image above)
The day after that we received a cheque for £2300 from Tai Calon Community Housing towards working with our youth volunteers, New Ground, working to provide dance classes for children in the community who find it difficult to existing dance classes due to financial constraints and travel issues.
On Saturday, I will be travelling down to Monmouth with our Chair of the Board, Sharon Smith, together with 3 of our youth ambassadors (Gemma, Emma and Louis) to a ‘dragons den’ style event organised by the Gwent Police.  They will be making a presentation together with 19 other community organisations to pitch for a share of the Gwent High Sheriff’s Community Fund: if successful the ffin dance faktry will be able to provide even more free dance activities for children and young people in Blaenau Gwent.
Then to round off a wonderful week of youth activity, I will be accompanying 2 of our youth dancers from our A Level Dance class to St Woolos Cathedral in Newport, where they will perform some of their own choreography at the 10th anniversary celebration of the Youth Eucharist Service (YES)

If you would like to help us in our attempt to create more opportunities for children and young people in Blaenau Gwent please follow this link for our current on line giving project


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 …