Tag Archives: NDCW

Top Tunes with Caroline Finn, Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales

Top Tunes is a new feature for Get the Chance in collaboration with Outpost. http://www.outpostrecords.co.uk 
The Director of Get the Chance Guy O’Donnell recently got the chance to chat to Caroline Finn, Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales. Caroline discussed her career to date, the spring 2017 tour of The Green House and choose her 5 Top Tunes!
Caroline in rehearsals for The Green House

Caroline in rehearsals with the company for The Green House

Click the Soundcloud file below to listen to the interview described.

Hi Caroline great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hi there! Well, I am currently the Artistic Director of National Dance Company Wales, based in Cardiff. But I guess my story begins way back when I was 11 years old and decided I wanted to become a professional dancer. I went to The Arts Educational School, Tring Park until I was 18 and then moved to New York to study at the Juilliard School. My first professional job was with Ballet Theatre Munich and subsequently I also danced with ballet Preljocaj in France and Compagnie Carolyn Carlson. In 2009 I decided to focus on working as a freelance choreographer and travelled all over the world making works for various companies before coming here to Cardiff!
 Thanks, this chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. Firstly to start off what are you currently listening to? 
I am currently only listening to the soundtrack for my new work, The Green House, which will form part of our Spring tour this year. It’s all-consuming!
Caroline in rehearsals for The Green House

Caroline in rehearsals with the company for The Green House

Music has always played a big part in my life- I learnt to play the piano and violin as a child and of course at Juilliard I was constantly surrounded by and influenced by some wonderful musicians.
In terms of choreography, the inspiration for my work often comes from hearing a particular piece of music which immediately generates stories, emotions or images for me. I then try to build on that, finding other musical tracks which compliment it. The soundtracks to my works are often quite eclectic and can span a range of musical genres from Balkan folk music to Radiohead. The Green House for example has a bit of Max Steiner (look him up – you’ve almost certainly heard his work before), mixed in with Shostakovich and a Brazilian film soundtrack. It’s incredibly varied!

 We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, so we want to ask you to list 5 records/albums which have personal resonance to you and why. 
 1 Beethoven Symphony no. 7 in A major

2 Beirut- the Gulag Orkestar

3 Radiohead -Creep

4 Travis -The Man Who

5 Olafur Arnalds -Stare

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?
I think I would have to say Creep by Radiohead. Maybe because listening to it takes me back to a very specific time and place in my life and I think that so many people can relate to those lyrics. I know there have been many cover versions over the years but I particularly love Frank Bennett’s because he takes it right back to the 1950’s. Surely it’s the measure of a great song when there can be such incredible cover versions?

I actually used Frank Bennett’s for a piece I created for Phoenix Dance Theatre in 2015 called Bloom.

Spring Tour 2017 – The Green House | Profundis

National Dance Company Wales presents an evocative double bill of new work Spring 2017
The Green House
Caroline Finn
What happens when we prune ourselves to perfection? Caroline Finn takes us on a nostalgic journey, asking us to peer into The Green House. On a twisted TV set, characters discover the fine line between fantasy and reality.
The Green House is Finn’s second theatrical work as Artistic Director for the Company, following the overwhelming success of Folk in 2016.
‘Finn knows how to choose a resonant image, and how to orchestrate emotions’ The Guardian
Roy Assaf
“It’s about Profundis. It’s not about Profundis…”
Playful, vibrant and provocative. Profundis dares us to ask questions about what things are, and what they are not. Roy Assaf’s thoughtful movement is accompanied by whimsical wordplay and an exotic soundtrack featuring Egypt’s Umm Kulthum.
‘a tapestry of exquisitely detailed gestures adorned with sparkling stories’ Buzz Magazine
Suitable for age 12+
* Watch Dance Class
12.45 – 2pm
See * below for dates
Get a unique behind-the-scenes look at how our dancers prepare just hours before a show.
You can observe, sketch, record and photograph the ballet or contemporary class on stage, giving you a glimpse into NDCWales life.
Perfect for dance students, artists, photographers and anyone interested in peeking behind the curtain. Expand your portfolio, practice drawing from movement or just observe with interest.
Free to attend but please book a space – email megan@ndcwales.co.uk for more info
Discover Dance
#GetDancing with National Dance Company Wales
The perfect 90-minute introduction to dance for families and schools. Suitable for age 7+
More info & dates here

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Tanica Psalmist

A surreal world, with fanatical weight
Performed eight, Eastern-European dancers, with different mental state’s
With significant traits, they all took us on a visual journey
Dancing their way through a contemporary, dynamical theory.
Whilst individually reaching their peak, through dancing only did they speak,
Expressions, Tones, intertwined mixed emotions frantically
Erupt, corrupt you saw poison in each character’s guts
Each motion, devastation, made you attentive to their synchronisation
Each subtle flow, every blow, every dramatic move, each hard gesture that looked smooth
One scene was a circular pattern with no gaps, just them walking in bare feet,
Tight, narrowed direction they walked, as the drumming tone hit home
Witnessing to all, who gathered interpretations of their own
Mine was the constant spinning of a world, that we live in
Formulating different connections and identities to who’ve we’ve grown in.
The elements of every dance move, physically so strong, gripping you at your feet as they exhilaratingly, followed along.
Enchanting your mind, through the multiple conventions,
The tree upside down, made you wither into your own imagination
Native tongue, of French descent, grasped a different interpretation.
Charismatic music echoed, as the dancers moved in utter fabrication.
Different themes of love, social dynamic’s was explored in a world of dark, comic indication.
Animated features, made you laugh, a penguin and its posture, of what the dancer conveyed it to be, was interestingly unique.
Another power scene, portraying to the viewers that your interpretations to what exists, in your head is how it ought to be.
Freedom to express, talk as you like, stand up, obnoxiously move in a crowd, being big, swaying loud, being persistent in what you do and speaking in your comfortable native tongue in a community, where no-one understands accept you, Is entirely down to you.
That was my connection with Folk, and the production design as well as the dancing crew, grew on me.
So fortunate to attend, and watching the dancers pull through till the end.
Folk to me is living in a surreal world that mentally, emotionally and physically, comes alive as a believable, existing world where you desire to survive and let your feelings stay alive.

Review NDCW Autumn Tour ‘Folk’ by Helen Joy


 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Profundis, They Seek to find the Happiness they Seem, Folk


In whispered tones of reverence, I am told: it is, oooh, wonderful, you’re in for a treat…

A woman in purple stands hugging herself in dance. She is singular, beautiful.

The spot light shifts to a gloriously sexy scene, a woman in white revelling in her spot-lit body writhes on the stage. She is right in front of me, I can see into her eyes. I am mesmerised. Carted away by men in black, the performance erupts into a fantasy of colour, dance, commentary, music and comedy. It is at once surreal, curious and charming. Sinister. Younger audiences find this funnier; we are awkward, we laugh in the wrong places. The dancers say that they find their voices in dance not in language but have enjoyed this challenge, being free to be themselves, to speak, to interpret freely within the confines of the psalm. De Profundis.

It is the creation of genius. It has the feel of a masterpiece. It is an abstract painting come to life. It is Kandinsky dancing. Of all the images, I am left with the man in red knuckling his way across the floor, man as ape as movement to music. A treat, indeed.

The Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem

Dance partners in black and navy and they trip through the dark, faces lit like portraits looming out of Rembrandt. Oh, this is exquisite. They are so lovely to watch. Perfectly in unison, Fred and Ginger ducking and diving and dancing in front of us, I can feel the warm swoosh of air across my face as they sweep past.

To Richter, they fail, their sense of loss and confusion is complete.


Bosch. It is a Bosch in all its painted madness cavorting in front of us. It is a crazy world. It rises from the soil of Autumn leaves into this crepuscular land. It is a topsy turvy place, a slight inversion, sensitive to struggling personality, to groupings, pairings and isolation.

Something warm and heavy, muted and visceral, carefully cadaverous, so beautiful from a distance but gently sinister close up. It is a convoluting palette of earth. It is breathtaking.

To see these dancers up close and personal, the bandages on their toes, the straps around their knees, the sweat on their faces, each muscle flexing, is to see perfection. To hear their feet feel the ground, to see expression in every tiny movement, is to see beauty.

I want to pull this piece into the night air, I want to let them free to scatter real leaves, dancing under real trees.

I want to press Stop: I want to fix them like statues and examine every moment. I cannot watch it all and I have missed so much but oh, I have taken something magical, ethereal, wonderful away with me.

Enjoyed:         14th November, 2016 at NDCW, Cardiff
Choreography:             Roy Assaf
Music and Sound:       Uoon I, Alva Noto (Vrioon Electronic)
Enta Omri, Umm Kulthum (Original 1964 Live Recording)
Lighting Design:          Omer Sheizaf
Costume Design:          Angharad Matthews
Costume:                     Deryn Tudor
Angharad Griffiths
They Seek to Find the Happiness They Seem
Choreographer:        Lee Johnston
Music:                                    Max Richter
Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher
Costume:                   Zepur Agopyan
Dancers:                    Matteo Marfoglia, Elena Thomas
Choreographer:        Caroline Finn
Visual Artist:             Joe Fletcher
Music:                                    Assorted (see website below)
Lighting:                     Joe Fletcher
Costume:                   Gabriella Slade
Dancers:                    Josef Perou, Camille Giraudeau, Matteo Marfoglia, Mathieu Geffre, Angela Boix Duran, Elena Thomas, David Pallant, Josie Sinnadurai, Ed Myhill

Review Alternative Routes NDCW by Helen Joy


 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Dance. In a space I didn’t know existed. I am not proud of this fact. I am not proud that I know embarrassingly little about dance too.

We are met at the door by Paul Kaynes and his team and they welcome us with huge smiles and enthusiasm. Everyone chats and enjoys the view over Cardiff Bay from the rooftop of this marvellous building. We are given an introduction to the evening and invited in to the auditorium.

The seats are packed with colour and youth. I become slightly obsessed with wanting to swap this audience with that grey-haired one at the Cathedral earlier in the week. And as the evening progresses, I want to do this more and more. I want the opera lovers to be here, with me, sharing this beautiful experience. Oh to pull it all together somehow!

I confess, I don’t read programmes before I see something. I don’t want to be influenced. I want it to speak to me and me alone. This is about Voice, after all.

It begins with a woman and a man dancing to what feels like Eighties rave music with strobes and UV and hoops and planets and they tell a little love story through dance and gymnastics and ballet and they are so beautiful, just so beautiful. Luminously lovely. And I want to be Degas – I want to capture their shapes somehow. It is not enough to watch them.

Darkness. A spotlight. A man dances through a series of emotions and I feel I am watching his collapse into sadness. He makes me think of the loneliness of communication – the struggle to be understood. It is a deeply moving performance. I am relieved when finally he stands in the centre of the light.

A woman prowls onto the stage. She talks to us through her movements and I am desperate to interpret them. The music is sweeping and classical and it is all very pretty and acceptable and then it changes in a moment, it swells to panther proportions and I am watching a wild animal and the movements become the language of the wolf. Her body is not her own – she is absorbed in her passions and she is perfect in her credibility.

And then we break.

And I sit with Daniella. A student of dance. She looks me straight in the eye and tells me how wonderful it all is, how all she has ever done is dance, she has danced since she was a little child, it is who she is. She is enraptured by the second piece but she has loved it all. In her face I see that the gift of dance is a good one. There is such power in using dance to communicate – no-one else’s story, just your own; no tool as messenger, just your thoughts sent out there through your body.

It feels so loose, so uncontrolled, so unrepeatable. What an ability these people have and what a task to choreograph and to make it seem so easy every time!

We are asked to stand around the stage. It is a big space but we are shoulder to shoulder forming a square around a Crossword of 4 dancers. Each performs within a square, a battenburg cake of dance. Singly, together, this is an argument, a joke, a party, a series of opinions agreeing and clashing. I want to see it from above, see the patterns they make. It is gorgeous to watch and to be so close. I can see that I am not alone in wanting to join in – we all want to be part of it, to be understood.

We return to our seats. What now? Well. We get more cake, we get Nigella. We get a menopausal woman breaking the bonds of housewifery – as well as a few eggs! It is quite the most unusual performance I have ever seen and it is brilliant. I laugh! It is me!

I chat to others as we leave – what did you think of that last one? Oh yes, I do that – well, I want to do that…

I have loved it. Every minute of it. It has been challenging, beautiful, sad and funny. A novel in dance. And I still want to swap those audiences – bring those different voices together somehow and we will all be the wiser for it.

Event:                                       Alternate Routes
At:                                               National Dance Company Wales
Production:                           WMC, RWCMD & National Dance Company Wales for Festival of Voice
Artistic Director:               Caroline Finn
Choreographers:                Matteo Marfoglia, Camille Giraudeau and           Josef Perou
Chief Exec:                             Paul Kaynes
Seen:                                          6.45pm, 9th June, 2016
Reviewer:                                Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics
Running:                                   09 Jun – 11 Jun 2016
Star rating:                4