Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Interval acts - 1994: Riverdance

Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish stepdancing, notable for its rapid leg movements while body and arms are kept largely stationary. It originated as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, a moment that is still considered a significant watershed in Irish culture.

Riverdance was first performed during the 7-minute interval of the Eurovision Song Contest at the Point Theatre, Dublin on April 30, 1994. It received a standing ovation. At Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest it was voted the most popular interval act in the history of the contest. This first performance featured Irish Dancing Champions Jean Butler & Michael Flatley, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and the Celtic choral group Anúna with a score written by Bill Whelan. Whelan had also composed Timedance, an early version of Riverdance, for the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Planxty. Most of the show's choreography was done by Flatley. An audio recording of Riverdance entered the Irish singles charts at number 1 on May 5, 1994, and remained there throughout the summer. A video of the Eurovision interval performance was then released by the Irish broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann under the title Riverdance for Rwanda with all proceeds going to the Rwanda Appeal Disasters Joint Appeal Committee. Many of the dance troupe featured in this performance subsequently went on to dance principal roles in later productions of Riverdance the Show. Riverdance is produced and directed by husband and wife team John McColgan and Moya Doherty, controlled through their production company Abhann Productions, based in Dublin. In November 1994 tickets were sold in Dublin for the first full-length performance of Riverdance, which opened at the Point Theatre on February 9, 1995. The show ran for five weeks and was a sell-out. After successful runs in other cities in Europe, Riverdance travelled to New York City to perform at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in March 1996. This was the first time the show had been performed in America. To the relief of the producers, the show was a success. Anúna left the show in September of that year.
In 2000 the show moved to Broadway for a year at the Gershwin Theatre with an all-new show, featuring dance leads Pat Roddy and Eileen Martin and singers Brian Kennedy and Tsidii Le Loka. Michael Flatley left the show reportedly over creative differences with the producers before the show's second run in London. Irish dancer Colin Dunne stepped into the role of lead dancer and went on to perform in subsequent productions before leaving the show in 1998. Riverdance is now in its farewell tour[5] after fifteen years of performing and touring the world. During the tour the show will play in Bradford, Ipswich, Southend-on-Sea, Blackpool, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, London, Southampton, Nottingham and Derry as well as other venues in Europe and the Far East before finishing in 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment