Riverdance Johannesburg Flamenco Rocío Montoya

Spain Meets Ireland

26 January 2011

In 1994, Riverdance exploded onto the stage in Dublin, bringing an unrivalled spectacle of pounding feet, soaring music and Irish rhythms. Suddenly the world went crazy for  this celebration of traditional Irish folk dancing and within a few short years the show had become a touring sensation with several companies (all named after the Irish rivers) travelling the world. The show has been seen live by over 22 million people in over 300 venues worldwide, throughout 32 countries, across four continents.

Fifteen years later the show continues to garner audiences who come to be dazzled by the fancy footwork set to Grammy winner Bill Whelan’s music.

Although the show’s richness lies in its traditional Irish folk dance roots, the  fusion between other international dance traditions keeps it fresh, energised and universally appealing.

Dancers from the US and Spain bring their own culture, traditions and energy.
One such dancer visiting South Africa for the  six-week tour is flamenco soloist Rocío Montoya, who joined the touring company five years ago.

Montoya has danced since the age of four and when she is not touring the world with Riverdance, she is working on her own choreography and dancing with Spanish  company Flamencos en Route.

Montoya dances two solos in the  show.

The first is the Spanish/Irish fusion piece Firedance, which she dances with four Irish dancers, and the second is a more traditional flamenco.

Although the choreography is set, Montoya believes that every night she is able to bring something different to the stage.

I really bring my own personality to the choreography and every night can be different for me. It depends how I feel,” she says.

If I am feeling strong then I translate that strength to the audience through my hands and my body. Sometimes it can be an elegance that I transmit.”

Dancers can be on the road for any amount of time from two weeks to nine months and keeping motivated requires discipline, training and a good night’s sleep.

“You have to  take care of yourself. When you go on stage the audience can sense if you are tired,”  says Montoya.

It is their energy levels that the dancers really have to conserve, because that is what brings the audience back to this show again and again.

I think we transmit a lot of energy to the audience and it’s always different,” Montoya says.

Bookings for Riverdance at the Teatr at Montecasino can be made at Computicket: 083-915- 8000 or www.computicket.com

By Annette Bayne citizen.co.nz

January 25 – February 20, The Teatro at Montecasino, Johannesburg
February 23 – 27,  Grand Arena at GrandWest Casino, Cape Town

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