Riverdance is stage show that draws inspiration from traditional Irish dance and music. The show’s dancing is famous for its heavy reliance on dramatic leg movements.
The Celtic influenced score was originally composed by Bill Whelan.
In October of 2015, to celebrate Riverdance’s 25th anniversary, a robust tour of the United States was launched. Riverdance tickets were collected in cities all over the U.S. including Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Philadelphia.
Riverdance came to life on April 30, 1994 as a seven-minute “interval performance act” for the Eurovision Song Contest. Their routine earned a standing ovation from audience.
Even though it was less than ten minutes long, Riverdance was so impressive that it was booked to participate at the Royal Varity Performance, in front of Prince Charles, on Nov. 28, 1994.
The first full-length performance of Riverdance occurred on Feb. 9, 1995 in Dublin. The show, which was produced by husband and wife team John McColgan and Moya Doherty, ran for five weeks and was a huge success.
Riverdance opened in London in June of 1995 and enjoyed a four-week run of sell outs. It returned in October of 1995 for a scheduled six-week run that turned into 19 weeks (151 sold out shows).
The success of Riverdance’s 19-week run in London was amazing when you consider that it opened without its two lead dancers: Jean Butler and Michael Flatley.
Butler was injured while Flatley was forced out by producers just 21 hours before the curtain rose.
Michael Flatley might be synonymous with Riverdance (he did choreograph the original seven-minute dance as well as many others) but left the show rather early in its history. He left due to creative differences and money issues.
Flatley and Butler are far from the show’s only famous hoofers. Other notable dancers that have appeared in Riverdance productions include Colin Dunne, Joanna Doyle, and Breandan de Gallai.
Riverdance first came to America in 1996. The show played to five consecutive sellout crowds at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Then in 2000, Riverdance played on Broadway (Gershwin Theater).
Through the years, Riverdance has embarked on several successful tours that have visited just about every corner of the world.
Initially, the show began by booking arenas and large theatres. Nowadays, it sticks to smaller and more intimate venues.