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

True

Weibertreue

Weibertreue

With just over a week to go, I’d like to share the thinking behind my new work for the company – True
It’s a quartet for the whole  company very loosely based on the German folk tale of Weibertreue. At Weinsberg, in Württemberg, on the summit of a hill, remain the ruins of a castle; which is also known by the name of “Weibertreue,” or “Woman’s Faith.” During the Guelph and Ghibelline wars the castle was besieged in 1140  by the Emperor Conrad III., who, in his exasperation at the protracted resistance made by the garrison, vowed to put all the men to the sword, but promised to spare the lives of the women, with the engagement, moreover, that each should be permitted to carry out along with her, her most choice treasure.  “The good women were beside themselves with sorrow that their husbands and children were to be burned alive. Therefore they took counsel with one another and decided that each woman would take her husband and children onto her back and carry them outside the city.  They did just that; each woman took her husband onto her back and her children under her arms and carried them outside the city.

Now the chronicle tells us that when the conquering lord saw this, tears came to his eyes, and he spared the lives of everyone and set the city free as well” *

It’s lovely tale of virtue and cunning.  I’ll be setting this to some exquisite Medieval dance music, which will structure the dance into episodes.  As those who know my work well, the music is the driving force behind my choreography rather than narrative, and I’m very much looking forward to getting into the studio with our 4 dancers who are all exceptional at picking up on musical form and dynamic.  However structure and form aside, there will also be humour and wit involved, making this piece come alive from the pages of history and folklore.

I hope you join us on our True journey
sue lewis

*Source: Martin Montanus, “Ein statt würt gewunnen, daraus die weyber ihre mann und kinder tragen,” Schwankbücher (1557-1566), edited by Johannes Bolte (Tübingen: Gedruckt für den literarischen Verein in Stuttgart, 1899), 80, pp. 341-42.

 

Desire to dance

Desire To Dance posterSince coming home from my holiday in Andalucia, my feet haven’t really touched the ground – I knew that would happen!
A week of really positive partnership meetings, followed by the first week of classes for our children and young people in the dance faktry now giving way to firming up of plans that have been on the back burner over the summer months.

October sees us rolling out two projects that involve the company working with young dancers in schools. The Desire To Dance projects will take place in Marylebone, London and Tredegar, Wales.  Our company dancers will be choreographing work for the young people which will be shown alongside our own triple bill – The Power Of 3

We have struck up partnerships with Highgate School in London and Tredegar Comprehensive School in South Wales  and we’re very much looking forward to working with the young people and sharing both their performances with a public audience. Both performances will be in unconventional spaces and presented ‘in the round’ which will encourage the audience to see the work up close.  A difficult task for our production manager Mark, to transform the Carriage House at Bedwellty House (a beautiful Regency villa) in Tredegar and also St Paul’s Community Church in Marylebone into the magical space for the presentation of our work, but I know he will do a great job.  He always says “I’m a technician not a magician” but I disagree, I think he’s the latter!

We hope you can join us at the performances which take place as follows:

October 23rd at 7pm – Bedwellty House & Park Tredegar, Gwent UK
October 30th at 7pm – St Paul’s Community Church, Marylebone, London

sue lewis

Power Of 3 Tour 2015 starts soon

Première of Power Of 3 Tour 2015

Première of Power Of 3 Tour 2015

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.

The finale

Burg Namedy

Burg Namedy

Well what a tour it has been. Last week saw the company travelling to Milton Keynes to perform, for the final time this season, in the Motus Dance Festival.

It was such such a lovely day and a great way to say goodbye to the current ‘Still Standing’ tour. The sun was shining and we had an incredible space to perform in. Ffin Dance was a group of happy chappies.

We performed three of the four pieces of rep (Fractal, Sentient Trace and Stand up Straight) which all seemed to go down very well with the audience.

I always feel quite sad to say goodbye to pieces, especially when you have just reached that stage where you know the pieces so well that you don’t have to worry about what comes next, or looking for those little intricate moments, or trying to remember corrections you have been given or one of the other thousands of things that performers have to think about for new pieces. My main aim for our last performance was to enjoy it. Luckily I did.

Fractal is always a bit of nightmare to get yourself ready for. The material for the whole piece requires a lot of stamina, both mental and physical. There’s a lot of standing on one leg, hitting double pirouettes, intricate foot work, unison to get, musical phrasing etc. These combined are all things that I worry about and usually things that I’m trying to get everytime. Sometimes I’d be concentrating so hard on trying to find these that I’d come off stage and would only see the things that I didn’t do right rather than look at what I did get right. It was so nice to come off stage on Sunday after Fractal and think ‘ooo I enjoyed that!’.

Sentient Trace has been a special piece for me to perform this tour. Working with both Gary Lambert and Catrin Lewis was such a privilege. I have known Catrin for many years and being able to work and perform with such a close friend gave the piece a totally different quality. We know each other so well that the piece could grow and change throughout the tour. It was a very different type of piece to what I have performed in previous seasons with Gary but it was definitely an experience that I won’t forget.

Last on the bill was Stand up Straight. I felt that the company really went for it.  We had the space to really indulge in the ‘motion not movement’ brief that we have been working to. I know I woke up with some bruises from this on the following Monday!

It was also a bittersweet end to the tour as it marked my last performance with the company. I joined the company in 2010 as an apprentice when I was a fresh faced graduate and I now leave my position as dancer and assistant to the director with all the knowledge and experience I have gained but hopefully still looking fresh faced.

It has been an incredible journey for me with the company and one which I will struggle to put into words. I have learnt so much from Sue, the dancers and all the other guest artists who I have had the privilege to work with and I would like to thank everyone who has been a part of the Ffin Dance family, past and present, who has been a part of my journey. Words can not describe.

Thank you also to everyone that has supported the company by attending workshops, classes, shows, drink receptions at Hobbits. Your feedback has been invaluable and I will take it all away with me.

I can honestly say that working with the company has never been a chore and I’ve always felt so lucky that I’ve looked forward to going into rehearse and perform during every creation period – except using the bus to get to the valleys!

I have many happy memories to take away with me and I will always look back at my time at Ffin with fondess and a sense of great achievement.

I wish the company the best of luck for their future and I look forward to watching them from the other side of the stage on their next tour.

Diolch yn fawr and toi toi toi.
Meg x

 

Tara Ffin Tara

Letting the dust settle…

 

FFIN DANCE Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Image Paul Trask

So it’s a couple of weeks since our first airing this season at Coleg Y Cymoedd and it’s taken the intervening time for me to actually find a moment to process and reflect on the evening.

What has really hit me is how different Stand Up Straight felt in situ as opposed to rehearsal time in the studio. Of course with every piece there is growth when being transferred from studio to stage…much like when learning to drive, it’s not until you pass and are out there on your own that you fully understand what it takes. You come to anticipate this change – beyond a point there is little more to be done in the studio and the introduction of the fourth wall brings with it an inevitable change.

However, with Stand Up Straight, it was quite a shock to my system how exposed, vulnerable and disorientated I felt in performance.  I suppose this is the very nature of the piece – with several minutes of spinning on the spot included to induce dizziness there’s always going to an edginess to cope with but the amount that this was heightened by having an audience in and the introduction of lighting was considerable. After one of my bouts of spinning, I came to a stop what felt like barely a few inches from someone sat in the front row. This demonstrated to me that the control and adaptability I had built up during studio time had gone out of the window – such a sense of unpredictability is pretty scary to encounter mid-performance!

What scares me even more is knowing that in Abertillery we’ll be spinning on a rake and that there’s a drop at the front of the stage into the auditorium…anybody have some spare crash mats?!!

Effie :-)

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 …

Tour starts on March 11th 2014

coleg M poster

We open our new show - Still Standing – on March 11th 2014 at Nantgarw Campus, Coleg Y Cymoedd, Cardiff CF15 7QY  The show starts at 7.30pm, the box office number for tickets 01443 663009

We will be performing:
Fractal – Choreography 2013 by Sue Lewis, music by JS Bach.  A series of solos for 4 dancers set to the sublime English Suite Number 3 by JS Bach.  Abstract movement sentences draw details from repeated patterns (fractals) in nature to form a complex partnership with the musical score

Stand Up Straight – Choreography 2013 by Catrin Lewis, An ensemble which explores the idea of Vertigo, using physical and sometimes unconventional movement vocabulary, set to a sound score including the voice over for the Lempert Manouevre and music by Jon Hopkins

Take a look here, where the piece is performed by BA3 students at Trinity Laban

Synapsequence – Choreography 2012  by Gary Lambert, music by Ronen Kozokaro.
Informed by experiences drawn from an extensive performance background Lambert’s focus and interest is working through the body, where the devised movement becomes an expressive and physical landscape. It initiates from an interest in the manipulation and physical articulation of the body, as a reactive response to the images, sound score and environment.  Movement is the starting point of exploration and space is explored as a laboratory to frame movement. Gary’s appetite for movement has resulted in an eclectic style with an emphasis on physical aesthetics.

Through the interaction of the creative process with FFIN dancers, Gary has made a pure, non-narrative work that is highly unique and reflects his love for athletic physicality
Take a look at an extract of the work here

 

Give a little something back

FFIN DANCE Fractal Image Paul Trask

FFIN DANCE
Fractal
Image Paul Trask

Hello to all you Ffin followers!
I hope you’re all well and looking forward to seeing us perform our triple bill at Coleg Y Cymoedd on the 11th March.
Just a few things to check in on this early Saturday morning. As I trek down from the city to the valley to teach The Move 21 starter class I suddenly realise it was indeed where I started at such a young age.
The Beaufort Theatre is my home theatre and also had the pleasure of giving me my very first job as a teenager working front of house.

Being asked by artistic director Sue to provide technique and masterclasses to dancers (old and new from the past 21 years) feels extremely special to me. The skills that I gained through Laban and previous projects can now be passed on to the dancers accordingly!

Regarding the company repertoire from May onwards, Megan and I will be replacing Synapsequence with a duet, which is currently in progress. Devised by Gary Lambert and initiated by theories and studies he is continuously analysing from his time spent in America, we witnessed the start of what is going to be something very honest and concentrated!
Not to spoil the development of the piece too much as it’s completely fresh and intimate for the three of us. However, footage of the tasks we undertook this week left us fulfilled and anxious to the “being” nature of the movement vocabulary.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend – see you at Nantgarw Campus next week for our first show of the Still Standing Tour

Cat. x