On Friday, we set off to St.Louis and this was a huge weekend for me as I was preparing to become the first female ever to perform ‘Trading Taps’ – a number in the show which sees the male American tap dancers trade off with the male Irish troupe. I went straight to the venue for my first sound check and this was certainly nerve-wrecking especially with the whole company watching. Thankfully it went well and I was more than ready for my debut on Sunday evening.
Riverdance St Louis
Well what a surprise was in store for us when we got backstage. There sitting proudly in the back corner stage right was what many past Riverdancers know as ‘The Shrine’. This began with the American ‘Lagan’ Company in 1998 by crew fly man ‘Bones’. Bones is now a local crew guy at the St. Louis Fox. This shrine was a small. old suitcase which over time gathered many bots of memorabilia by the cast and crew of Riverdance.
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.