Falling in Love with Frida. preview, CCA, Glasgow 7 March 2014. by Hannah Donaldson

As we’ve been involved in observing Caroline Bowditch working with Welly O’Brien and Nicole Guarino at The Arches in Glasgow, it was great to finally see a preview of Falling in Love with Frida in Glasgow on 7th March. As one of the legal members of the InVisible Difference team, going to see a performance by Caroline was a new experience for me. I saw Claire Cunningham’s Ménage A Trois at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2013 but this was my first experience of a preview. It’s lovely how welcome the team and I have been made to feel by Caroline and again, this was reflected in the atmosphere in the venue. After wishing Welly good luck I sat down to watch the sell-out performance.

The performance itself was touching and humorous. Caroline has absorbed so much from her time in Mexico learning about Frida and she really has fallen in love with her. The piece talks about Frida’s lifestyle, her quirks, her artistic nature and intersperses this with details from Caroline’s own background. All of this is done a light hearted, touching way. Caroline delivers her piece as if she’s talking to each member of the audience individually, rather than as a group. Both Welly and Nicole also put in a lovely performance supporting Caroline and also playing out a part of their own.

From the perspective of the questions we ask in our project, Caroline made a few interesting statements during Frida. Firstly, she said early on that: “it’s not about disability. It’s about art” and secondly that “I want my legacy to be me”. In InVisible Difference we ask those very questions; how ‘visible’ should disability be in the choreographic process and performance;, and how do we value and preserve disabled dance? While Caroline’s own disability was apparent, the performance did not centre upon it. It just existed, and was neither hidden from the audience, nor overly displayed to the audience. Falling in Love with Frida is as much about falling in love with your own body as it is falling in love with someone else’s, and the audience were given “Falling in Love with You” postcards as a memento. Many thanks to Caroline and to her team for allowing us to watch the development of Frida in rehearsals.

Falling in Love with Frida will show at the following locations:
7th & 8th March - CCA, Glasgow
20th March – SICK Festival, The Basement, Brighton
30th April – Skanes Dans Teater, Malmo, Sweden
16th May – The Pavilion, Bournemouth

29th May - NEAT Festival, Nottingham

Edinburgh Fringe Festival 12-17 August 2014 at Dancebase

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