World Irish Dancing Champions thrill Santa Barbara audience
By: Kathleen O’Reilly-Wild | Published Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 6:30 PM | Updated Friday, September 9, 2011, 10:18 PM
The finale of Ireland The Show which premiered Sunday, July 17th
in Santa Barbara, California at the Granada Theater.
copyright 2011 Feis America LLC
IRELAND The Show delivered on its promise to bring World Irish Dancing Champions to the stage with innovative choreography, renowned musicians and Las Vegas 'show' style costumes. Six of today's finest Irish dancers - Owen Barrington, Sinead Fallon, Stewart McWhinnie, Ciara Sexton, Ashley Smith and Ethan Walker - made an immediate connection with the audience during the opening number, and it didn't stop there.
Ciara Sexton, best known for her lead role as Morraghan in Lord of The Dance, was excited to be a part of Ireland The Show, admitting that she gets many offers to perform. "I loved that there was no lead," she said in an exclusive interview with Feis America for Irish Central, "and that's why I took the opportunity with Ethan. I would do anything to help him, he's terrific to work with!"
Executive Producer for Ireland The Show
, invited Feis America
to the dress run, and spent a solid hour with us, sharing his background in theater, dance and film while running to the stage as needed during setup. "Next time, I definitely won't dance," he said somewhat wistfully, "there's just too much to do as a producer of a show of this caliber."
Eden Barrington, sister of co-producer Owen Barrington, belted out six songs with several performances and costumes worthy of Celtic Woman approval. Some of the big numbers (" You Raise Me Up", "Amazing Grace" and "Danny Boy") felt slightly out of sync with the rest of the show, but other traditional numbers such as "Lanigan's Ball" sung with Uillean piper and tin whistler Patrick beckoned for audience participation. Eden's stage presence proves she is comfortable with showcasing her beautiful voice.
Six musicians played a total of eleven instruments, and their positions across the back of the stage conveyed just how important live music and their individual gifts were to the show. Harp, bazouki, acoustic guitar, flute, keyboard, accordion, bodhran, Uillean pipes, tin whistle, fiddle and drums made for a foot-stomping, hand-clapping good time. Nothing could take away from the glory of having live music without a click track as the dancers and singer performed. Sheila McGuire, twelve-time All Ireland Fleadh Champion, delighted all with her fiddling despite some sound issues in the venue.