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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Review: Riverdance has lost none of its appeal

Irish dance phenom goes out in full high-stepping glory

It may bill itself as the 20th anniversary tour, but the Irish dance phenom Riverdance has actually been around for 24. Despite its age, it is not difficult to see its now almost quarter century appeal.

Getting its start as an interval performance during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, the full-scale show began the following year. Since then, Riverdance has been performed over 11,500 times, in front of an estimated 25 million people in 47 countries.  And based on the opening night reception, audiences still can’t get enough.

So, what continues to bring in appreciative audiences?

Many will be drawn to exquisite precision, and sheer athleticism of the Irish dance itself. Others will delight in the act two showstopper, “Trading Taps”, where the now Irish immigrants engage in a friendly dance battle with American tap dancers, Lamont Brown and Tyler Knowlin. Still more will appreciate the flamenco solos by Marina Claudio Manso, and the high-flying Russian numbers.

And then there is the music, brought to life by the tight four-member band, who at times become as much a part of Riverdance, as they are necessary.  While the quartet is superb in their own-right, it is long-time percussionist and musical director, Mark Alfred, who is astonishing to watch, as he provides the heartbeat of this show.

Vancouver may mark the conclusion of this 20th anniversary tour, but one can be sure it isn’t the last we’ve heard from Riverdance. After all, its 25th anniversary is mere months away.

Riverdance continues at Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre through April 15. Visit for tickets and information.

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