National Dance Company Wales have been performing at music festivals this year for the first time with appearances at both Green Man Festival, Crickhowell and Sziget Festival, Budapest. Why did you decide this was a good step for the company and what has been the response?
CF: We knew this would be a good step for the company because we knew that it would mean we could target a whole new audience – people who normally may not buy tickets to a performance at a traditional theatre venue. Our hope is that we might spark a curiosity and excitement for contemporary dance in people who otherwise might not have immediate access to it. The response had been fantastic and it feels as though it is definitely something we can continue to build on.
National Dance Company Wales create projects and events to reach out and engage members of the community including individuals, schools and families such as beginners evening classes and interactive matinees. Why is this an important part of the company’s work?
CF: Participation and engagement work is an important part of what we do for many reasons. We want people to know that dance is for everyone, whether it be participating in it through workshops and matinees, or through watching and discussing our performances. We want to encourage people to be curious and courageous; to ask questions and to be open to new things. Dancing can unlock many doors, it can help people manage self-confidence issues, connect them to their own creativity and individuality and of course….it keeps us fit! Our evening classes at the dance house have been a huge hit – they give people the opportunity to try dancing for the first time or to challenge themselves in learning new skills. We want people to know that our doors at the Dance House are open and that there is a hive of creative activity happening here which they are all welcome to be a part of.
Caroline Finn’s Folk
What is the theme behind the tour for this autumn, Folk?
CF: In November in Newtown and Cardiff we will premiere Israeli choreographer Roy Assaf’s new work, Profundis alongside Lee Johnston’s “They Seek to find the Happiness they Seem’ and ‘Folk’ which I created for the company last spring. I think it is a beautiful evening of work which really highlights the versatility of the company. It is physical, humorous, poetic and dynamic and I think audiences can expect to be moved, challenged, and exhilarated.
What can audiences expect from Roy Assaf’s UK premiere of Profundis?
CF: That’s a difficult question to answer since Roy’s creation period has only just begun at the end of September, I have long been a fan of his work – his musicality and sensitivity combined with an original movement language. I feel very confident that our audiences will be tantalized by his new creation.
When you are creating a dance yourself for the company to perform what are the main things that inspire you?
CF: It really differs from piece to piece. Sometimes it can be as simple as a person I see walking down the street, or it can be a book I’ve read or a painting I’ve seen. Often at times it can be a piece of music that I hear which instantly generates images in my mind. I will keep listening to the music, maybe combining it with others until a theme/concept or narrative transpires which I simply can’t ignore!
What would you say to encourage someone who has never been a National Dance Company Wales performance before?
CF: I would say to come with an open heart and an open mind and be ready to be transported to a very new and exciting world by some of the world’s most talented dancers. You don’t need to search for a particular narrative but can simply allow yourself to absorb the images and the music. Nothing that you interpret is wrong – that’s the beauty of contemporary dance – it has so many facets and often audiences will see something completely different to what was in the choreographers mind when they were creating the work. But that is what makes it so exciting and so rich, that we can each interpret and experience things so differently.
Are there any other exciting plans in the pipeline for National Dance Company Wales you can tell us about?
CF: Well, apart from an ever-expanding touring schedule to venues in Wales and all over the UK, you can also expect a very large-scale and exciting collaboration at the WMC in autumn 2017 in time for the centenary of the Russian Revolution, and we have also just returned from Tanzmesse – the largest International Contemporary Dance Festival and Trade Fair where we performed ‘Folk’, where we made some very exciting contacts so…watch this space!
Main image: Caroline Finn performing Bernadette