Review: Swimming With My Mother
On Wednesday night I had the privilege of attending the first night of a tour of ‘Swimming With My Mother’ by David Bolger. Presented by CoisCéim Dance, it is running as part of this year’s Bealtaine Festival. It was originally developed for and performed at the Dublin Dance Festival in 2010 – to an amazing reception. Dance, and more so contemporary dance is not something I always feel comfortable with. I’m not always sure I know what it’s about or what is going on and as a consequence don’t enjoy it very much.
However this piece was very different. From the absolute start, there was a relaxed feel to it all…birdsong lead us up to the start of the performance. The performers are mother and son, Madge and David Bolger, the entire performance choreographed by David for himself and his mother. Madge is a lifelong swimmer and a swimming instructor. ’Swimming With My Mother’ is a story of how important swimming is to each of them, how large a role is played in their family life and how Madge taught David to swim – even though he was like a fish and didn’t need much teaching! The dance and swim sequences were all beautiful and made even more so with a duet between this beautiful older lady and her gentle, graceful and caring younger partner.
The story is told with some narrative from Madge as well as the dance and swimming. You can see the bond between them on stage and the fun they have as they perform. The performance was funny, entertaining and very beautiful to watch. A special mention must be made for the music, both original compositions and some old numbers – the sound designers and composers are Ivan Birthistle and Vincent Doherty.
A showing of ‘Deep End Dance’ finished off the evening. Choreographed by David Bolger, performed by himself and Madge and directed by Conor Horgan, this short film was created in 2010.
DEEP END DANCE features a fully dressed man as he is pushed into a swimming pool by his mother. He brushes himself off and begins dancing underwater, always aware that she’s watching. After a while she joins him in the turquoise dappled waters and they perform a playful underwater dance.
Already it has won Best Short Film at the Celtic Media Awards in Scotland, Best Short Film at the Boston Film Festival and was a nominee for the Irish Film and Television Awards. You can watch a video on the making of ‘Deep End Dance’ here.
The ‘Swimming With My Mother’ tour started in Draíocht on Wednesday 4th May and will continue to Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise on Friday 6th May, Roscommon Arts Centre on Tuesday 10th May, Backstage Theatre, Longford on Thursday 12th May and the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire on Saturday 14th May.