FRINGE REVIEW – Swimming with my Mother


Is swimming dancing in water, or is dancing swimming on land? The fluidity of movement created by contracting and extending limbs, which, weaving through the space, perpetuates energy felt beyond the immediate constraints of the body. This therapeutic and relaxing movement, compounded with a projection of the moon in the dark venue and the rhythmic sound of lapping water, renders the audience under the spell of the sea.

“Swimming with my Mother” is the story of Madge Bolger, a mother and accomplished swimmer. This light-hearted piece is an overview of her life, her family and swimming. The emphasis is on swimming and how it represents her essence. This gift she passes on to her children, specifically her son, David Bolger, Artistic Director of CoisCéim Dance Theatre, who performs alongside his mother in this show.

David mirrors his mother’s balletic swimming motions in a contemporary style, and thus transcends the gap between swimming and dancing. They swim-dance as individuals, then synchronise their movements as if they were one becoming one.

Initially David plays the role of a young boy with his mother. As they swim-dance together, his role changes to reflect a teenage version of his father, then an older father version, then he reverts to his present day self. It is not always clear which character he is portraying; yet the strong bond between him and his mother surpassed the storyline and ventured into an art in itself.

This is a rare opportunity to witness mother and son together, enjoying each other’s splendour. However, as an artistic interlude during the narrative, it can loose the thread of the story and be considered tender though perhaps exaggerated.

“I always felt safe with my mother,” says David at one point. A poignant show, audience members left the venue with a song in their hearts and a strong desire to take a dip in the nearest pool.

By Ingrida Dornbrook

13-21 August, not 15 August, times vary @ Dance Base – National Centre for Dance

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