RIVERDANCE is a theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional
* 1 Background
* 2 History
* 2.1 Eurovision performance and aftermath of interval act (1994)
* 3 Legacy * 4 Dance numbers and songs performed
* 5 Notable lead dancers
* 5.1 Other notable dancers
* 6 Musicians
* 7 Recordings
* 7.1 CD * 7.2 VHS * 7.3 DVD
* 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
Riverdance is rooted in a three-part suite of baroque-influenced traditional music called Timedance composed, recorded and performed for the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest , which was hosted by Ireland. At the time, Bill Whelan and Dónal Lunny composed the music, augmenting the Irish folk band Planxty with a rock rhythm section of electric bass and drums and a four-piece horn section. The piece was performed, with accompanying ballet dancers, during the interval of the contest, and later released as a Planxty single. Whelan had also produced EastWind , a 1992 album by Planxty member Andy Irvine with Davy Spillane , which fused Irish and Balkan folk music and influenced the genesis of Riverdance. Thirteen years later, Whelan was invited to do the intermission piece for another Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, and composed Riverdance. In a book about Planxty (The Humours of Planxty, by Leagues O'Toole), Whelan says, "It was no mistake of mine to call it Riverdance because it connected absolutely to Timedance".
EUROVISION PERFORMANCE AND AFTERMATH OF INTERVAL ACT (1994)
Riverdance was first performed during the seven-minute interval of
1994 Eurovision Song Contest at the
Point Theatre in
Lead dancers Michael Flatley and Jean Butler transformed the previously chaste and reserved traditional dance form into something else entirely. Whelan's song "Riverdance" entered the Irish singles charts at #1 right after the Eurovision debut and stayed there for 18 weeks.
After witnessing the initial enthusiasm for the performance in Ireland, husband and wife production team Moya Doherty and John McColgan decided to take a risk. The two invested their own money in the show—well over $1 million—and ran with the idea, marketing it throughout the country. That led to a video benefiting war-torn Rwanda , raising $500,000 for the cause and selling 100,000 copies in a week. On 11 August 1994, in response to the Rwandan genocide of May/June 1994, the RTÉ video ' Riverdance for Rwanda' was launched to help raise money for Irish relief agencies in Rwanda.
In November 1994, Riverdance, the original seven-minute version, was
invited to perform in
DUBLIN AND LONDON (FEBRUARY–JULY 1995)
"Riverdance: The Show" opened at the
Point Theatre in
On 8 May 1995,
Riverdance performed at the Royal Gala 50th
On 5 June 1995, UK video release of
Riverdance went straight to the
No. 2 position in the UK charts, moving to No. 1 the following week,
and holding the No. 1 or No. 2 positions for the next seven months,
becoming the all-time best-selling music video in the UK. A day
Riverdance opened at The Apollo in
On 17 July 1995,
Riverdance performed at London's Royal College of
Music in the presence of
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
FLATLEY\'S DEPARTURE AND SECOND LONDON RUN (OCTOBER 1995)
Despite the show's growing success, cracks were beginning to appear in the relationship between the producers and lead dancer Michael Flatley . Flatley had choreographed many of the numbers in the multicultural spectacle, but after the show took off, the two parties clashed over salary and royalty fees. At the end of September 1995, a contract dispute arose between Flatley and Riverdance. On 29 September, days before the show was due to reopen for a second sell-out run at The Apollo, Flatley's TV appearances suddenly became focused on rumours that he was about to walk out. Flatley claimed the dispute had nothing to do with money, but rather creative control of his own choreography. No contract was ever signed—despite media reports indicating he had—because Flatley and his management wouldn't agree to terms. Negotiations reached a stalemate by 2 October, and with 21 hours to go before the show's opening, Doherty opted to sack her star, replacing him with Colin Dunne , nine-times World Irish Dancing Champion. Dunne, who had only just joined the cast and creative team of Riverdance, was initially invited to choreograph and perform the newly commissioned number "Trading Taps" with Tarik Winston. To make matters worse for the producers, Jean Butler turned up days before opening night with her leg in a cast and on crutches, and was unable to perform. As a result, Dunne paired up with original Eurovision troupe member Eileen Martin for the opening night, as they looked to salvage the show and make a name for themselves.
On 3 October,
Riverdance opened for another six-week sell-out run at
The Apollo. By overwhelming public demand, the run was extended twice,
making a box office record of 151 sold out shows at the venue. During
this extended period,
Riverdance returned to the Royal Variety
Performance at Dominion
NEW YORK CITY (MARCH 1996)
Following phenomenal success in
CONTINUED SUCCESS IN IRELAND AND LONDON (MARCH–MAY 1996)
After returning to Ireland and incurring successful runs in Belfast and Cork , Riverdance made their way back to The Apollo in May 1996 for a three and a half month run; the show saw advance box office sales in excess of UK£5m. The show was later extended until the middle of January 1997.
US TOUR (OCTOBER 1996 – FEBRUARY 1997)
On 2 October 1996, Riverdance kicked off its US tour at Radio City Music Hall, christening their new US company the Lee (after Cork's main river), while the company continuing to perform in the UK was dubbed the Liffey (after Dublin's main river). After 23 performances at Radio City between 2 October and 20 October, the Lee company moved on to Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston, as well as Detroit and Minneapolis.
A number of cast departures occurred following the halcyon period of early 1996. In September 1996, Anúna left the show, which was followed swiftly by Jean Butler's departure in January 1997. Then in June 1998, Colin Dunne left Riverdance to begin work on a new project with Butler – Dancing on Dangerous Ground .
In March 2000, the show moved to Broadway 's Gershwin
Riverdance continues to be performed all over the world, in a diminished format and in smaller venues. Current productions are geared towards smaller theatres, whereas past productions have been performed in large theatres and arenas. Sets have therefore been simplified and some numbers contain fewer performers than in past productions (such as those seen on the Live from New York City (1996) and Live from Geneva (2002) DVDs). Each production company is named after an Irish river: Liffey, Lee, Lagan, Avoca, Shannon, Boyne, Corrib, Foyle, Moy and Bann.
DANCE NUMBERS AND SONGS PERFORMED
RIVERDANCE SONGS AND DANCE NUMBERS FROM THE FOUR LIVE RECORDINGS OF THE SHOW Riverdance: The Show (1995) Michael Flatley & Jean Butler Riverdance: Live From New York City (1996) Colin Dunne & Jean Butler Riverdance: Live From Geneva (2002) Breandán de Gallaí & Joanne Doyle Riverdance: Live From Beijing (2010) Padraic Moyles -webkit-column-count: 3; column-count: 3;">
* Michael Flatley * Jean Butler * Colin Dunne * Breandán de Gallaí * Joanne Doyle * Padraic Moyles * Aislinn Ryan * Pat Roddy * Eileen Martin * Conor Hayes * Sinéad McCafferty * Michael Patrick Gallagher * Susan Ginnety * Kevin McCormack
OTHER NOTABLE DANCERS
* María Pagés (flamenco dancer) * Yolanda González Sobrado (flamenco dancer) * Tarik Winston (Trading Taps) * Walter "Sundance" Freeman (Trading Taps)
* Cormac Breatnach - tin whistle * Máire Breatnach - fiddle * Ronan Browne - uilleann pipes * Robbie Casserly - bass, drums * Áine Uí Cheallaigh - vocals * Anthony Drennan - guitar * Noel Eccles - percussion * Kenneth Edge - soprano sax * Juan Reina Gonzalez - cantor * Tom Hayes - bodhrán , spoons * Eileen Ivers - fiddle * Declan Masterson - uilleann pipes, low whistle * Michael McGlynn - conductor * Des Moore - acoustic guitar * Máirtín O\'Connor - accordion * Prionsias O'Duinn - conductor * David Hayes - conductor, piano * Eoghan O'Neill - bass guitar * Nikola Parov - gadulka , kaval * Desi Reynolds - drums, tom-tom * Rafael Riqueni - guitar * Davy Spillane - uilleann pipes, tin whistle
* Riverdance: Music from the Show (1995)
* Riverdance: The Show (1995)
* Riverdance: A Journey (1994) :92 * Riverdance: Live From New York City (1996) * Riverdance: Live From Geneva (2002) * Riverdance: The Documentary 10 Years (2005) * The Best Of Riverdance (2005) * Riverdance: Live From Beijing (2010) * Riverdance: The Collection (2010)
* ^ Hayes, Cathy (29 January 2015). "Amazing facts about the Irish
dance phenomenon "Riverdance"". IrishCentral.com. Retrieved 15 July
* ^ A B "Ceolas Profile: Planxty". Ceolas.org. Retrieved 1 June
* ^ Ó Cinnéide, Barra (2002). Riverdance: The Phenomenon.
Ireland: Blackhall Publishing. ISBN 1-901657-90-6 .
* ^ O'Toole, Leagues (2006). The Humours of Planxty. Ireland:
Hodder & Stoughton. pp. 296–299. ISBN 0-340-83796-9 .
* ^ "
Riverdance Unveiled at Eurovision in