The first section of Simo Kellokumpu’s Raw Dog is like a weird, Finnish take on the opening sequence of West Side Story. A back projection of icy railtracks imparts an industrial ambience, while on stage the action gradully builds with the musical beat, moving from a lone woman sidling about into an energetic close-formation quartet of nifty slides and pitched turns. From here the piece rather goes off the rails. We’re taken through a birch forest, past a sequence of rapid-cut graphics, and into an alien white-out world where the dancers’ hands glow in sulphurous light. It may be bewildering, but it’s visually arresting, well performed, and Kellokumpu has lots of good compositional ideas.
Anh Ng’s Shadow also looks striking: one dancer trails a vast length of black cloth and, towards the end, an outsize animation of a black silhouette looms over the stage like a bogeyman. Ng choreographs some intricately interlocking duets for his three dancers, his hard-edged modern dance style lightly inflected with folky touches. The fade-outs between scenes create an effect of almost cinematic vignettes. But there is a fundamental flaw: dramatisation. Ng is obviously following some narrative logic in the piece, but it’s completely lost in the translation from concept to performance.
they all jumble across the stage to an operatic soprano voice, each verse returning them to an increasingly funny hotchpotch of flapping feet and floppy limbs
Kate Brown’s Too late, too late begins uncertainly: seven dancers in cowboy hats, backs to the audience. But it gains interest and depth as it goes on. The dancers disperse with hesitant steps, then move into a kind of ramshackle square dance: couples circle gauchely, line-ups quiver like plucked guitar strings. Then, bizarrely, they all jumble across the stage to an operatic soprano voice, each verse returning them to an increasingly funny hotchpotch of flapping feet and floppy limbs. The mature, unprepossessing performers impart a childlike touch to this small, disarming and curiously affecting piece.