Riverdance Blog

New Year’s with Riverdance in Zhoushan and a Weekend in Hangzhou

Kevin Horton, Dancer, Bann Company

With an amazing Christmas week under our belt and a deeper understanding for the Chinese culture, it was time to continue our worldly adventure with two more cities. What was supposed to be a two city week, ended up with us traveling midweek to Zhoushan for one show and then on to Hangzhou. I have never done more than two cities in a week, so I was interested in seeing how the week would pan out. I will say our travel day to Zhoushan was very different. We had an hour bus trip to the airport, flew to Ningbo, then took a two hour bus journey to a ferry port where we were supposed to take a boat to Zhoushan. We ended up not having to get the boat, which was a nice surprise, because the day was long enough! But we arrived safe and sound and ready for our one show.

Picture this…New Year’s Eve 2009, you are in a country that celebrates their New Year’s in February, playing to 6,000 people in a sold-out stadium, and the temperature on stage is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (simply because the designers of the building forgot to add a heating system)! It makes for one heck of a stop on tour! The buzz from playing in a stadium is great, but I have never been so cold dancing in my life. But the show must go on! It was very comical to see the entire cast and crew in complete winter gear backstage before each number. Taking off that winter coat to go on stage was tough!!

Here is a group of us backstage in our winter gear during the show

Since it was New Year’s Eve, the promoter held a party for us in the hotel bar with food and a few drinks! Of course we had to ring in the New Year in style. A great night was had by all, even though the thought of traveling on to Hangzhou in the morning loomed over all of our heads. It was kind of surreal to be in a city for only one show and it felt like a small blip on the tour schedule, but we will always have great memories of the time we spent in Zhoushan to ring in 2010.

Here we are ringing in 2010!

On New Year’s Day, we traveled by bus for a couple of hours to Hangzhou and arrived to find a bustling city full of great things to keep ourselves busy. We were right in the middle of downtown and right next to a shopping district. The girls in the troupe were very happy! Unfortunately we were only here from Saturday to Sunday before we moved on to Shanghai, so we did not have much of a chance to see the city. We did however get to visit West Lake, which is a massive lake community in the center of Hangzhou. Beautiful buildings and picturesque sceneries lined the shoreline and made for a great stroll down the boardwalk. We often forget how massive each city can be, and while looking out over the lake, the abundance of buildings and mountains can sometimes be overwhelming!

Traditional Chinese boats at Westlake

Dancers Deirdre Dowling, Myself, Ben Devlin, and James Keating at West Lake in Hangzhou

Just yesterday we arrived in Shanghai and so far this is one of the coolest places I have ever been to! Next week I will tell you all about it…until then…


Paul Li
January 9, 2010

Just been back from your afternoon show in Shanghai Grand Theatre. One of the most crazy things I have done in my life is to spend around 1,000 for a show. But WoW! You guys rock! 1,000 totally pays off! I would buy another ticket if you could stay here for another week! Many thanks for giving Chinese people such an amazing experience! Happy New Year!

B. Lee
January 11, 2010

Hi Kevin:
We laughed so hard when we read your blog! We’re an American/German family living in China, and are quite familiar with the spitting everywhere, crazy traffic, and unheated buildings. Did you know the law doesn’t allow central heat south of the Yangzte River? So you can look forward to lots of freezing!
We’re so excited that you’ll be coming to Kunming!! (alert: it’s at an elevation of almost 2000meters! Most people get out of breath easily at first!) Nobody ever comes to Kunming! We love the show and can’t wait to see it. Look for your greatest fans in the audience on Jan. 28th. If you’re tired of bad restaurant food, we’d love to have a bunch of you over for a meal sometime that week–let us know! The kids want to especially meet the musicians Aoife (how do you pronounce her name?!) and Matt, and singer Haley, plus some of the dancers… and we could arrange home cooked meals for more or you. Let us know–we’d love to meet you guys. See you soon!

Kevin Horton
January 19, 2010

Hi to the family living in Kunming, this is Kevin and I just wanted to respond to your offer. I have mentioned to some of the cast and we would love to take you up on your offer for a nice home cooked meal. If you want please give an email to info@riverdance.com and tell them they can give you my email. (Just dont want to put my email on this post.) Hope to hear from you soon!

Kevin Horton

Leave a comment

* fields are required

close close Keep in touch with Riverdance Sign up today and get exclusive offers and updates