‘Riverdance’ shares blending of culture


By McKenna Cooley

The “Riverdance” troupe performing their world famous number “Riverdance.” Photo by Tor Lindstrand
The Riverdance troupe performs one of their dances during “Riverdance.” Photo by Tor Lindstrand

The Broadway show “Riverdance” is currently celebrating their 20-year anniversary on stage. They traveled to the Smith Center to perform Jan. 26-31 touching audiences with their story.

To start off Act One, a female member of the “Riverdance” Irish Dance Troupe sang a short song alongside their lead whistle player, Matt Bashford. This set the soft tone for the troupe’s first properly named “Reel Around the Sun.” As each dancer came out and showed their abilities to the crowd, they added to the growing circle. Then together they showed perfect precision and rhythm as they danced to the modern twist of an Irish song.

Their next stand out moment was during their iconic routine, “Riverdance,” for which they are best known. It had everything: high kicks, unison, precision, and constant formation changes.

Throughout the show, other cultures were expressed with the help of The Russian Ensemble, tappers, flamenco dancer, and the band. The Russian Ensemble brought the strong presence of Russian culture and music with their precise, loud, and unified movements. The two young tappers of the ensemble, Rohan Pinnock-Hamilton and Tyler Knowlin, lightened the tone when they brought the feeling of watching a good old-fashioned dance battle on the streets of New York City. The flamenco soloist, Rocio Montoya, showcased multiple solos throughout the show expressing the Spanish influence with the turns and twists of her skirt. By setting the mood of each dance with the help of both traditional and modern instruments, the “Riverdance” band should be given credit for having one of the most important roles in the whole production.

The Smith Center also played a major role in experiencing “Riverdance.” They placed microphones on the stage to catch the sound of every step. Their speakers made it easy to hear the singers, band members, and narrator who directed the story. Their visual effects added more visual context for viewers to follow throughout the story.

The best moment in the show was at the end when each person took a moment to once again showcase his or her abilities. All of the different styles and dances had their own moment to shine. The show isn’t just about the Irish and their culture as it travels with them, but rather about the people and other cultures that influence them along the way.

Before they took their final bows, the actors all stood together in a line. Every member of the cast did a classic Irish line clogging dance in perfect unison. They took their final bows together and exited the stage as the curtain closed.

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McKenna Cooley is a senior this year as well as co-editor-in-chief with Karen Pegueros. This is her third year on staff. She enjoys writing news and feature stories. She is very excited about the upcoming year and the future of the website. Her favorite quote, which relates to her sport archery, is “An arrow can only be shot by being pulled back. When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it is about to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.”