Interview with Riverdance Lead Maria Buffini - Riverdance

Interview with Riverdance Lead Maria Buffini

Name: Maria Buffini
Nationality: Irish

Do you have to be a champ to get into the shows?
No, definitely not. Of the hundreds of dancers that have been in Riverdance only a handful have been World Champions. Of course your dancing must be of a high standard, however dancing in Riverdance is very different to competitive dancing and some people may really excel in the show that may not have been champion dancers.

What’s it like getting up on the stage and performing to hundreds of people?
It’s great! It is nerve-wrecking of course as there are many things you worry about but it is enjoyable for the most part and when you hear the reaction of the audience at the end of the show it’s a great buzz.

Did your mind ever go blank and is it really pressurised?
I’ve never stopped on stage but there are moments when you wonder what comes next, your body remembers somehow! I think most of the pressure you feel is the pressure you put on yourself because you know there are hundreds of people there to see a great show.

Did you always place well at the comps?
No, it takes a lot of time and hard work to get to this point. There are always times when you know you should have worked harder or pushed yourself a little more.

Is there a chance for someone who places but not necessarily very highly to get into Riverdance?
Of course. Placing at competitions is not the only factor taken into account when auditioning dancers. If the producers feel a person is suitable and has the talent and dedication required to be a part of the show they have a great chance at being successful.

Do they get homesick and how do they overcome this?
Yes. We are often on long tours and far from home so of course we miss our families and friends. We try to keep in touch with them as much as possible and many people have family come to visit while on tour. We also have great friends within the group so we all try to support each other while on the road.

Do you get much time to sightsee and shop in all the amazing places you visit?
Yes. Once the show is in good shape we usually have a lot of free time during the day to visit the attractions in the various cities. It’s one of great perks of touring with the show.

Why don’t you wear wigs?
Some of the girls actually do wear hair pieces to enhance their own hair, to make it thicker or longer etc, however Riverdance has always tried to maintain a natural style. We don’t all have to wear our hair curly like in competitive dancing.

Do you find you suffer from pains – rheumatic, arthritic pains, at all? How do you try to prevent this?
While on tour we dance eight shows most weeks so of course it is very hard on your body and we do feel pain sometimes. For the most part it is short-term but it is essential to take care of yourself to prevent long- term damage. We travel with a physiotherapist and masseuse who help to keep us in good shape. We also do aerobic, stretching and strengthening routines as a warm up before the show and stretching and icing to cool down afterwards.

What do you use on your hair? It’s always so bouncy and shiny!
A combination of straighteners, velcro rollers, backcombing and a lot of hairspray is the usual routine for most of the girls. As well as frequent conditioning.

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