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Review: Footprints, Cottier's Theatre, Glasgow


Everything about this bright, pleasing little show harks back to a casual 'what if...?' conversation last September. Ideas for Footprints were sketched out on a Monday, and by the Friday this collaboration between contemporary dancers and traditional musicians was a racing certainty.

Come August, after this initial airing at Cottier's, Footprints will be part of the Made In Scotland showcase on the Edinburgh Fringe.

That kind of gung-ho initiative deserves applause. So too does the show itself, which can't be said to break new ground, but which is nonetheless full of charm and gentle appeal. The music - by Emily Smith, Jamie McClennan and band - is a canny mix of the frisky and wistful, moods that the quartet of female dancers, led by Freya Jeffs under the name of High Heart Dance Company, then echo in their movement.

It's a nicely balanced partnership: dance tends to thrive on live music, but it's more of a challenge when the choreography is tied into the imagery in song lyrics. It all comes together with a swagger and a bounce in numbers like Twa Sisters, or with a floating air of reverie in Jeffs's solo to Waltzing's For Dreamers where Smith's voice soars exquisitely over her own piano accompaniment.

There's fizzing fiddle music, enough to make our own feet itchy for a dance, as well as reminders of how different cultures - the performers hail from the UK, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand - can come together and create their own Footprints. At less than an hour, you're left wanting more, so fingers crossed that the Cottier Dance Project, which Jeffs has curated as part of the West End Festival, has legs to carry it on throughout the coming months.

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