Emigrated?

beaufortmavenproblackIn my absence from blogging, you may have thought that I had emigrated or left the planet, and in a way I have.
If you’ve been following the company escapades on Twitter and Facebook, you will know that we have moved in to The Beaufort Theatre in Ebbw Vale and taken over the management of the venue from the Borough Council of Blaenau Gwent. We have been there since the beginning of April and our energies have been spent on getting together a full volunteers programme, a rolling programme of community theatre events and of course establishing a café bar opening throughout the day serving the community with excellent food and drinks at competitive prices. Quite a tall order you may say; and yes it has been.

Well, 6 weeks later and we can boast all the above and more.  We have been joined by 2 Volunteers Coordinators,supported by funding from The Coalfields Regeneration Fund – Jocelyn and Sharon, who are building a great team of volunteers to work with us.

Kahve logoWe also have a new Catering and Bar Manager, Bülent Dilek-Karaosmanoglu who has brought his own excellent brand of Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine to our café with the inventive and delicious Kahve Café Bar. Kahve is the proud recipient of the Wales Food Awards Finalist position, opening from 10am-5pm from Monday to Saturday at Kahve @The Beaufort

In addition to this, we have opened our new show Virago at The Met Theatre in Abertillery and  we’re in the process of planning our next shows at Highgate School, London and The Sanctuary with Zoo Venues at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Please follow our progress, and we hope you can join us in seeing this most special show.

We have been working with a group of children and young people in Blaenau Gwent with the support of Aneurin Leisure and the Arts Council of Wales in a dance engagement project. Our company dancers, led by Catrin and Julian, have been engaged in a number of intensive workshops, to create a piece of work which opened our performance as a curtain raiser.  We were thrilled with both the process and the end result, some great creativity and commitment demonstrated at every workshop.  The audience was thrilled too.  Well done to all!

We are just about feeling comfy with our developments and the growth of the company and welcome you to our new home.  Please drop by and have a coffee, a drink, a light bite or a lunch with us, you will be sure of a good welcome and excellent quality refreshment.

See you soon….

sue lewis

 

 

 

Virago’s ready to go

Berry's BarWe have just spent the past week finishing off our new work Virago.  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.

sue lewis

 

 

New company dancer – part 2

523238_10151376905219344_497662062_nYou join me after the end of a jam-packed first week with the company. We have started working on Sue’s new work for next year’s tour, True as well as rehearsing the current triple bill, The Power of 3, for the performance at Bedwellty House & Park in Tredegar and this coming Friday in London.

As a new dancer, I have been included in Catrin’s work, d-cay and have learnt a couple of sections for these performances. From my perspective, it has been the perfect balance to learning some repertoire and jumping straight into the performance mode but to also take a back seat during the other 2 pieces and appreciate the performances of my fellow dancers. It is inspirational to see how refined and ‘in-the-body’ the existing work is on the other 3 dancers and it fills me with energy as we move on to the new work. This week also saw the first Desire to Dance project in which we created a new piece on students from Tredegar Comprehensive School in only 2 sessions to then be performed on the Friday evening. The project was a great success and it filled all members of the FFIN DANCE team with immense satisfaction to see how much was achieved by every individual in such an intense process. Well done all!

Until next time… and if you’re in the London area this Friday, don’t forget to book your tickets to see the current triple bill (The Power of 3) as well as a guest performance from Vision Youth Dance Company (Highgate School).
Venue: St Paul’s Community Centre, Marylebone. Tickets are £10, call or text 07854 910926.

See you there.
Julian

Ich bin ein tanzer

The Power Of 3 Tour 2015 continues…
After many delays and hours of travel, we find ourselves stepping into a beautiful castle. To me it feels like I am staying in a museum; art everywhere and interesting design and architectural features
The tour is offering a wonderful balance of dance and relaxation, it feels completely backwards to be on the receiving end of hospitality and service from the Princess and her family instead of offering it.  They are all so kind and it’s wonderful being welcomed into their home.imageimage
Our “stage” is the mirrored ballroom of the castle – spinning around the room and being able to catch a glimpse of yourself is magical, indeed everything about this place keeps surprising us with magical moments.
We have reworked Gary’s piece from duet to trio. The movement hasn’t changed but it has altered the relationships between the three of us in the space. It’s interesting as it leaves room imagefor doubt, but also a nice sense of ownership as we have the choice and ability to change the state by simply walking into the space or not. I think Gary has some surprises to put into action for the performance, a sense of the unknown. That’s quite an exciting concept to look forward to.
Sue’s piece feels different from before, not only because we’ve altered the spacing to work within he round, but also because the space is so vast it allows me to regain a sense of the freedom which I had in creating the work. The space is so big and I have room to push the boundaries and travel which is something which has always driven my movement.
I really look forward to the performance and the rest of my time here in Namedy.

But for now I’m going to continue sunbathing (like in Picasso’s Three Bathers) by the Rhine.

 

 

Natasha x

 

Island Fling

three bathers picasso

Three Bathers, Picasso

Last week was spent mostly on Holyhead in Anglesey, North Wales UK.  The company has been visiting the Island for 8 years now and each year it’s better and better.

We organised a number of *workshops and residencies working with Barton School Of Dance & Drama, Holyhead High School, Anglesey Writers Club and a Movement Group aimed at ages 50+ moving for well-being.  Liaising with Helen Barton, Mike Gould, Robert Greig and Rhiannon Môn Jones we made 2 curtain raiser performances which were both linked to our show The Power Of 3

I feel that this is a very important part of our audience development where people can experience the show through their own bodies and minds and have an ownership to the work when they come to watch the show.  Here’s one of the pieces of written work using the power of 3 as a starting point:

Island memorials
…so many loved you,

They made you three memorials
Simple words on stone, wood, slate
Low by the seawrack shores of Enlli, Sant Tysilio, Porth y Wrach

And later, too, a gate
Opening to wind-combed meadows
At Cors Goch

We’d thought, once, you would rest
High on three-peaked Tryfan,
Long loved above all your beloved mountains,
with other friends now scattered to Eryri’s winds
But we remembered an old conversation, took you back
To the bay where all began,
And your ashes flew free
From Porth Trecastell’s cliffs,
Starling clouds, whirling west
On the salt-bright air

Rhiannon Môn Jones, May 2015 for William Eifion Jones, 17.02.1925 – 29.03.2004

We met some delightful new friends with whom we would love to work again on future projects.
The workshops that we did, involved some exceptional younger and more mature dancers, I’m very grateful for the wonderful support and co-operation that we met on the island.

I’ll be blogging some more of the poems and also our work with the Barton dancers and the Glee Club at the High School – do hope you’ll join me

sue lewis

 

Our performance and residency programme was only possible with the fantastic support of Holyhead Boatyard Ltd and an Arts & Business Cymru CultureStep grant

A&BCymru50mm

 

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