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Plethu/Weave

Literature Wales is working in partnership with National Dance Company Wales on a poetry and dance cross-artform collaboration. The new digital film project, Plethu/Weave sees four dancers from NDCWales and the four dancers independent sector, partnered with Literature Wales’ commissioned poets to create short solo performances during the lockdown.

Each poet will be asked to create a short poem, some in the strict meter cynghanedd form, in any language relevant to contemporary Wales. The eight dancers will be paired with some of the most exciting poets working in Wales.

Further information about each dancer and poet is available below. Videos will be released between August and November 2020.

Hirddydd by Mererid Hopwood and Tim Volleman

Hirddydd

Hirddydd

 

Dere’n nes, mae’n stori ni

tu allan

lle mae’r gân yn geni’r

hirddydd; mae dy welydd di’n

rhy gyfyng ac mae’r gofid

anniben yn dy ben fel diwedd byd.

 

Dere, gwêl, y ffin drwy gil y ffenest,

ffin ddi-dor, ffin fforest,

ffin cul, ffin y cwest 

unig, 

gwêl, mae’n ffin anonest.

 

Dawn byw yw gweld nad yw’n bod.

 

Dy ateb? Ehedeg a’i datod

o’r newydd, yr hirddydd hwn,

ac yn ei lle cael llinyn hen berthyn y byd

i’th dynnu’n rhydd, 

o’r newydd, 

a’n hail-uno ni

ym mhatrwm ers talwm – yn deulu –

y patrwm glân sydd â lle i gân ein lliwiau i gyd.

 

Rhith yw’r ffin.

Gwthia’r ffenest.

Cei batrwm cwlwm calon.

 

Gwêl

 yr edefyn golau’n galw:

‘nofia!’,

mor siŵr â llif y dŵr.

 

Dere.

 

//

Hirddydd

(The longest day)

 

Come closer, our story lies

outside

where the song is giving birth

to the longest day; your walls

are too confining, and the messy worry

inside your head is like the end of the world.

 

Come, see the boundary

through the just-open window, 

that never-ending boundary, 

boundary of forest,

narrow boundary, 

the boundary of the lonely

searching.

 

See its dishonesty.

 

The gift of life is to know it doesn’t exist.

 

Your answer? Fly. Unpick it

anew, this longest day,

and instead of it, 

find the thread of all belonging 

to pull you free

anew,

to reunite us

in the world-old pattern 

that makes a space for the song 

of all our colours.

 

That spectral boundary!

 

Push the window.

Find the pattern that binds hearts.

 

See,

the thread of light is calling:

‘swim!’,

as sure as the flow of water.

 

Come. 

 

//

Hirddydd

The longest day

 

Dere’n nes, mae’n stori ni

Come closer, our story lies

tu allan

outside

lle mae’r gân yn geni’r

where the song is giving birth

hirddydd; mae dy welydd di’n

to the longest day; your walls

rhy gyfyng ac mae’r gofid

are too confining, and the messy worry

anniben yn dy ben fel diwedd byd.

inside your head is like the end of the world.

 

Dere, gwêl, y ffin drwy gil y ffenest,

Come, see the boundary, 

through the just-open window, 

ffin ddi-dor, ffin fforest,

that never-ending boundary, 

boundary of forest,

ffin cul, ffin y cwest 

narrow boundary, 

the boundary of the lonely 

unig, 

searching.

 

Gwêl, mae’n ffin anonest.

See its dishonesty.

 

Dawn byw yw gweld nad yw’n bod.

The gift of life is to know it doesn’t exist.

 

Dy ateb? Ehedeg a’i datod

Your answer? Fly. Unpick it

o’r newydd yr hirddydd hwn,

anew, this longest day,

ac yn ei lle cael llinyn hen berthyn y byd

and instead of it, 

find the thread of all belonging 

i’th dynnu’n rhydd, 

to pull you free

o’r newydd, 

anew,

a’n hail-uno ni

to reunite us

ym mhatrwm ers talwm – yn deulu –

in the world-old pattern 

 

y patrwm glân sydd â lle i gân ein lliwiau i gyd.

that makes a space for the song 

of all our colours. 

 

Rhith yw’r ffin.

That spectral boundary!

 

Gwthia’r ffenest. 

Push the window.

 

Cei batrwm cwlwm calon.

Find the pattern that binds hearts.

 

Gwêl 

See,

 yr edefyn golau’n galw: 

the thread of light is calling:

‘nofia!’,

‘swim!’,

mor siŵr â llif y dŵr.

as sure as the flow of water.

 

Dere.

Come. 

Mererid Hopwood

Mererid Hopwood won the Chair, Crown and Medal for Prose in Eisteddfod Genedlaethol. She was the Welsh-Language Children’s Laureate in 2018, and in the same year won Tir na n-Og Prize for her novel for children, Miss Prydderch a’r Carped Hud (Gwasg Gomer). She won the poetry award Book of the Year in 2016 with her collection of poetry, Nes Draw (Gwasg Gomer, 2015). She collaborated with musicians including Karl Jenkins, Eric Jones, Gareth Glyn, Christopher Tin and Robat Arwyn and participated in literary festivals in Europe, Asia and South America. She is a Fellow of Cymdeithas Ddysgedig, and the chairman of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and honorary president of the Waldo Williams society. She is a Professor at University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Tim Volleman

Tim Volleman was born in the Netherlands, where he started dancing at the age of three. At the age of ten he started my pre-education at Fontys (Tilburg) and continued to my bachelor degree program at Codarts, Rotterdam Dance Academy. As a professional dancer, Tim has worked with companies such as Cathy Sharp Dance Ensamble, Internationaal Dans Theater, Nederlands Dans Theater II and de Stilte before Tim joined NDCWales in December 2017. His freelance career includes working with independent artists Jagoda Bobrowska, Heidi Vierthaler and Juanjo Arques.

Ust by Ifor ap Glyn and Faye Tan

Ust

Ifor ap Glyn

National Poet of Wales Ifor ap Glyn was born and bred in London to Welsh parents. He is a multi-award-winning poet, presenter, director and producer. A prolific writer, Ifor has twice won the Crown at the National Eisteddfod – one of the festival’s most prestigious prizes. As a television director and presenter, he has won several BAFTA Cymru awards for his work including the Lleisiau’r Rhyfel Mawr and Popeth yn Gymraeg series. Ifor has represented Welsh poetry around the world in both the Welsh and English language, most recently in Cameroon, Lithuania, China, Belgium, Germany, and Ireland. The National Poet of Wales scheme was established in 2005 and is managed by Literature Wales. It is a cultural ambassador role which honours some of the most innovative and highly regarded writers.

Faye Tan

Faye Tan was born in Singapore and trained at the Singapore Ballet Academy and School of The Arts before graduating from the Rambert School in London. She then joined Verve, the postgraduate company of the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds, performing in works by Anton Lachky, Athina Vahla and Efrosini Protopapa. Faye joined Frontier Danceland (Singapore) in 2016, working with choreographers such as Shahar Binyamini, Thomas Lebrun, Edouard Hue, I-Fen Tung, Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet, amongst a varied pool of other makers. The work Faye did in Singapore also included outreach programmes, coordinating Frontier Danceland’s youth dance training programme, teaching, choreographing, digital marketing, videography and photography. In May 2019 Faye worked with Richard Chappell Dance (UK) on Silence Between Waves, performing and working with local residents of various ages and abilities in Devon, before joining NDCWales for Rygbi: Annwyl I mi / Dear to me and subsequently as a company dancer in December 2019.

Triptych by Marvin Thompson & Ed Myhill

Triptych (Part 1)

Please note: This video contains deliberate use of a highly offensive racial slur and images that some viewers might find distressing. These elements are relevant to the context of the artistic work which explores Wales’ relationship with the transatlantic slave trade.

Marvin Thompson

Marvin Thompson was born in Tottenham, London to Jamaican parents and now lives in mountainous south Wales. His debut collection, Road Trip (Peepal Tree Press, 2020), is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. In June 2020, the Poetry Society selected Road Trip as one of five Black Lives Matter Inspiration books. In addition, Road Trip is one of 40 collections and anthologies recommended for National Poetry Day, 2020.

The Guardian Newspaper described Road Trip as an ‘invigorating journey through complexities of black British family life.’

In 2019, Thompson was one of only eight writers to be awarded a grant by Literature Wales as part of the Platforming Under-Represented Writers Funding Scheme. He was also shortlisted for the 2019 Manchester Poetry Prize.

In 2016, Thompson was selected by Nine Arches Press for the Primers 2 mentoring scheme. In addition, he has an MA in creative writing.

Ed Myhill

Originally from London, Ed Myhill grew up in Leeds and trained at Hammond Secondary School in Chester, followed by three years at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance. He joined NDCWales as an apprentice in Autumn 2015 and am now a full time dancer with the Company. Ed has toured extensively across the UK and abroad including works from Alexander Ekman, Roy Assaf and Marcos Morau.

Hanan Issa & Aisha Naamani

Ble Mae Bilaadi?

 

Ble Mae Bilaadi?

When my Khala speaks, a metallic voice on the phone, 

I want to respond ‘زين الحمد الله’

 

but I have swallowed too many dandelion seeds. 

I cough up a cardamom. 

What’s the word for cardamom in Arabic? 

I can’t remember. 

 

Guilty I reply into a tin can: 

 

‘I’m fine aunty’,

and watch the miles of quivering string disappear into crackling darkness. 

That night I remember: It’s هیل 

The ‘H’ a sweet 

 

exhale. 

 

The string knots inside my chest. 

and it feels dangerous, 

like I’m holding too much: 

 

Like a world pretending to be a city 

 

and so I run. My feet on Cardiff concrete, 

pounding footprints melting myself into the memory of here. 

But the string in my chest never ceases its song: 

about a land abandoned – her beauty braided into my bones. 

‘Ya Bilaadi’ sings the 

 

string. 

 

I always stop 

 

running in the same 

 

place. 

She is 

 

there when I look out to sea. 

Eternal 

 

as the cedar tree, 

She strides 

the horizon

 

towards me. 

 

The string, 

 

rooted in my chest, 

handcuffs around her wrists. 

 

I am sorry to see her bound, 

to see how my longing leaves 

angry memories on her 

 

skin. 

 

But wallahi I hope it never tears

Hanan Issa

Hanan Issa is a Welsh-Iraqi poet and writer. She has been featured on both ITV Wales and BBC Radio Wales and worked in partnership with National Museum Wales, Artes Mundi, Warwick University, Swansea Fringe, StAnza festival, Wales Arts International and Seren Books. Her work has been published in Banat Collective, Hedgehog Press, Wales Arts Review, Sukoon mag, 4 Journal, Poetry Wales, Parthian, Y Stamp, sister-hood magazine and MuslimGirl.com. Her winning monologue was featured at Bush Theatre’s Hijabi Monologues. She is the co-founder of Wales’ first BAME open mic series ‘Where I’m Coming From’. She was a 2018-2019 Hay Festival Writer at Work. Her debut poetry pamphlet My Body Can House Two Hearts was published by BurningEye Books in October 2019.

Aisha Naamani

Before training at London Contemporary Dance School, Aisha Naamani grew up in South Wales and was an associate of National Dance Company Wales from 2012-2015. Since moving to London, she has performed works by Richard Alston, Wayne Parsons (Rafael Bonachela), James Cousins and Hofesh Shechter amongst others. Aisha has had some of her own choreographic works shown at The Place and was a scholar of the Peggy Hawkins Scholarship Fund. Aisha joined NDCWales as an apprentice dancer in summer 2018, performing works by Matteo Marfoglia, Mario Bermudez-Gil and Caroline Finn before becoming a company dancer the following year.

clare e. potter & Jo Shapland

clare e. potter

clare e. potter is a bilingual poet and performer with an MA in Afro-Caribbean Literature from Mississippi. She lived in New Orleans for a decade and received Arts Council funding to respond to the trauma of Hurricane Katrina alongside a jazz quintet. clare has translated poems by the National Poet of Wales, Ifor ap Glyn, and collaborates with artists to make poetry installations in public spaces. She won the John Trip Award for Spoken Poetry in 2005 and was on BBC4’s Listening Project with her father piecing together the source of emotion in poetry. In 2018, clare was the Velvet Coalmine Festival’s poet-in-residence, based in the Miners Institute where she collected people’s stories of this significant cultural and political building.

Jo Shapland

Jo Shapland’s work is dance, whether through the flow of change in materials and objects, film imagery or the body moving through space. Fundamentally concerned with relating and responding to nature and a desire to witness through the body, her site-specific projects range from ruined farm-buildings to traditional proscenium theatres, from natural wilderness to urban architectural interiors. Originally trained as a Contemporary Dancer, she now practices Asian martial/meditation arts, aerial circus and improvisation, and continues to explore inner dance and its effect on presence and creativity. This January Jo performed ‘Told by the Wind’; (co-created with the Llanarth Group) at ITFOK, India. Other highlights of her career include winning a Creative Wales Major Award with ‘Being in Place’, and celebrating the expansion of Mostyn, Llandudno, with ‘[in]scape’.

Connor Allen & Jodi Ann Nicholson

Connor Allen

Since graduating from Trinity Saint David as an Actor, Connor Allen has worked with companies such as The Torch Theatre, Sherman Theatre, Tin Shed Theatre and National Theatre Wales. He is a member of National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and was also the winner of Triforces Cardiff MonologueSlam, representing Wales at the London winner’s edition. As a writer he has written for Dirty Protest, Sherman and BBC Wales. He’s had an ACW funded debut play and a Literature Wales commission. He’s also part of the BBC Wales Welsh Voices 19/20 and The Welsh Royal Court Writers Group.

Jodi Ann Nicholson

Jodi Ann Nicholson is a dance artist based in South Wales. Since training at Laban and studying Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art and Design her creative work interrogates the construction of the self and identity. Exploring these ideas through an autobiographical narrative as an adoptee. Movement, embroidery and textile installations give structure to her ongoing interrogation of the question: what makes up our identity?

More recent work has led Jodi into deeper explorations between text/language and dance, linking this work into her ongoing enquiries as an artist. Jodi has become fascinated with the rhythmical structures in the two disciplines, exploring the relationship between the two.

Elan Grug Muse & Shakeera Ahmun

Elan Grug Muse

Grug Muse is a poet, editor and researcher. She is one of the founders and editor of Y Stamp magazine and published her first volume, Ar Ddisberod, with Barddas in 2017. She is a resident of Ulysses Shelter 2020, and is the holder of the Wales Literature 2020 Writers’ Bursaries. Her work has been published in publications including O’r Pedwar Gwynt, Barddas, Poetry Wales, Panorama: the journal of intelligent travel and others. A Writer at Work at Hay Festival 2018-19, she won the chair at the Urdd National Eisteddfod in 2013, and the chair of the Inter-college Eisteddfod in 2019. She is currently working on a doctoral project in Swansea University, sponsored by the AHRC Center for Doctoral Research in Celtic Studies.

Shakeera Ahmun

Shakeera Ahmun is a freelance dance artist and improv enthusiast based in Cardiff. She is inspired by music and the nuances of melody and rhythm, that drives her physicality and continuously sculpts her movement language. She has also recently experienced working with physical theatre, which has deeply informed her artistic practice.

Aneirin Karadog & Joe Powell-Main

Aneirin Karadog

Aneirin Karadog won the Chair in the National Eisteddfod in Monmouthshire and District National Eisteddfod in 2016 with a sequence of poems on the theme ‘Boundaries’. He is a member of Y Deheubarth team in the annual Ymryson and has won several awards for his strict meter poetry: the Emyr Feddyg Scholarship at the National Eisteddfod in Newport, the Urdd Chair in 2005 and the Wales Book of the Year poetry category in 2013 with his first volume of poetry O Annwn i Geltia (Cyhoeddiadau Barddas) and again with his second book Bylchau (Barddas Publications, 2016). He co-presents and co-produces a Welsh poetry podcast with Eurig Salisbury called Clera, with new chapters monthly since October 2016. In 2019 he published another book of poems, Llafargan (Barddas Publications). Aneirin was the Welsh-Language Children’s Laureate for 2013-2015.

Joe Powell-Main

Joe Powell-Main is twenty-two years old and is from Mid-Wales. Joe was a junior associate with the Royal Ballet School for three years and attended Saturday classes weekly in Birmingham. Whilst on the Junior associate programme, Joe performed with Birmingham Royal Ballet in The Nutcracker and Sylvia (UK tour). Joe also worked with Elmhurst Ballet School for one year, through the pre-vocational programme. Joe successfully auditioned for the Royal Ballet School, Lower School at White Lodge in Richmond and trained there for four years. Joe stopped dancing for three years due to injury and being involved in a serious car accident, which led him to acquiring his disability which affects his left leg and foot. Joe rediscovered his love for dance and began wheelchair ballroom and Latin dance, he is currently the UK National Para Dance Champion in Solo and combi freestyle. Joe has also recently graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Dance and Performance through the Arden School of theatre in Manchester. Joe began an apprenticeship with Ballet Cymru through the pre-professional programme last September. Joe was featured on S4C Christmas adverts with dancers from Ballet Cymru and across Wales. Joe joined Ballet Cymru this year as a company dancer and is looking forward to working with the company on the new production of Giselle in 2021.

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