Backstage at Riverdance on Ice

Backstage at Riverdance on Ice

Laura Yanez, Soloist

Some skaters warming up as the troupe goes through blocking

Hello Riverdance fans!

It’s been a little while since the American Boyne Company parted ways this past June and a lot of exciting show developments have occurred in the meantime. Among these was the unique pairing of Riverdance and the brilliant skaters of Disson Skating to create “Riverdance on Ice”.

Not quite knowing what to expect, both companies flew into Boston the day before the performance. With just enough time to relax a few minutes at the hotel, we were shuttled to the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Massachusetts. I thought I dressed warmly but it still was quite a shock to sound check in an icy arena!


Myself and a childhood hero, Michelle Kwan!

From the first moments on stage, all us Riverdancers couldn’t help but marvel at the skaters warming up and practicing their numbers. To be in the presence of Olympian medalists was stunning and the idea of performing with them was becoming more and more exciting! In between blocking and the run-through, we were able to meet and chat with most of the skaters. To our delight, they showed a mutual interest in what we were doing onstage and had lots of questions we were eager to answer. Personally, stepping onstage to sing “The Heart’s Cry” and seeing Olympic Silver medalist Sasha Cohen perform a lyrical solo on the ice was equally surprising and unbelievable!

After our evening of rehearsals, we all headed back to the hotel to warm up and relax before the big show on Saturday. Almost everyone spent a few hours chatting at the hotel bar and there was such a positive buzz about the show, I couldn’t wait for the next day.

Up early for rehearsals, we had a dress run through in the afternoon. The crane camera swooped down into the stage performers faces as we moved around and the skaters twirled through the arena It was a challenge with so much to watch around us to keep in character for the run!

At certain times those on stage even interacted with those on the ice. Seeing Flamenco dancer Yolanda Gonzales Sobrado rehearsing traditional flamenco arms and postures with ice skater Shae-Lynn Bourne was just an example of the different artists combining their talents for this event.

After the run, we warmed up around some catering and hot drinks. I even had the privilege of meeting Michelle Kwan as she arrived to host the event along with Nancy Kerrigan.

Soon enough it was show time and we all hurried to get made up and costume ready for the show. The arena was full of excited and vocal fans, and it was much the same backstage! Running through last minute changes, we still found time to snap a few photos before the opening number.

To have the arena audience responding so loudly to all the skating and us on stage was such a rush and helped us put on a great show. Audience members were waving their cell phones and chanting when halfway through the performance, during a Flamenco “duet” between Yolonda Gonzales Sobrado and Olympian Joannie Rochette, the power stopped. A minor misstep in the name of live performance, they returned to wild cheers of an entire arena!

After the show, we all went to a reception in the arena where we met fans, family and member of the O’Shea Chaplin Academy including cast member Scott Doherty, who had all danced a set onstage during intermission.

Back at the hotel, we all took a break with a few drinks and a slice of pizza. Despite the long (and quite cold!) day we all found energy to celebrate into the night!

Dancer Meghan Lucey and pair skater Amanda Evora at the start of our show

I’ve never done anything like this event before, and feel incredibly lucky to have been involved.

I wish I could find a way to describe just how exciting it was to be a part of, but hopefully you will see for yourself when it airs on Saturday, February 19th at 4 pm. on NBC!

Until then, be sure to check for Riverdance coming to a city near you as the new Shannon tour starts playing North American cities in January! All the best,


Almost everyone backstage before the end of the show!
Riverdancer Scott Doherty and members of the O’Shea Chaplin Academy before their intermission performance

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