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.
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.
Those days before our first show flew by and then I was standing side stage for my first press call, just about to dance the number Riverdance
Adrenalin kicked in and then I finally realised what I’m a part of and to top it off, in my home state and country…. NSW, Australia.
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.
Newcastle played host to a great first week of the tour. It was a busy one, in particular for the 6 new dancers who worked very hard, yet rewarding for both cast and crew who enjoyed all the local amenities had to offer. Jason Oremus proudly got to dance for his family who travelled from Sydney to watch him.
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’.
Cast and crew are reunited at Dublin airport. Hugs, kisses and lots of chit chat fills the air, as we all catch up on the past few months. It’s been a while since the Moy Company have travelled together. It’s also an exciting day for new dancers Patrick O’Mahony, Emma Warren, John Lonergan, Louise O’Sullivan and Shaun Kelly who will perform with Riverdance for the first time ever on the upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand. Peta Anderson from Sydney will also join the company when we land in Australia.
Meanwhile, our male troupe had an early start as they performed live on Canada’s largest TV show, Canada AM. Their PR duties must have paid off as the audiences in Toronto were the most memorable of the tour with a whopping near 10,000 people attending our shows!
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.