Dance review: Footprints

Footlights is part of The Cottier Dance Project. Picture: Facebook

Footlights is part of The Cottier Dance Project. Picture: Facebook

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TRADITIONAL music and dance often cosy up together on stage, creating a natural pairing steeped in Scottish heritage.

Footprints - Cottiers Theatre, Glasgow

****

High Heart Dance Company has dared to rip this pairing apart and create something far less ubiquitous.

The musical set-up is brilliantly familiar – fiddle, guitar, percussion, accordion and the clear sweet vocals of Emily Smith. What differs is the choreography being played out before them – four dancers using a contemporary dance vocabulary to translate the music and lyrics into movement.

The collaboration works for a number of reasons, not least the obvious enjoyment of the performers. This coming together of musicians and dancers, grounded in a deep respect for each other’s artform, produces a combined joyfulness and shared poignancy perfectly attuned to each song’s requirements.

Drawn largely from new and existing material by Smith and New Zealand-born fiddle player Jamie McClennan, the music is a clear impetus for what the four dancers have created. Broad smiles and happy legs accompany the upbeat Fun with Colin, while more poetic moves bring Sower’s Song to life.

The undisputed highlight, however, is a spellbinding rendition of Richard Thompson’s Waltzing’s for Dreamers. Smith (a former winner of the Young Traditional Musician of the Year award) sits at the piano, giving bittersweet voice to this achingly beautiful homage to lost love. Meanwhile a tender, graceful duet somehow manages to make the moment even more precious.

Part of the Cottier Dance Project, a new kid on the Glasgow dance block, Footprints is heading to the Edinburgh Fringe, where you would be advised to catch it.

Seen on 25.06.14

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