The Riverdance tour is coming to California! Riverdance is show consisting of traditional Irish step dancing, notable for its rapid leg movements while body and arms are kept largely stationary, quite and amazing site to see. Buy Riverdance tickets today at CitrusTickets.com.
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Riverdance’ Ten Years on’
By Clive Barnes
Did your mother come from Ireland? Or perhaps your second cousin twice removed by marriage? Whatever, as anyone who has ever been in New York on St. Patrick’s Day will agree, there’s something Irish about everyone, and it is that something which is sharply captured in ‘Riverdance,’ the spectacular dance show, where its very face is the map of Ireland. As everyone now knows ‘Riverdance’ started in Dublin in 1995, remarkably as a brilliantly conceived spin-off from a seven-minute intermission piece in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. It has danced a long way since then, developing into an international phenomenon, with troupes areening and criss-crossing the world; not so long ago there was even one ‘Riverdance’ company installed for well over a year in New York.
The concept of ‘Riverdance’ is both simple and adroit. A Celtic-looking rock-like setting (actually it seems more Druidically Stonehenge than anything else) with highly colored projections to vary the look, a load of Irish music and a lot of Irish dancing. The huge popular success of the show derives in part from Moya Doherty’s canny producing – all pieces are put together with breathtaking theatricality – and John McColgan’s swift, deft staging, which works like a computer but still manages to pervade an unexpected but not unpleasant impression of homespun charm over-riding, or perhaps over-dancing, its awe-inspiring efficiency, and its sweet and sure ability to deliver on every promise, implicit and explicit, suggested by the very idea of an Irish dance spectacular.
For, yes, in the final count, you do indeed go to ‘Riverdance’ primarily for the Irish dancing, always the matrix of the show, and for Bill Whelan’s wonderful score and the Irish musicians – who are indeed always splendid. Yet, there could well have been a snag here. The problem is that it is difficult vocabulary, rigid arms, a stiff upper-body and an overall tendency towards exuberance rather than emotion. It is something like an Irish stew – awfully good in itself but as a constant diet it could get monotonous, which is why it was so smart to introduce into the mix Spanish flamenco and American tap dance, two dance forms with which the Irish steps have much in common, even to the extent of actual historic links.
I first saw ‘Riverdance’ in London, the year before its shattering entry into New York’s Radio City Music Hall, and it was obvious to me that this was something fresh and new, and something moreover that America would take to its heart. It was a natural – given the Irish ethnic heritage rooted in the United States from sea to shining sea. Yet even I was surprised at the warmth of that first Radio City welcome. The audience roared. For myself I embraced the memory of my Irish grandfather, but it was just one of those New York nights when everyone’s mother came from Ireland – or, at the very least, there was something in them Irish.
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