Last dance for “Riverdance” as show says farewell to America after 16 years
New horizons await Ireland’s most successful dance show ever
The final curtain is coming down – “Riverdance” is saying goodbye to America and the tears are flowing.
Some 16 years after Michael Flatley and Jean Butler first wowed the world with the unique take on Irish dancing, the show is almost over for US audiences.
Currently in the middle of a 82 city farewell American tour, “Riverdance” is coming to an emotional end as senior producer Julian Erskine confirmed to the Associated Press.
“To be at the back of a hall with the audience jumping to their feet at the end of the show after all these years, it’s just so gratifying and just so pleasing,” was how executive producer Erskine described a recent show in California.
“It’s certainly emotional to be saying goodbye.”
Set to wrap up in the US this June, “Riverdance” has been touring the North American continent continuously since 1996, often with two shows on the road.
It’s no easy task as the touring company includes six principal dancers, 18 troupe dancers, a live five-piece band, flamenco dancer and two American tap dancers, one of whom is also a baritone soloist.
Now South America, India and China offer new audiences for the show that revolutionised Irish dance.
Principal dancer Padraic Moyles, on the road with Riverdance since 1997 and co-starring in the show with wife Niamh O’Connor, has paid tribute to the American audiences.
“Anybody who joins the show from here on out and doesn’t get the opportunity to perform it in America, will be missing something,” said Moyles.
“I hope that someday, whether its 10 years from now, it does come back so that people get to experience that reaction again.”
“Riverdance”, the brainchild of former RTE duo Moya Doherty, John McColgan and Bill Whelan, first hit the stage as the interval act at the 1995 Eurovision song contest in Dublin. Such was the phenomenal reaction, that a show was born.
Erskine added: “The timing couldn’t have been better. We just picked up on a vibe that was happening in this country and we suddenly felt, ‘Maybe it’s not so bad being Irish. Maybe we don’t have to be the butt of every joke.’
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