Dance Away Tears in this Unique Kiosk

One woman’s journey to healing helps her create distinctive art.



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The inspiring story of Annie Frost Nicholson's journey through loss is a testament to the transformational power of dance and healing. Coping with profound personal loss, Nicholson discovered solace and transformation through her artistic alter-ego, The Fandangoe Kid, according to The Guardian

In the aftermath of her personal struggles, this 39-year-old London-based artist channeled her emotions into creating poignant public art installations.  One remarkable creation is the Fandangoe Discoteca, a bright pink mini disco kiosk designed to provide a space where people can dance and "shake out" their grief, reports inews. This unique concept serves as an avenue for healing, allowing individuals to express their emotions and find comfort through movement and music.

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Inside the bright pink kiosk
The Fandangoe Discoteca, is an eye-catching and brightly colored kiosk, that was inspired by De Stijl and postmodernist architect Ettore Sottsass. Designed to accommodate up to eight dancers, this unique creation is making its debut in London's Canary Wharf this July, with plans for a tour across the UK and Europe throughout the summer.

The Discoteca offers more than just DJ sets; it also hosts meditation and yoga workshops, dance classes, and special "grief raves." During these raves, clubbers can request tracks that evoke memories of absent or lost loved ones, providing a non-traditional means of engaging with the complex and universal subject of grief.

“It’s a non-traditional way of accessing the complex, universal subject of grief,” Nicholson told The Guardian. “I like to find a hook to help people access their feelings without being prescriptive.”

Inside the kiosk, a waist-high window allows glimpses of the outside world, while the word "Dancing" adorns the wall, setting the tone for this cathartic space. The project is a collaboration between Nicholson and the Loss Project, a social enterprise dedicated to exploring various forms of grief processing, such as bereavement, climate grief, political grief, and mental health issues.

"Carly, founder of The Loss Project (who develops all of the public programming for the project in its various locations), and I have been working together on public realm installations for a couple of years now, exploring the various intersections of grief, and we have listened closely to the public and how they wish to engage," Nicholson told Creative Boom.

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Processing loss
In 2011, tragedy struck Nicholson’s life when she lost her mother, her sister, and her sister's partner in a devastating helicopter accident, inews reports. Adding to the heartache, her father, who was battling terminal cancer, passed away a few years later. In the aftermath of the traumatic events in her life, Nicholson initially struggled to create art and worked as a teacher, reports The Guardian. In 2021, as The Fandangoe Kid, she took her therapeutic venture on the road with an ice cream van named the Fandangoe Whip, offering workshops and sorbet to the public. During a visit to New York in 2022, she held the first grief rave, discovering how much people yearned to express their feelings through dance.

“Over the past few years we’ve been listening to public ideas about grief,” Nicholson told The Guardian. “Post-pandemic, people were desperate to share their experiences and talk – words were falling out of their mouths. Now there’s a real shift to wanting to shake it out.”

Death rituals in various cultures worldwide, including Māori, Yoruba, and Jamaican traditions, incorporate dance as a significant element, explains Join Cake in a blog. However, cathartic movement is not commonly found in traditional European or US approaches to grief.

The Fandangoe Discoteca will also serve as a farewell to The Fandangoe Kid persona, with Nicholson deciding to continue creating art under her birth name, Annie Frost Nicholson, reports The Guardian. The alter ego helped her navigate the challenges of the past 12 years, but she now feels empowered to embrace her true identity and is no longer afraid of delving into the depths of her emotions.

“One of the most difficult things is knowing how to hold those people that I’ve lost with me and take them forward into this new era, how to embrace the now, how to dare to envisage the future,” Nicholson wrote in inews. “It’s a very tender balance. I will always keep them alive, not just for me, but for the other people I’ve met along the way, for any kids I may have.”

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