And so to a tiny lul in the FFIN DANCE calendar.
The Easter dance faktry festival and intensives (April 24th/25th) were amongst our most successful in terms of participation, audience figures and quality since we started these activities back in 2008. Lots of happy dancers young and older and happy parents and friends, it was a great event.
Then on to London. On Tuesday I travelled up to Trinity Laban to join Megan and Catrin who have been working with Gary Lambert on a new duet for our Still Standing Tour. The work ‘Being’ was being shown as a private sharing in a low-key, informal setting which was truly beautiful. Gary invited the onlookers to enter the space and move around to watch the dancers from all angles and to get up close and personal. Some great feedback and also an invite to show the work at a gallery in the future. We will be showing the duet in our home theatre, The Met on May 15th and other venues on the tour.
This year saw our first group of students entered for A Level Dance through our ffin dance faktry. They had their practical moderation on Thursday and all did really well, we are hoping for some excellent results, just the written exam now in June, so fingers crossed for them.
A few days catching up in the office now awaits after a day off to recharge my batteries, I very much hope to see you at one of the tour venues.
Please follow our blogs as we journey and do keep in touch
Welcome to the first of my choreography blogs, sharing with you my ideas and r&d methods of my new work Stand Up Straight for FFIN DANCE
Following an intense time of research into the condition known as vertigo, spending time with each of my five dancers at Trinity Laban enabled me as a choreographer to discover new and exciting concepts that I had not associated with my subject matter. By way of a series of individual movement tasks the dancers made their own unique discoveries, which have been embedded into both the movement vocabulary and the dynamic qualities of the work.
Using spoken text and a video clip that I found while researching, I further embedded the reality of the vertigo condition: the treatment manoeuvre is particularly graphic and lends itself well to actual movement content. The dancers utilise the patient’s turning head movements to great effect, as well as drawing attention to the head area of the body it also serves to portray the subject content of the work. There was a need to be true to the actual condition and not merely act it out. My research led me to direct the dancers in this way.
The Lempert roll manoeuvre is a specific type of treatment that is used for severe Vertigo attacks. The ‘position’ of lying on one’s back with someone supporting the bottom of the skull has been incorporated into contact duets in the work as a reference point to this method of treatment especially in order to demonstrate this rather bizarre treatment remedy. I have also treated this image as a subtle gesture in other parts of the choreography. For example, one dancer supports another out of a fall by clasping the back of her skull as she continues to suspend in the space, causing her to fall as she no longer has the support from him.
The manoeuvre consists of moving through a series of positions, which are designed to dislodge the debris that has inappropriately entered the semicircular canal. Each dancer performs these set movements in order to stabilize and ground them before they disorient themselves. Some of these are repeated at the end to prevent nausea or further discomfort for the dancers.
I felt that I successfully made the movement vocabulary relevant and clear by encouraging my dancers to believe that they were on a type of ‘medical journey’ within the process. In this way the solos represent their reaction to the “spinning” and “loss of balance” tasks. The physicality, risk and nuances that each of them highlight (through direction) further exemplifies making the movement relevant/apparent. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is caused by a fault in the inner ear’s vestibular system. It is this section of our ear that helps us maintain our balance. The two types of BBPV (paroxysmal and positional) means the attack can occur suddenly or with a change of head positioning. This element can be viewed by a phrase within the work that purely concentrates on the head, which pays particular attention to changes of direction and strong focus to run alongside wherever the skull was facing. I have encouraged the dancers to not allow any secondary movement from the rest of the body and maintain a high level of direction and angle throughout. Each of these unique solos were structured to represent a Vertigo attack at the climactic point of the piece that is the full representation of the process.
Thanks to Lily Turner and Russell Preston Fine who appear in the image above.
Thanks for taking the time to read about the subject matter of the piece, See you soon for second blog
Hello to all FFIN DANCE followers familiar and new!
As I leave the student world and enter the realms of the freelance artist, I must firstly say how excited I am to be taking a step forward into the company. This season will prove to be an exceptionally challenging one as I take on the role of both performer and choreographer.
I’ll be re-constructing my final major piece Stand up Straight, that was originally created at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in June 2013. With the help of Artistic Director Sue Lewis and original perfomer Lily Turner, I hope to create something equally as innovative and fresh to witness as an audience member. This piece will be 1 of 3 that forms the triple bill – Still Standing – which will tour in 2014
Stay close for my updates on research and development and the initial strategies that were put into practice in the studio.
Just when the school term ends and everyone is talking holidays, many dance companies are gearing up for summer schools, festivals and European touring, and FFIN DANCE is just one of those such companies.
For the past few weeks, the company has been recruiting and planning the new A Level Dance course that will commence in September, finalising the timetable and content last Friday. There are still some places left, please contact us if you would like to be considered.
Next week, I am commissioned by Blaenau Gwent Arts Development to make a new work for the senior summer dance school, a privilege and pleasure to which I am looking forward immensely. I started the summer school many years ago now and I’m glad to see that it has grown and developed into one of the best summer dance schools in Wales – offering great value and expert tuition all in one package.
Then the company is off to Germany once again. Our associate choreographer Gary Lambert is curating a dance festival at the wonderful Schloss Burg Namedy in Andernach, hosted by the Princess Heide von Hohenzollern. We will be performing our triple bill Inspired in the amazing castle spiegelsaal (hall of mirrors) which will be the last time that we perform this bill. Last summer we received 3 encores after each performance – a tough act to follow!
FFIN DANCE Synapsequence Choreography: Gary Lambert Image Laura Mumby
And my thoughts now turn to the new season for 2014, commencing work in the studio in September. The company says goodbye to dancer Adam Murphy and we welcome recently graduated dancer Catrin Lewis. Catrin is no new-comer to the company: she has performed with our 2nd company ffin2 and also served her apprenticeship with us back in 2008. She was invited by Gary Lambert to perform in his work Synapsequence last season when she was on work placement with the company, making such an impression that we snapped her up immediately on her graduation from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Dance and Music earlier this month.
We will be platforming her latest work Stand Up Straight as part of our new triple bill for 2014
So no rest just yet, wheels keep rolling at the FFIN machine. We’ll be blogging from Germany, please join us and keep in touch with our shenanigans …