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.
Good dancing makes you want to dance, and Riverdance does that. Not only is this incoming production a chance to see, one last time, one of the defining touring shows of the past 20 years, it’s a chance to pay tribute to a show that, I’m sure, swells the ranks of local dance classes, where young girls and boys turn step dancing from something you simply see into something you do.
Perfectly timed for St. Patrick’s Day, “Riverdance,” the spectacular display of Irish folk dance, speckled with the arts of a few other ethnicities in its mix, returns for what’s billed as its farewell visit, on view through Sunday at the Oriental Theatre.