The worldwide phenomenon Riverdance opened at The Southern Jubilee Auditorium in Calgary last night to a packed house of excited patrons – proving once again why this juggernaut of a show continues to fill houses around the world even into its third decade on the road.
The show is produced by Moya Doherty, composed by Bill Whelan and directed by John McColgan and features some of the most talented Irish dancers in the world showcasing their unique talents in an energetic and empowering way.
Riverdance showcases the history of Ireland through the unique dancing but also instrumentals, singing and on-screen projections. The traditional Irish dancing people have come to expect from the show is plentiful, but Act 2 takes it up a notch by focusing on immigration issues and highlighting the dancing of other cultures.
One particular scene stood out above the rest – and featured three Irish immigrants in a West Side Story-esque “dance-off” with two American locals. As the men traded off between their own unique styles and personalities, the audience whooped and cheered on each performer. As they continued to dance the styles began to meld and the differences fade away – giving way to the Irish saying Ní neart go chur le cheile – “Together We Are Strong”
Principal dancers Bobby Hodges and Ciara Sexton were tremendous, both have a command of the stage that is second to none and it is truly difficult to take your eyes off them when they’re performing. Hodges in particular gets some of the best material in the show – with some roof shattering solo numbers that left audience members stunned.
The musicians also deserve a special mention for providing the delightful music and keeping tempo for the entire production. When alone on the stage they were able to get the audience engaged and (in some cases) dancing in their seats. Musical Director Pat Managan plays the fiddle in the show and had an infectious smile that you couldn’t help but love – you could feel his passion emanating out of him as he engaged both the audience and the dancers at various points throughout the evening.
All in all, this is still the Riverdance people have come to love over the last twenty years – but with a few fascinating tweaks and changes to keep it current, fresh, relevant and tight.
Of special note, Calgary native Ryan McCaffery – who got his start in Riverdance dancing in both London and on Broadway – will return to the show for one performance only on Sunday Oct 11th.
When and Where?
Riverdance 20th Anniversary Tour
The Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Oct 9th-11th, 2015
For more information or to purchase tickets please visit Broadway Across Canada