Disclosure: Dance Dispatches obtained complimentary admission to put in writing an open and trustworthy evaluation of the Riverdance 25 Anniversary Present in Wimbledon.
There’s a purpose why Riverdance is synonymous with Irish dance, the entire world over. Now, a quarter century after the present’s worldwide debut in Dublin, the rhythm of Riverdance as soon as once more strikes the stage (actually), sounding with a renewed vigour.* And whereas they carry out sans Michael Flatley and Jean Butler, the troupe has recruited a brand new era of torrential expertise.
* The unique Riverdance twenty fifth Anniversary Present was postponed over a yr because of Covid-19, so it’s nearer to 26 years – for those who’re being pedantic. However the essential factor is that they’re again on the highway for his or her UK tour earlier than heading to the US in 2022.
A Fast Historical past of Riverdance – The Present
Earlier than it grew to become an evening-long spectacle, Riverdance first made an look on the Eurovision Music Contest, hosted by Dublin in 1994. A number of months later, the 7-minute efficiency confirmed once more on the Royal Selection Efficiency in London. And some months after that, the prolonged Riverdance – The Present (the world’s first Irish dance present) offered out for 5 weeks straight in Dublin. From Dublin, the forged returned to London earlier than hopping over to North America and subsequently touring the world.
So, how is the Riverdance 25th Anniversary present totally different from the unique? The most recent press launch explains:
“Composer Invoice Whelan has rerecorded his mesmerising soundtrack whereas producer Moya Doherty and director John McColgan have utterly reimagined the ground-breaking present with progressive and spectacular lighting, projection, stage and costume designs and lots of the forged for this rescheduled tour are so younger that they weren’t even born [in 1995, when the show first opened]!”
As a self-proclaimed Riverdance fanatic, who watched Riverdance – The Present in particular person just a few many years in the past (and repeatedly seen the VHS tape as a baby), I’d sum this up by saying the present largely stays the identical. The brand new costume designs and the gorgeous digital set projections by Excessive Res are considerate updates; they usually don’t detract from the unique choreography, efficiency and spirit of the present.
Is digital surroundings the way in which ahead? The Rockettes equally zhuzhed up their Christmas Spectacular present at Radio Metropolis Musical Corridor by introducing projections in 2019. And video projections additionally performed a key position in staging, as in One other Sort of Blue’s tech-savvy Flirt with Actuality dance present.
See our 1-minute Riverdance evaluation video.
Riverdance – The New twenty fifth Anniversary Present Overview
Sitting in a theatre seat for the primary time since ZooNation’s Message in a Bottle 18+ months in the past, subsequent to a Dance Dispatches Social Membership member, I excitedly await the present. Regardless of understanding a few of the cultural references that go hand-in-hand with Riverdance, she doesn’t fairly know what to anticipate. And I’m thrilled for her.
The historic spotlight reel of Riverdancers and their musicians from the previous quarter century unleashes a wave of nostalgia. A haunting melody steals out into the theatre, setting a mildly eerie ambiance – and the dancers slowly enter, partially obscured by dry-ice-induced fog.
In the course of the forged’s first quantity, stomps ripple by means of the ensemble, an amuse-bouche of their meticulous synchronicity which emerges full-throttle within the well-known finale. I discover a fierceness within the performers, notably the females, that I don’t bear in mind – and I giddily spot Morgan Bullock, who skyrocketed into fame along with her Irish dancing to present songs on Tiktok, within the Liffey forged. This was notably thrilling, as an Asian American, who practiced Irish dance for 3 years in a predominantly white group.
Enjoyable reality: Riverdance names their casts after Irish rivers, and there are at present three.
Main girl Amy-Mae Dolan provides a diaphanous efficiency from begin to end, whereas counterpart Bobby Hodges hits stride within the second act, coming into his personal as he and his crew playfully battle New York Metropolis faucet dancers Kenji Igus and Tyler Knowlin in modern-day Brooklyn. Hodges hits the best poses and nails signature strikes, just like the hitch-kick-heel-click combo with an upright backbone; however he proves far more endearing within the pleasant ribbing with the tappers.
Immigration and the multicultural alternate of concepts are essential present themes. However even for those who don’t know precisely scenes flit between previous and current as you pop right into a firelit gypsy camp with a flamenco dancer, watching a septet of joyous Russian people dancers and finally heading again to NYC [in a ‘barrio’ – the set told me so] for an additional spherical of flamenco-slash-Irish dance… It’s all good enjoyable – including extra selection into the high-calibre dance present.
Sadly, the New Wimbledon Stage theatre with a proscenium width of simply 34 toes, appeared to stunt a few of the pleasure – with dancers mixing into the surroundings behind them and searching cramped once they fashioned a full line. Travelling steps should have additionally been stunted to suit the house, however the dancers may have extra respiratory room on the Eventim Apollo in London (63 toes vast) and much more within the US. (The stage in Boston’s Wang Theatre in Boston stretches 80 toes.)
Riverdance is a riveting Irish dance present that propelled the cultural dance fashion to huge recognition. The way in which the choreographers have assembled primary hop-2-3s and leap-2-3s, interspersed with fancier methods, and set them on a big corps was ground-breaking greater than 20 years in the past. And the present performers’ precision and coordination rival a Swiss watch.
1 / 4 of a century later, Riverdance continues to be extraordinary. The anniversary present felt like an extended overdue reunion – and left the viewers laughing, fortunately clapping in almost-unison, unconsciously accelerating the rhythm – identical to regular instances. Viva Riverdance, which can undoubtedly stand the take a look at of time.
Guide Your Riverdance – The New twenty fifth Anniversary Present Tickets
In case you’re impressed to see Riverdance, too, you’ve bought loads of probabilities to catch the well-known Irish dance present.
The 25th Anniversary Riverdance tour is working its method by means of the UK, concluding on the Brighton Centre in December. However come 2022, they’re heading again to North America.
Yow will discover extra details about both tour right here: https://riverdance.com/excursions.
All info right and updated at time of publication.
Have you ever seen Riverdance – The Present or the twenty fifth anniversary Riverdance present? In that case, what was your favorite act? Or have you ever seen every other Irish dance exhibits, like Lord of the Dance or Celtic Tiger?