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.


Riverdance was first performed during the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest on April 30. This first performance featured Irish Dancing Champion Jean Butler, Michael Flatley and the Celtic choral group Anúna with a score written by Bill Whelan. Whelan also composed "Timedance" - an early version of "Riverdance" for the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, performed by Planxty. Flatley choreographed for himself and Jean Butler choreographed her solo and the troupe. A video of the Eurovision interval performance was released by the Irish broadcaster Radio Telefís Éireann under the title Riverdance for Rwanda with all proceeds going to the Rwanda Appeal Disasters Joint Appeal Committee. Many of the dance troupe featured in this performance subsequently went on to dance principal roles in later productions of "Riverdance the Show". Riverdance is produced and directed by husband and wife, John McColgan and Moya Doherty, controlled through their production company Abhann Productions based in Dublin.

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. The show ran for five weeks and was a sell-out.

Michael Flatley left the show reportedly over creative differences with the producers before the show's first run in London. Irish dancer Colin Dunne stepped into the role of lead dancer and went on to perform in subsequent productions before leaving the show in 1998.

After successful runs in other cities in Europe, Riverdance traveled to New York City to perform at the legendary Radio City Music Hall in March 1996. This was the first time the show was performed in America. To the relief of the producers, the show was a success. Anúna left the show in September of that year.

In 2000, Riverdance was on Broadway for a year at the Gershwin Theatre with an all-new show, featuring dance leads Pat Roddy and Eileen Martin and singers Brian Kennedy and Tsidii Le Loka.

Riverdance continues to be performed all over the world, albeit in a diminished format and in smaller venues than hitherto. Current productions are geared towards smaller theatres, whereas past productions have been performed in large theatres and arenas. Thus, sets have been simplified and some numbers contain fewer performers than in past productions (such as those seen on the Live from Radio City and Live from Arena Geneva DVDs). For example, current touring productions of the show have 20 dancers in the finale, Heartland, where as 24 were used in the original Dublin show and 32 were used in the arena shows. Each production company is named after an Irish river. Currently performing companies are the Boyne touring in North America, Corrib in Europe, and Foyle in Ireland.

Dance Numbers and Songs Performed

Riverdance song and dance numbers
Riverdance The Show Riverdance Live From New York Riverdance Live From Geneva

  1. Reel Around The Sun
  2. The Heart’s Cry
  3. women of Ireland
  4. Caoineadh Cú Chulainn
  5. Distant Thunder
  6. Firedance
  7. Cloudsong
  8. Riverdance
  9. Lift The Wings
  10. Freedom
  11. Harlem to Hollywood *
  12. Andalucia *
  13. Macedonia Morning *
  14. Marta's Dance - Russian Dervish
  15. Hope to the Suffering *
  16. Flute Solo - Michael Flatley *
  17. Home And The Heartland
  18. Heartland
  19. Riverdance International

* Those numbers can be seen only on the European VHS tape. They were cut down for the American release.

  1. Reel Around The Sun
  2. The Heart's Cry
  3. Countess Cathleen - Women of the Sidhe
  4. Caoineadh Chú Chulainn
  5. Thunderstorm
  6. Firedance
  7. Slip Into Spring - The Harvest
  8. Cloudsong
  9. Riverdance
  10. American Wake (The Nova Scotia Set)
  11. Lift The Wings
  12. Heal Their Hearts - Freedom
  13. Trading Taps
  14. Marta's Dance - Russian Dervish
  15. Oscail An Doras
  16. Heartbeat Of The world
  17. Homecoming
  18. Home And The Heartland
  19. Heartland
  20. Riverdance International

  1. Reel Around the Sun
  2. The Heart's Cry
  3. Countess Cathleen - Women of the Sidhe
  4. Caoinedh Chu Chulainn
  5. Thunderstorm
  6. Shivna
  7. Firedance
  8. Slip into Spring - The Harvest
  9. Cloudsong
  10. Riverdance
  11. American Wake (The Nova Scotia Set)
  12. Lift the Wings
  13. Harbor of the New World
  14. Slow Air/The Tunes
  15. Home and the Heartland
  16. Heartland
  17. Finale/ Riverdance International

  • Riverdance Show #4 (Not Yet Produced)

A 4th show has not yet been planned for production at this time. This has been confirmed by Detroit Public TV recently VIA E-Mail from the network.

See also


External links

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