has become a stage legend from the time it was first performed as an interval show during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Few at that time believed that the idea would transcend normal parameters of success & go on to become a significant outlet of Irish culture. It has gone from strength to strength since then, culminating in four different productions, a Broadway hit & tours to each nook & cranny of the first world. Irish tradition has had its moment in the sun with this riveting characterization, & sales for Riverdance tickets
will continue to soar for its final American run.
originated from Timedance
performed in 1981. Timedance
was a brainchild of popular Irish folk band Planxty. The four-piece band was joined by composer Bill Whelan & young Cork fiddler Nollaig Casey for their shows. The original three-part suite of baroque influenced traditional Celtic music was performed by the lineup in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest. The 1994 Eurovision Song Contest saw the moment which significantly shaped worldwide perceptions of Irish music & step-dancing. It was held at Dublin’s Point Theater on 30th
April, & Whelan followed up Timedance
’s success by creating a piece for the seven-minute interval. He was aided by the RTE Concert Orchestra & Celtic choral group Anuna, & the performance featured Irish Dancing Champions Jean Butler & Michael Flatley, the first American to win the accolade. Act I opened with an ode to the elemental powers embraced by earth’s primitive inhabitants. Later scenes depicted the strength & sustenance of the sun, the mysterious secrets of hearts & darkness, and the fierce independence of the women race. There is mourning of the Celtic folk hero Chu Chulain, portrayals of the maddening myth of Shivna, displays of nature’s violent temperament, & finally a slip into spring, bringing new growth & vitality in the form of the Riverdance
. Act II follows the hardships & adaptations of the Irish people as, decimated by slavery & famine, they were forcibly dispossessed by the land they loved, & migrated to America as families were torn apart. In the angst of separation, the promise of a better tomorrow revived them, & they learnt to revel in their heritage, splashing the streets with color & embracing the diversity of cultures like Macedonia & Andalucia. The tug of home was eventually too powerful, & emboldened with their newfound confidence, they returned to spread the message of oneness & join in a universal celebration.
What was intended to be a space-filler in the Eurovision Song Contest to highlight popular attributes of Irish culture ended up becoming a sensation beamed out to 300 million worldwide viewers, receiving a standing ovation. Since then, Riverdance
has blazed a trail of success throughout the world on multiple platforms. The single released after the show went on to top Irish charts, even reaching #9 in UK. John McColgan & Moya Doherty (producers/directors) started the first full-length five-week Riverdance
show that sold over 120,000 tickets in 1995. The record-smashing UK video release followed, occupying the top two chart positions for seven months, before successful reruns in the Apollo Hammersmith & Dublin resulted in international touring. Broadway’s Gershwin Theater hosted a year’s hugely popular production. Flatley left his post, to be succeeded by the talented Colin Dunne, and Riverdance
blossomed into a show with three continental touring companies: Boyne (North America), Corrib (Europe), & Foyle (Ireland). After 15 years, the farewell tours started in 2010, though officials have said Riverdance
will expand to other countries soon.
shows currently are playing in US, Canada & Ireland. Enthusiasts with Cheap Riverdance tickets
swamped New York’s Radio City Music Hall in the mid-90s, & the frenzy continues. Although the performing troupe has decreased for smaller venues, the dancers’ boundless energy, wonderfully choreographed skills, & powerful representation of a universal message have made it a sure-shot crowd favorite.
has reignited the beautiful traditions of a culture that suffered sever repression but emerged ever the stronger. It is an ode to the endurance of life & the universality of values, & fans will doubtless be left scrambling for Riverdance tickets
to enjoy an ethereal experience.