raw footage, unique among Fringe shows this year as the only dance piece on the bill, features three stylistically distinct solo contemporary dance performances choreographed by Cathy Kyle Fenton and performed by three different women (not credited in a program).

I go to dance to learn something about how the human body speaks. Raw footage contains three pieces, so I will talk briefly about each of them, and the sort of things the bodies and music seemed to be saying. I’m not a dance expert, so I don’t feel like I can comment at any length on the technical aspects of the dancing, which leaves me to talk about the emotional investment I developed in each piece as it unfolded.

The first piece begins darkly, and has a sort of drawing in effect, where the dancer seems to be harnessing something around her to immerse herself in it. This piece took place in silence but for the padding and sliding of the dancer’s feet. I’m really not sure what to say about it, because something about it left me with very little to grab onto. Some progress seemed to be made towards this drawing in throughout the piece.

The second piece is the one that in the program claims to integrate dance and theatre exploring “a woman’s quest for everlasting beauty.” I’m not sure if this piece is meant to depict a struggle towards a goal it sees as valid or unsupportable. If the quest for beauty is meant to be deconstructed by this piece, which is how I saw the scene unfolding, this could have been made clearer in the tone of the program. Furthermore, I think, the menace of the voices in her head could have been made more menacing and scary and their contextualization clearer by rendering them in a more realistic manner, rather than the sing-song tone they had in the performance I saw. The dancer seems to trace the path of her arrival in reverse when she departs the “surgery scene,” which is also somewhat symbolically ambiguous.

Nicola Henry at Raw Footage 2015
Nicola Henry at Raw Footage 2015

The third piece becomes a difficult approach towards a series of candle lights that seem to have great significance to the dancer. I like the way the music begins in this piece, with what sounded like the repeated grounding of an audio cable forming the soundscape that initiates the approach to the light, but I really wish that the sound would evolve and develop in a more (internally) “logical” way from the pulsing sounds towards the straightforward musical elements that animate the rest of the piece.

This show didn’t speak to me, but maybe you’ll like it.

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