Wednesday, February 22, 2017

20 Years of a Gravity-Defying, Gasp-Inducing Dance Phenomenon

Photo by Rob McDougal.
By Guest Blogger, Ken Grant
Ken Grant has worked in Delaware media, politics and marketing for 25 years. He and his Lovely Bride enjoy Wilmington's arts and culture scene as much as they can.

There's a reason more than 25 million people have come out to see Riverdance over the past two decades. This show brings dance, music, story and song together in a way that leaves the audience with goosebumps, smiles and questions about physics.

The show, featuring a troupe of more than 40 dancers and musicians, started in the mid-90s and centers on the rich tradition of Irish dance with a mix of Russian, Spanish and American tap.

Some statistics about Riverdance since it started in Dublin in 1995:

  • 11,000 performances
  • Performed in more than 467 venues, 46 countries, 6 continents
  • Holds the Guinness World Record for “Longest Riverdance Line” with 1,693 participants
  • 2,000 Irish dancers
  • 20,000 Dance shoes
  • 15,000 costumes
  • 400,000 gallons of water consumed
  • 75,000 gallons of Gatorade consumed
  • 16,250 guitar, bass and fiddle strings replaced
  • 60 marriages between company members
  • 88 Riverdance babies born (so far)
  • 17,500 hours of rehearsal on tour
  • 6,000,000 pounds of dry ice used
  • 70,000 pounds of chocolate consumed by the cast (for energy)
The production is set up as a seamless series of scenes, each with its own mini-storyline. There's expressions of joy, community, flirtation, fun and friendly competition throughout the show. Mostly though, there's a display of dancing ability that leads the audience to gasp in amazement.

One audience member noted that the way the dancers’ legs moved reminded them of marionettes, as if the joints were connecting the thigh and shin in a way that allows the feet to fly in any direction.
The musicianship demonstrated in Riverdance deserves special recognition. The drums, Irish fiddle, saxophone, low whistle and uilleann pipes combine to create a soundscape that carries the audience from the Irish countryside to the city streets of America and back again.

This is a remarkable show that provides quality entertainment for everyone. You don’t want to miss your chance to catch this experience at The Playhouse this week.


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