By Naomi Gold
Photos by Jack Hartin
There's an oft-repeated phrase in the world of competitive sports: "The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat". Applied to the iconic Irish production known as RIVERDANCE, the thrill of victory essentially serves to affirm its colossal success. The latter part however, might be restated as 'ecstasy of de feet', to reflect the exquisite footwork of its protagonists. When RIVERDANCE announced its North American farewell tour, Evenko and Broadway Across Canada teamed up to produce two shows at Place des Arts' Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier.
Although the production incorporates extensive vocal, fiddle, percussion and other musical solos, the predominant element is of course, dance. In fact a dizzying plethora of genres is performed, from traditional Irish stepdance to folk, jazz, flamenco, soft-shoe cum moonwalk-esque maneouvres and more. After much tapping, swiveling, spinning, sashaying, and soaring it was time to bid 'Riverdancers' adieu. The delighted crowd, which comprised a cross section of cultures, generations and tastes, erupted in a cacophony of bravos. Principal dancers Callum Spencer & Chloey Turner, along with ensembles and chorus, brought the house UP, during a boisterous, extended curtain call.
The global phenomenon that celebrates Irish culture, RIVERDANCE premiered at Dublin's Point Theatre in 1995 and made its American debut in New York City in 1996. It garnered stellar reviews and was an immediate hit.
Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, RIVERDANCE has been performed 10,000 times for some 22 million people in 40 countries, with a worldwide broadcast viewing audience of 2 billion. Although this is North America's finale, RIVERDANCE will continue to tour other parts of the world. Slán libh Riverdance, and until we meet again.....!