CoisCeim Duets at Draiocht in March

March 13, 2014

Experience an evening of unforgettable storytelling from CoisCeim Dance Theatre. The award-winning ‘Swimming With My Mother’ and ‘Missing’ are two extraordinary shows by David Bolger.

A joyful celebration of things we pass on and the things we inherit, ‘Swimming With My Mother’ is performed by David and his mother Madge. In this intimate dance, their life stories are told with humour to the sultry tones of Nat King Cole.

Can you imagine what it might feel like if a loved one went missing? The dance poem, ‘Missing’, is a reminder of the fragility and beauty of moments shared. Performed by the outstanding dancers Emma O’Kane and Tom Pritchard, ‘Missing’ sold out completely when it premiered at the Dublin Dance Festival last year.

Book Now for Coisceim's 'Swimming with my Mother' & 'Missing', coming to Draiocht on Tuesday 25 March, 8.15pm ... more info ... 

This is the programme note that David wrote for the premiere of MISSING in 2013:

A year and a half ago I started to research this new work, Missing. It took me a long time to navigate the subject matter. It’s so enormous, so varied, with so many difficult issues.

The more I research missing persons the more the subject matter moves me. I deeply feel for the families of the missing. The constant searching for loved ones, the non-closure, the “what ifs”. Imagine the pain of not being able to find a loved one, it must be unbearable. I believe this issue of missing people affects us all on a deep level. We might not be aware of the extent of its reach, but we all have crossed paths with it at some stage or another.

Each day on my way to the studio I pass a missing persons poster taped to a lamppost, and each day I watch as the image on the poster fades due to the weather. It makes me think of the importance of remembering the missing - that this person has loved ones whose lives have been completely changed forever by a disappearance.

My time researching with the dancers and the many organisations that help support loved ones of the missing has been a real eye opener. I have endeavoured to create a work that honours the memory of those missing, while being sensitive to those left behind– a dance poem than engages with a massive subject matter, while remaining human and resonating on a personal level. My hope is that this performance may trigger your own engagement with one of the most deeply affecting issues we face as a society today.

I dedicate this work to the missing and their families, mums, dads, sisters, brothers, relatives, and friends of the missing. I offer our dance to you in the hope that you find answers to the many questions left unresolved. 

David Bolger, May 2013

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, David Bolger,

Pageant by CoisCéim - Review and Pics

February 27, 2013

Pageant by CoisCéim - Review and Pics

Pageant plays Draiocht on Thursday 14 March, 8pm. Tickets €18/€14 conc ... Book Here ...

A review of Pageant at Project Arts Centre by Brendan O'Rourke Taken from

All this week Project Arts Centre enjoys the privilege of premiering CoisCéim's latest piece of dance theatre. David Bolger and Muirne Bloomer's Pageant aims to "swing the batons of dance theatre to higher levels than before" but does it make you want to dance? The answer is a definite yes.

During the opening sequence, we see a man and woman, sitting opposite each other at a table. We're told they share a set of headphones, that they hear the same thing but different. This seemingly ordinary scenario builds into a fully formed display of dance. This idea of musicality lying just beneath the surface of even the most mundane tasks carries throughout Pageant, inviting the audience to discover the extraordinary and the pageantry in the everyday. All this is done with humour and a sense of fun that never seems forced and is a brilliant accent to the emotive choreography.

In larger group numbers the dynamic shifts between the dancers moving in perfect synch with one and other, to canon based movements, to segments where each simultaneously demonstrates their individuality. At times there is a lot to look at on stage - when the entire troupe are involved in these larger scenes - but thanks to a minimalistic set, you never feel like you're missing out. Instead the structure of the choreography draws your attention from one performer to the next.

Whilst we're on the topic of the dancers themselves, as you'd expect from any CoisCéim production there is fantastic talent on display here from the seven performers but it is their unity as an ensemble that makes them even more watchable. These larger numbers are punctuated with evocative solos, but again even in these isolated moments there's a comic timing present, that surprises without jarring the audience. Pageant also features a suitably varied soundtrack, which makes for the perfect score, with one of the most entertaining and memorable scenes playing out to T-Rex's Cosmic Dancer.

Probably the most impressive aspect of Pageant, is that CoisCéim have taken their incredibly high level of ability, their flare for innovative choreography and formed what is an instantly accessible piece of dance theatre. The idea of a contemporary dance show may turn some people off, but to overlook Pageant based on this would be a true shame. CoisCéim's latest offering is provoking, funny and entrancing.

Choreography: David Bolger and Muirne Bloomer
Cast: Muirne Bloomer, David Bolger, Jen Fleenor, Robert Jackson, Mónica Muñoz Marín, Jonathon Mitchell and Emma O'Kane.

Star rating: 4.5 / 5

A review of Pageant at Project Arts Centre by Brendan O'Rourke Taken from

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, David Bolger,

Swimming with My Mother - Meet Madge & David Bolger

April 26, 2011

Swimming with My Mother - Meet Madge & David Bolger

RÓISÍN INGLE, Irish Times, talks with Madge & David Bolger

MARVELLOUS MADGE BOLGER sits drinking sparkling water in the bar of a Dublin hotel. She says that if you’d told her last Christmas that by the end of this year she would have made, with her dancer son, a short film under water and a stage show, she would have laughed at you. But in the space of a year both these things have happened and the adventure is not over yet.

Madge is 77, an avid swimmer, a grandmother of 12, a film buff and a member of a social group called the Born Again Teenagers, which she shortens to Bats. Her son’s artistic vision had to fit in around his mother’s already busy schedule. “It wasn’t like he asked me,” she explains. “He just came and told me ‘Mum we are making a film under water’, and then he told me about the dance show he wanted to do.” None of it phased her, she went with the flow. “I’m a relaxed kind of person,” she says.

Her son David, the artistic director of renowned Irish dance company CoisCéim arrives. He orders soup and takes his time eating it. They sit across from each other, mother and son, explaining how it all happened from their different perspectives. I sip coffee and listen, rapt.

I haven’t seen them in ages, but these are two quite important people in my own life. David taught me to tap dance. I can’t hear the song 42nd Street without thinking of him and doing the time step in my head. Madge taught me to swim and when I see her, I hear whistles blowing and smell chlorine and feel my fingers slipping from the white foam we all clung to before we learned to float.

She was taught to swim by her father on Sandymount Strand. The doggy paddle, it was. She has wanted to move in water, as often as possible, ever since. Back in the day, she persuaded the man who ran Marian College’s then brand new pool to let her and some female friends have it for an hour one morning a week. She started the Martello Ladies’ Swimming Club. Baby David was the only male member. She tied an inner tube from a bicycle tyre around his waist and then he went off doing the doggy paddle. Over the years she took every aquatic exam going including the teaching one. She is still teaching now, but instead of swimming seven days a week she “only” swims five.

David always knew that one day he would explore the subject of swimming and his mother in his work. CoisCéim does outreach programmes with the over 50s and last year Madge was in one of his shows during the older people’s festival Bealtaine. When someone suggested he compose a work with his mother, it was as though after years thinking about the idea he had finally been given permission.

Swimming with my Motherwas presented as a work in progress at the Dublin Dance Festival earlier this year. In it, David recalls their adventures in water. They’d swim at night on Sandymount Strand, looking back at the lights from distant houses on Strand Road. Madge would do things like that with her children, although people probably thought they were mad with their nightswimming. David always felt safe with Madge. Still does.

Apparently, David could be a bit of a hard taskmaster during rehearsals. “I remember complaining about him to someone and them saying ‘oh, you should be with him in real serious rehearsals’,” she smiles. She’d be taking notes on the bus going home to remember what they were supposed to be doing and then she’d go in the next day and David would say: “No, we are scrapping that.”\

“I thought I was teaching her to dance,” says David at one point in the show. “But she was teaching me patience.”

The short film they made together, Dancing in the Deep End, was written by David and directed by Conor Horgan. It was shot in the Marian College swimming pool, and when I watch I can’t tell if I am so deeply moved because I know them both or because it makes me think of my own relationship with my mother, but it’s probably both. That and the sheer intimacy of this water-based work of art.

It’s the same with the show. It could be about anybody’s mother or anybody’s child. It’s about how things, good and bad, are passed down between the generations, how we choose to embrace them, or how we try to escape them. It’s a show full of the huge, tiny moments of life: Madge cleaning out the child David’s ears and drying the spaces between his toes while he devours a post-swim banana.

David and Madge will spend the new year touring Swimming With My Mother. The tour starts in Limerick (at the Belltable, January 28th and 29th) and then goes to Paris – “Paris, my goodness,” says Madge – and on to the Nottingham Dance Festival, and then there’s a national tour before they hit the Edinburgh Arts Festival. Over Christmas, David will add finishing flourishes to the show and mother and son will rehearse. “She will get some time off,” smiles David.

He taught me to tap dance and she taught me to swim. If you do one thing in 2010, go see their enthralling, funny and heart-lifting dance of unconditional love.

Taken from The Irish Times Magazine, issue 24 Dec 2010

Swimming with My Mother and Deep End Dance
Draiocht Studio
Wed 4 May 2011, 8.15pm
Tickets: 14 / 10 concession
Book Now: Tel: 01-8852622

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By Draíocht. Tags: Reviews & Interviews, David Bolger,