andrew kruse-ross | riverdance | feb. 2018
Logging enough miles to travel around the world 30 times, with 11,500 performances and witnessed by more than 25 million people in 47 countries across six continents, there's no denying the amazing success of Riverdance.
Twenty years since the Irish dance phenomenon first took audiences by storm, Riverdance returns with The 20th Anniversary World Tour. That tour makes a stop at Green Bay's Weidner Center for performances on Feb. 20 and 21.
For principle dancer Amy-Mae Dolan, her lead roll in this production is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.
Taking a few moments to answer some questions while on tour, Dolan spoke with Frankly about her achievement, the current tour and Riverdance's longevity.
Many consider Riverdance to be the best dance production in the world; how important an achievement is it to be a part of this production?
Riverdance is the best dance production in the world. It is truly an honor to be a part of Riverdance. It is the optimum accomplishment for all Irish dancers. It has been my ambition for as long as I can remember to get to perform to the sensational music every night alongside many inspirational dancers. We are very lucky to get the opportunity to improve every night and bring the best show we can possibly do to a new audience, every city.
For those that have had a chance to see Riverdance in the past, are there new elements to the show incorporated into this tour? To those that maybe haven't seen Riverdance before, what are they in for?
Technically the show has changed because technology has advanced so much in 20 years. Lighting, staging, set, etc. has been refined over the 20 years, all adding to the show. In these ways the show has changed yet in other ways it hasn't changed at all, staying true to its simple sophistication.
Every new performer that joins the show brings something different and exciting and so you never see the same show twice. Over the 20 years of the show the dancers have grown into, not only fantastic dancers, but incredible performers. We treat every night as an opportunity to improve. We are learning more and more every day on not only how to improve our fitness and dancing but also our storytelling; the feeling behind our dancing which really captivates the audience.
There is an incredible new number added to the show titled “Anna Livia." It is an a capella, hard shoe number for the female Irish dancers. It is a tribute to the empowerment and grace of all female Irish dancers highlighting their incredible strength. All the exciting changes and the growth of the show over the 20 years makes this the best the show has been. For those that haven't seen the show before will absolutely love the music and dance extravaganza. We have the fantastic Irish dancers but also a flamenco dancer, Russian folk dancers and American tap dancers. It is incredible to see how the different dance styles interact and infuse with one another. The music is very special and will fill you with excitement. You will leave the show elated and full of excitement, having just witnessed something very unique.
Is there a specific act or event in the current show that is your favorite? Why?
I really do love all elements of the show and each for different reasons. As female lead I get to perform many numbers throughout the show that illustrate elegance, independence and fierce empowerment. One of my favorite numbers to perform is the iconic number “Riverdance." It is the number that captivated the world as the interval act at the 1994 Eurovision song contest.
The spectacular music, composed by Bill Whelan, is simply magical. The energy it creates throughout the dancers on stage and audience is incredible. The number includes the famous chorus line of over 20 dancers performing in perfect unison. We finish this number every night to deafening cheers and applause. I love seeing the smiles on people's faces and I get such joy performing this number. It feels really special to perform the number that began the amazing show that is Riverdance.
Riverdance is celebrating its 20-year anniversary with this tour. What, in your opinion, has caused such longevity?
Riverdance is original. Nothing like Riverdance had ever been seen before. It is the originality of Riverdance that captivates its audience time and time again. The Grammy award-winning music composed by Bill Whelan is electrifying; it gives the performers the most amazing buzz on stage every night and never fails to leave a smile on the audience's faces. The performers' passion and energy is incredible. We all love what we do and that excitement and elation is tangible on stage and throughout the audience. We treat every night as opening night; our pride and love for Riverdance allows us to bring our best to the stage every night. Everyone in Riverdance; the performers, crew, management all work so well together as a team — this has definitely played a huge part in Riverdance being around for over 20 years.
As Riverdance began in the mid-'90s, I wouldn't doubt that there are many new fans of the show and likely some of the current cast members that weren't born when Riverdance first appeared on Eurovision. Are you seeing new and younger fans in the audience and, if so, what is it about Riverdance that you feel connects with them?
It's crazy, I was not born when Riverdance began. I have grown up watching Riverdance and I might not have even been a dancer if my parents had not witnessed the performance at the Eurovision song contest that took the world by storm. There are so many new and young audience members every night. They love Riverdance just as much, if not more, than the previous audiences that have enjoyed the show so much the past 20 years. The show will never get old. It is so unique and special that it mesmerizes each new audience member. The music always connects with the audience and people are captivated by the many dance forms presented every night. Riverdance is a family show, everyone loves it, young or old and one of the reasons is because they can really feel the performers' passion leaving them full of joy.
Catch Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary Tour at the Weidner Center on Tuesday, Feb. 20 and Wednesday, Feb. 21. Both shows are at 7:30 p.m.
For more information visit WeidnerCenter.com.
For tickets visit TicketStarOnline.com.
--banner image by Rob McDogall