'The Dance Continues'
As most all of you know by now, '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. In fact, 'Riverdance' was first performed during the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest on April 30.
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 and Michael Flatley. The show ran for five weeks and was a sell-out.
Indeed, 'Riverdance' continues to be performed all over the world.
Dublin-born Zara Curtis commenced Irish dance with the Michelle Lee School at the age of six. She soon excelled, becoming a champion Irish dancer, placing in the top five in the All Ireland and Leinster Championships and winning the Dublin title. Zara has a keen interest in other forms of dance and a love of the stage.
She has previously toured internationally with Ireland’s leading traditional Cabaret shows. A member of the Riverdance Flying Squad for three years while in secondary school and for the first year English and History degree course, her academic studies were put on hold to tour with Riverdance in 2004.
Zara is proud to be the first An Comhdhail dancer to perform the principal role with Riverdance. Having danced the principal role in Europe and Japan, Zara is delighted to perform it with the North American tour.
Taking it from the top and just what is it about 'Riverdance' that has continued to enthrall critics and audiences alike year after year; and indeed here now in its 12th year? "The energy 'Riverdance' has continued throughout the years. Even though we dance the show 8 times a week we still keep the performance fresh because there are still people seeing the show for the first time. I think that the combination of the rhythm of the dancers’ feet and the Grammy award winning music still impresses the audiences worldwide."
For anyone who mysteriously may not have heard or read of this wonderful show, please tell them more about the role you play and how pivotal to the show you are? "I am the female principal Irish dancer. Myself and the principal male Irish dancer lead the troupe in all of the Irish dance numbers in the show. I dance both soft shoe and hard shoe and in different numbers. I represent different things, for example in ‘Countess Cathleen’ I represent the strength of Ireland and in Riverdance I embody the river."
Originally conceived as a 7-minute intermission piece of entertainment during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, it has since evolved into this incredible performance we all see today. Does it evolve every year or do you stay in line with prior years so as to not confuse anyone?! "The show quintessentially has stayed the same, why fix what isn’t broken!? It has evolved in some ways but the overall effect is still as impressive. The main change would be that there are different dancers. There have also been new costumes added over the years and a couple of the numbers have been slightly altered."
During your dance scenes it seems logical that whilst performing live if something can go wrong it will go wrong! What have been some of the most embarrassing incidents that have left you shaking your head ... and how did you handle them? "The most embarrassing thing that has happened to me on stage is falling over! In a live show anything can happen and especially dancing on different stages every night it is slightly different. I slipped and fell over when running back on stage to gesture to the male lead at the end of the show, as we take our bow. The audience took in a collective gasp, worried if I was hurt, but I jumped straight back up and continued, flashed a smile to show I was ok and the audience cheered!"
When you are not on tour performing in 'Riverdance' what do you classify as your day job away from the stage? "Before I joined the cast of the show I was studying in University in Ireland. So when I’m not on the stage I will finish my degree. I also have an interest in teaching Irish dancing and I am doing my teaching exam this summer when I am finished this tour."
Please tell us something about the show to look out for to entice all our readers to come see you in Detroit this month! Perhaps its a moment so well orchestrated, so precisely scripted, that if it goes off without a hitch it should bring the house down! "There are so many well orchestrated moments! 'Riverdance', the number that the show is named after is always very popular. It is the last dance in the first have of the show. It begins with the Choir singing ‘Cloudsong,’ then I dance a soft shoe piece, then the male lead bursts on stage in hard shoes and the whole dances comes to a crescendo when I re-enter and all the Irish dance troupe join us on stage. It always gets a great reaction. Another very popular number is 'Trading Taps', which involves the Male Irish dancers and the Tap dancers."
Finally, and to leave us with some toe-tappin', foot-stompin' ideas, what's the best way for the Average Joe to perform selections of 'Riverdance' in their own front room?! "Well, the important things to remember when trying it yourself at home are that you have to stand up straight, hands in fists by your side. Stand with your heels together, feet turned out. When dancing we make the beats with the balls of our feet. Have fun! It’s great exercise!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a pair of tickets to come see RIVERDANCE this Friday, the 16th of March at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, MI, just answer this easy question: Which composer was honoured with the 1997 Grammy Award for 'Best Musical Show Album' for his 'Riverdance' record?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win a pair of these wonderful RIVERDANCE tickets. Please note that our giveaway is for the two (2) tickets only. Just send us an e:mail here with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: RIVERDANCE TICKETS to:
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