Virtuoso. By Karen Wood.

Last week, I visited Caroline Bowditch in Glasgow where she is rehearsing with her dancers for the premiere of her new piece, Falling in Love with Frida. Based on the life of Frida Kahlo, she is exploring, not just her artistic work, but the trials and tribulations of how she lived. There are many books lying around the studio, some that Kahlo has written herself, some written from a medical perspective and some photographic of her and her work. These artifacts are used to stimulate movement possibilities but also empathy with Kahlo.

While sat in the studio observing this process, it struck me how much Bowditch has really connected with Kahlo. The endless researching for new material, visiting Kahlo’s home in Mexico and continually following other people’s writing on her has embedded itself and resonated with Bowditch. She works with her dancers at ease because she knows this material so well. She is a true professional at work.

This started me thinking about the audiences that she will get to see her work. She has dates scheduled in Nottingham, Glasgow and Brighton to preview and premiere this work before hitting some festivals in Scotland in the summer. It will then be up to venues and programmers to book the show for further performances in the UK.

Today, we have responded to a government inquiry into the Work of the Arts Council (Government Inquiry) and it would be good to see a support strategy for disabled dance produced as an outcome of this. An accessible support strategy would perhaps enable Bowditch’s work to be seen by many audiences throughout the UK and would help towards making the changes we need to include professional artists’ work, such as Bowditch’s, in the dance programmes that exist in this country. The virtuosity in her work needs to be shared and seen by as many people as possible.

If you are interested in reading about another virtuoso at work, visit Jo Verrent’s blog where she discusses Janet Parker at work here: JoVerrent

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