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Ossus Library Index Live Show Index

RIVERDANCE

Composed by Bill Whelan

The coming of the Acadians to North America, through music and dance.

 

 

April 28th, 2007 for the third time

 
    This time around, when I knew I was going to see Riverdance, I kept the soundtrack CD out of my player. That helped, I think. The most important part, however, is being able to clearly see the visuals. This time, I made sure we were up close, and it was well worth it. As I know the music by heart anyway, seeing it is the fun part for me. As with the previous time, I was amazed at how much I didn't remember, mainly because of what was not on the CD. I think I'll have to get the video! While I like the music from the first half of the show better than the second half, I think the second half has more energy, and certainly draws the crowd in much more. I still love this dance!  

 

4 stars

May 26th, 2002 for the second time

 
    I must admit to having listened to the soundtrack CD to this show a few many times too often.  I think this lessens the impact of the show, which would otherwise be outstanding.  Still, I was impressed, very impressed.

The best parts of the show this time around were those segments that were not on the soundtrack.  This includes most of the singing, which was absolutely haunting. 

There was very little story to follow, which made it a little difficult to link the separate segments.  It appears to me that the first half takes place in Ireland, where the people are poor, waiting for a new life, or hope for a new life.  When the second part starts, people are saying good-bye, and are perhaps leaving for the New World.  When they arrive, most of what we see is joy.

As a result, the first half is not as energetic as the second half.  It is in no way boring, but it is just not quite as interesting.  Of course, the people three rows down couldn't figure out where they were supposed to sit, so they were a constant distraction through half of the first act.  Still, the dancing, chanting, singing were all amazing.  My favorite parts are still the step dancing-tap dancing combinations.  The two lead dancers were incredible, and loaned their energy and routines to the others on stage, as well.  They entered and exited the stage as individuals, and left the same way, in an interesting series of moves.

The songs that accompanied both acts were simply haunting.  Some of it was in English, but I think the most part of it was probably some form of Gaelic.  It was undoubtedly mournful of some loss or separation. When they have arrived in America, the songs are still slow and haunting, but are somehow very much happier.  There was one set that showed love between the two leads that was passionate and effortless.  It was beautiful.

But the main attraction was the dancing.  I don't understand what the Spanish woman was doing in this show, being of Irish immigrants, but she was mesmerizing.  In two sequences, she danced up a storm.  The first, again in the first act, was more sad, even though she showed off against other dancers.  In the second act, she let loose, and had incredible energy, and more incredible footwork.

The best part of the show had to be the step competition.  Two black men were dancing to their jazz beat, tippety-tappity in their tap shoes, doing an incredible job.  Then, along come three Irish boys, with their fiddler.  They compete in a stunning set of sequences that had the whole audience in cheers and laughter.  The competition was good-natured, and by the end, they were friends.  But while trying to get the appreciation of the audience, the two groups did some amazing things.  They could even dance out specific beats, over and over.  It was incredible.

After that, the ensembles were the most engrossing of all the acts.  When they got together on stage, all the dancers were completely mesmerizing, nearly every one of them blondes or red-heads.  And when the two leads joined them, things got even better. 

The music was also amazing, especially the Riverdance theme.  Fortunately, the band was lit up in the background for much of the show, and if we could tear our eyes away from the dancers, we could appreciate what they were doing, as well. It is unfortunate that all of this didn't make its way onto the soundtrack. 

But it is also fortunate, because there were some things that I could look forward to that I had completely forgotten about.  I still love the music, and putting it all together with the terrific dancing makes for a totally engrossing and entertaining performance.

 

 

5 stars

Also seen in June, 1999

 
   

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