It’s bittersweet as I finish the last step in the last number of the last ever North American Riverdance show. Some 6,000 people are on their feet in the fantastic outdoor arena at WolfTrap, Vienna and boy has it been a long journey!
Riverdance farewell tour
This weekend, the massive North American operation of Riverdance — 60 dancers, singers, musicians and crew — will sing and dance for the last time on these shores. The Dublin-based production company is closing down its North American tour with five performances at Wolf Trap, one of its earliest and most consistent venues.
The audience were on their feet a lot during this production and most deservedly so. The choreography is incredible. Men and women flying across the stage, women linking hands to do a stiff armed chorus line where nothing moves except their legs and feet and those appendages are a blur of precision. The singers are equally polished and wonderful, ethereal harmonies abound.
The band is comprised of only 5 musicians, but their talent is relentless as each of them resonates powerful and rich music through multiple instruments. Much credit should be given to Declan Masterson, as musical director for the show…. Last but not least, Mark Alfred is at the helm of the percussion section and takes over the stage as he plays every drum, symbol and chime. His drum kit seems endless as sound after sound emanates from his side of the stage. He also has an incredible solo session with the Bodhrán, a round Irish frame drum, where you wouldn’t believe the magnitude and range of sound that comes out of it.
City Update – Quebec City, QC: A beautiful, historic city that delighted me in every aspect but I was not sad to leave behind a city where they STILL have winter in April! Highlights included early morning swims in the rooftop outdoor heated swimming pool and dining at the ‘Restaurant Le Retro’ bistro in the oldtown to taste the homemade assortment of local pates and seafood chicken pie. A brunch consisting of croque-monsieur on Friday afternoon gave a nice kick start to my day.
When Riverdance last visited Hobart in 1998 it sold more than 16,600 tickets in two hours, an Australian record for the show.
The production rolled back into Hobart on Tuesday, with the touring party including 24 Irish dancers, two tap dancers from the US, a Spanish flamenco dancer, a four-piece band, 15 backstage crew and three shipping containers of equipment.
It was nice to be back in a dance studio and a fine studio it was at the “Grand Theatre”, Quebec. This was even more important for one of our new troupe members, Callum Spencer who in just a few short days after his arrival would perform male lead for the very first time.
Veterans Padraic Moyles and Niamh O’ Connor bid adieu to the American stage after serving many years with the ‘American’ Company. Niamh and Padraic were joined by Lauren Smyth, James Keating and singer/ tap dancer, Micheal Wood on their transfer to our sister company, the Moy on a six week tour of Australia and New Zealand until June. As the saying goes, one door closes and another opens and it did just that for their replacements. We have since welcomed Megan Baffa, Owen Barrington, Ben Mapp, Tokiko Masuda and Callum Spencer. They shall complete the remaining seven weeks with the Shannon Company.
Paula Xiberras spoke to the lovely Peta last week fresh from a successful performance at Newcastle as Riverdance begins its farewell tour of Australia. Peta is sad that this is being billed as the farewell tour as she would like nothing more than to be touring with this show ‘forever’.
Boston itself ,being a city quite influenced by the Irish, makes it a hub for many Irish Dancing Schools. We were so thrilled to welcome Irish Dance students from many different dance academies to our performances over the weekend period. Autograph signing and partaking in group shots with throngs of young dancers and enthusiasts makes my job on the road as exciting as ever.