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Riverdance is a theatrical show consisting of traditional Irish step dancing, notable for its rapid leg movements while body and arms are kept largely stationary.
Riverdance was first performed during the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, in a seven-minute format produced by Moya Doherty, John McColgan , dancers Michael Flatley and Jean Butler and composer Bill Whelan. The music accompanying the dancing, composed by Bill Whelan, which featured the Irish choral group Anúna, the RTE Concert Orchestra and assorted traditional musicians, was released as a single in Ireland, where it went straight to number one and remained there for eighteen weeks.
The Eurovision broadcast has been cited as one of the crucial moments in the creation of the Celtic Tiger myth amongst the Irish themselves ? a moment when to be Irish was to be at the forefront of European culture. (Others cited include Ray Houghton scoring against either England in 1988 or Italy in 1994 and Mary Robinson being elected President of Ireland in 1990.)
The Eurovision performance featured an opening section entitled "Cloudsong" featuring Anúna, directed by Dublin composer Michael McGlynn. Anúna were founded in 1987 and continue performing and recording to this day. They left the show in 1996, and their unusual choral sound has brought them success in their own right. They have recorded nine albums, and feature on all versions since 1996 of the Riverdance album.
In November 1994, tickets were sold in Dublin for the first full-length show of Riverdance, which opened at the Point Theatre on February 9, 1995 including in the cast Irish Dancing Champion Jean Butler. The show ran for five weeks and was a sell-out. Later in 1995, the show enjoyed another sell-out run of six weeks at the Point Theatre, and two sell-out runs of four and eighteen weeks at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. In October 1995 Michael Flatley, who had been with the show since its inauguration, quit the production due to mutual "creative differences" with the owners over its direction ? he went on to produce his own show, Lord of the Dance.
In March 1996, the show was performed in the United States for the first time ? at Radio City Music Hall in New York City ? where it sold out eight times. Between March 2000 and August 2001, the show was performed on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre.
On March 5, 2002, the 5,000th performance of the show was celebrated in Edinburgh and San Francisco.
Riverdance continues to be performed all over the world. Each production company is named after an Irish river. Currently performing companies are the Boyne (touring the United States), Avoca and Foyle (in Europe). Current productions are half the size of the original performances.
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Want to talk about your event now? Give us a call at (212) 645-0555 and one of our booking agents will be happy to help you immediately.
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