Critically acclaimed CoisCéim Dance Theatre, creators of the unforgettable, award-winning SWIMMING WITH MY MOTHER return live to the stage with the premiere of companion work UNCLE RAY, the dance highlight of Dublin Theatre Festival & Belfast International Arts Festival this year.
Performed by David Bolger and his mother Madge, SWIMMING WITH MY MOTHER was a “joyful, intergenerational gem” (The Shimmy Skinny) that delighted audiences at the Pavilion Theatre in 2011 and subsequently toured throughout the US and UK. Following this homage to his mother, CoisCéim’s Artistic Director now turns his focus to fathers and uncles, teaming up on stage with street dancer, Donking Rongavilla, in a new work of irresistible charm. This is a poignant story about the elasticity of truths and how family lore shapes us.
UNCLE RAY takes audiences back to 1970s Dublin where as a young boy, David grew up with stories about his magnificent Uncle Ray – whose career took him from vaudeville, to Broadway and then the glitz of Hollywood, eventually playing one of the most famous characters of all time: the Scarecrow.
Who is Uncle Ray?
“Memories, like old photographs, come flooding back in black and white… So, when Uncle Ray came to visit once a year, I had no idea he had turned into glorious Technicolor. Standing at the edge of the yellow brick road. Crows would come from miles around just to eat from his field. Maybe not the best scarecrow. But an incredible dancer and my uncle – Uncle Ray Bolger.”
Known for his iconic dance style and huge range inflected with tap, ballet, Irish and African-American dance traditions, Ray Bolger was dazzling – variously dubbed “the jazz Nijinsky” and a“rubber-legged acrobat”. In UNCLE RAY, Donking Rongavilla slips into his shoes, with a mix of contemporary, street and breakdancing. Originally from the Philippines, Donking also grew up with family ties to the movie business, his father Rommel Valdez was a prolific actor in Filipino films