How much do riverdance dancers get paid

What It's Really Like... To Tour With Riverdance

They say the grass is always greener and this can certainly be the case when it comes to jobs so in a new series of articles, will be sitting down with people in a series of professions to get a true picture of what it is like to walk in their shoes.

Siobhán Manson is the lead female dancer with touring phenomenon Riverdance, which returns to The Gaiety Theatre this summer to celebrate the show's 20th anniversary. The dancer trained with the Hession School of Dance in Galway before joining Riverdance in 2005. She tells about the highs and lows of touring the world as an Irish dancer.


How did you get into Irish dancing?

I started with the Hession School of Dance and did competitions for years and years. I was offered a show in France and did that for a few months. After that, I'd caught the bug!

It’s funny because nowadays for people coming out of competition, going professional is an option that’s there but when I was finishing school, it kinda seemed unattainable in a way. It just wasn’t in my mind at that point.


Once I went to France on that show, people told me that you could send in audition tapes and that’s how shows are usually cast. I think I was very lucky with timing because I just sent in the tape as somebody was leaving the company. Then I went and did a one-on-one audition in the Gaiety, I’ll never forget it!

What is the hardest part of the job?

The actual physical act of dancing each night is tough but it’s funny because most of the good things are the bad things and vice versa.

Obviously, I’m getting to do something that I love, night in, night out, and that’s amazing but it does take its toll on your legs as well and you have to take care of yourself like eating right, icing after each performance etc. The show is great because they provide ice buckets and we have physiotherapists and masseuses that will travel with us. They take really good care of us but it’s up to yourself as well, you have to take very good care of yourself too.


It’s hard being away for so long as well, even though that’s a positive thing as you get to travel and see the world. I’ve been to amazing places that I probably wouldn’t ever see otherwise but then at the same time, you’re not seeing your family or friends for months on end. That can be really tough as well. You go through ups and downs, you have bad days where you miss home and then you have others when you realise you have this amazing life and you’re like ‘I’m so lucky!’.

What is it like to work on a show that is so well-regarded?

It’s a massive honour, it really is. It’s so well known internationally that a lot of people will call Irish dancing ‘riverdancing’! They mix up the type of dancing with the show, that’s how internationally recognised it is. It’s such an honour and everywhere we go, we’re so well received by whoever the host is. It was the original show so it’s great that it’s still going.

How are the ensemble feeling about returning to Dublin?


Dublin is the highlight of everyone’s year, it’s great to be at home. Your friends can come and see you, your family can come and see you, you can go to work as if it’s a regular job but you’re doing the show as well so it’s such a highlight. We always get such great support from everyone here, the crowds are always great. The Gaiety is brilliant as well because it’s so intimate, it’s such a small theatre, compared to our arena tours, so it’s great to have the audience so close. I love that because you can feel the audience responding.

Why do you think Riverdance has been so successful?

It’s a combination of things, I think. It’s the blend of music and dance and because it was something that was so different and so new when it was first seen. They knew something big was going to come from it, instinctually, and it’s the kind of show that has something for everyone. The music is amazing; I’ll never ever get tired of listening to the music. Also, there’s pop dancers, Moscow Folk Ballet Company and loads more. A lot of people don’t realise that before they come see it!

What is a typical day like on tour with the show?


We would generally spend a week in each city so you’re on the road on a Monday and on a Tuesday, you’ll get up, go for breakfast and try to see as much of the city as you can.

If you have a show the night before, you’ll sleep late and then we usually go into work at about 6pm, where you might have a massage or go to the physio before the group warm-up session. That usually consists of about 20 minutes of cardio. Hair and make-up is usually done before the warm-up because we try and do that as close as possible to the show. You’ve got about 15 to 20 minutes to get yourself and your costumes together, because we have a lot of fast changes in the show, and then it’s showtime!

After nine years, do you still get nervous before a show?

I’ll never forget the first time that I danced lead. I was in the wing and I was so nervous because I was in Dublin and my dance teacher and all my family were there. I was thinking ‘I am never going to do this to myself again. I’m going to do this now because I can’t get out of it but I am never doing this again, I’m going to walk out the door afterwards!’.

I always would get a little bit nervous when I dance lead because it’s a new crowd or a new venue. I think the nerves help as well. I wouldn’t want to be without the nerves but at the same time, it’s muscle memory at this stage so you’re not worried about your steps, it’s just the silly things!

Is it hard to come down from the buzz after a show?

After every show, there’s a big adrenaline rush so you come off the stage covered in sweat and do a bit of a cool down, ice, shower and all that. Then we’ll go back to the hotel and depending on the night, we’ll sit up and have a drink or go out. It’s rare that you’d go straight to bed because you’d be on such a high.

There's been some controversy over the image associated with Irish dancing, particularly the use of heavy make-up and tan on young children. Where do you stand on that?

It has been controversial but I’ll defend it in the sense that the kids are performing, the same way that we are. With Riverdance, we have a very natural look so you wouldn’t have lots of fake tan or heavy make-up on but we’re on stage with bright lights so up close, you would have a lot of make-up on as it’s necessary. Any actor is the same.

Occasionally, it can be excessive. It’s the same on a night out, you’ll always see some people going overboard. They have brought in rules recently so the younger kids can’t wear lots of make-up and that’s good because you don’t want to see that.

I do think it is unfortunate that this is what is in the spotlight at the moment about Irish dancing because I think it’s being missed that what kids can do these days is unbelievable. They are athletes, I see them in my own school in Galway. The stuff that they do and the training that they do is amazing, they are there every day for hours on end practising. People should be thinking ‘wow, that’s how far our sport has come in terms of athleticism’.

What would you like to do in the future?

I’d love to get into acting and I’ve started taking classes recently and doing a few short films and student films. I really get a great buzz of it and enjoy it so that’s something I’d like to pursue in the future.

Riverdance comes to The Gaiety Theatre from June 24th to August 31st. For more information, click here. 




I was a teenage Riverdancer – and I may never get out – The Irish Times

When the question “what do you do?” comes up with people I’ve just met, I know it won’t be long before I need to make a delicate calculation. I usually explain that I’m a dance critic and that I used to dance professionally.

“Oh, what kind of dance did you do?” they’ll ask. Or, “Who did you dance with?”

Divulging the information that “I was in Riverdance” has never been simple, not during the 4½ years I spent touring, on and off, with the Irish dance extravaganza, and not in the decade since I last set foot onstage with the show.

Most recently it happened with a colleague, an artist who knows me mainly as a critic, when she asked how my work was going, and I told her I was writing this story. “Did you know I was in Riverdance?” I said. “What? No!” she replied. “That’s so funny!”


I understand that many people feel this way – especially those from outside the Irish dance world – and I don’t entirely blame them, even as I want to leap to the show’s defence. Therein lies the problem. It doesn’t really matter how my revelation is received, or precisely what “funny” might mean; I’ve entered the maze of my own uncertainty about Riverdance.

Embarrassment and pride

As the production’s 25th-anniversary tour opens in Radio City Music Hall in New York, I realise I’ve been in a nearly lifelong relationship with this strange cultural phenomenon, one that I struggle to elucidate even for myself.

The mere sight of a Riverdance billboard – and they’re everywhere in New York right now – fills me with an uneasy mix of affection and anxiety, embarrassment and pride.

As someone who began Irish dancing in the early 1990s, just before Riverdance emerged and turned the once-provincial dance form into a global craze, I’ve become accustomed to public perceptions of the show as both an impressive spectacle, and something to joke about.

There was a time before I knew that Riverdance could be considered anything but flawless when I myself viewed it as the pinnacle of artistry. I first saw the show when I was nine, during its Radio City debut in 1996. I had been introduced to Irish dance on a family trip to Co Kerry, through a friend who lived down the road from where we were staying.

Closer to home in Massachusetts, I started taking formal lessons and, like most young people who want to excel in Irish dance, training for competitions. One day my mother found herself on hold with Aer Lingus, listening over and over to an ad for an Irish dance-and-music sensation that was coming to New York. She decided we had to go.

The show captured my heart. Compared to the steps I was learning in class, the choreography was modern, alluring, cool.

By the time I was invited to audition, during the spring of my freshman year of college, my once-unfettered enthusiasm for the show, and for Irish dance in general, had waned. But I put aside my aesthetic critiques and went through with the audition. When I got it, I left school for a semester to join the 10th-anniversary North American tour.

Evening rituals

It didn’t feel like work at first. I looked forward to the evening rituals of doing my make-up, warming up onstage and waiting in the wings at the top of the show. The dancing itself could be exhilarating. In the beginning, I thrived on the extreme precision it demanded and the challenge of delivering this before so many expectant eyes. I had never performed for such large crowds or received such ecstatic applause.

Yet after powering through eight shows a week for a couple of months, the repetition began to wear on me, more psychologically than physically. Pounding out the same steps night after night, as part of the smiling chorus line, I found myself feeling deflated, reluctant to do it again – and again.

When I learned that my contract wouldn’t be renewed, after about three months, I was more relieved than disappointed. In the next few years, I returned to the company periodically when a substitute was needed. I enjoyed seeing old friends and new places, but I never longed to do a full-fledged tour again.

If dancing and watching dance have taught me anything, it’s to be comfortable with ambiguity, and not to always seek a tidy resolution. As I anticipate being in the audience at Radio City soon, and the tangled feelings that are bound to come up, maybe I need to apply those lessons here.

Riverdance has been many things to me: a dream, an adventure, a job; a source of joy and disillusionment; an experience I sometimes miss. I was in it, and I may never get out.

– New York Times

How much do dancers earn and how to become a professional - November 1, 2018

Ivan Slavinsky



It is never easy, but wildly interesting.

Members of the FAM Factory dance team told Sport24 about the difference between a professional team and an amateur one, how much coaches earn and how long it takes to become a good dancer from scratch.

Our team is called FAM Factory and has been around for a very long time. We regularly perform at the largest dance championships throughout Russia, we work at major events. Our choreographer, Yevgeny Kevler, is one of the top choreographers in Russia, staged dances for "Dances" on TNT, "Dance" on Channel One, and has brought up more than one generation of dancers. Our team is diverse - students, office workers, teachers and coaches, but they all have one thing in common - an unimaginable love for dancing.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Evgeny Kevler (@kevbrave) on

At first, technique is not so important, it comes with experience. It is worth paying attention to physical form, especially if you prefer styles that are characterized by frequent level changes or powerful energy: you may simply not have enough strength. The breather also needs to be developed: fast choreography cannot be danced to the end if the volume of the lungs is not enough. Many dancers take up running to develop their lungs. And for the development of physical strength, functional training or crossfit are suitable - of all training, these will probably be the most useful in our business. If there is no time for this, then you need to at least minimally pump the press, do push-ups, squat. We sometimes conduct physical training classes at team training.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nadia Gera 🐾 (@gerandosina) on

and year, everything is very individual here. Many schools have their own reporting concerts and parties. As a rule, at such events, students go on stage for the first time.

If we talk about more complex numbers, then it takes a month and a half to set them up with 3-4 workouts a week for 2-3 hours. The mode of training in a serious team changes, especially if the number is complex and many dancers participate in it. A fairly common occurrence is night workouts. As you might guess, they take place at night, and, as a rule, last 5-6 hours. It's not easy, especially at first and if you have to go to work in the morning, but it's also more efficient in terms of the speed of staging the show, and the result is definitely worth it.


In the dance world, the year can be conditionally divided into two seasons - spring and autumn. All this time, championships of various levels go one after another, the most "fruitful" in this regard are April and May, as well as November and December. As a rule, all groups put on a performance a month or two in advance, but it all depends on the level of training and available time for the dancers themselves.

In general, championships are a separate and very entertaining cuisine. Dancers are constantly preparing for some kind of competition, it rarely happens that you just come and hang out aimlessly. Everything is almost like in the movie "Step Up": the whole season is the process of preparing for the competition, and in the off-season, everyone either rests, or pumps, or shoots a video.

At dance championships there is always a division according to the level of training and age: children are separated from adults, beginners are separated from professionals. And within these categories, there is also style: hip-hop, ladies, contemporary.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by F.A.M. FACTORY DANCE CREW (@fam_factory) on

Our favorite nomination is best dance show. The name speaks for itself: there are no style bindings here, the main thing is the idea and combination of styles. At some major competitions, the styles used in the show must be declared in advance, at some there are no restrictions, only creativity. Now even in some championships there is a separate Show nomination, and a separate Performance nomination. In the first case, the show should have a story and plot, in the second case, it is important who dances stronger, more powerful and cooler. And there are also solos with duets, which are not limited by styles at all, only by timing. In general, there are a lot of nominations. Beginners or people unfamiliar with dancing can get confused. But as soon as you immerse yourself in this world, everything becomes clear pretty quickly.

Refereeing at championships is always represented by top dancers: sometimes Russian, sometimes foreign, but always super authoritative. The evaluation criteria, like the judges, are also different, but they look primarily at choreography, technique, synchronism and creativity. You can earn money at good status tournaments. On average, you can get about 30 thousand per team for winning such a tournament. But it is not at all necessary that there will be prize money for winning any championship: somewhere the organizers limit themselves to cups and gifts from sponsors.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by F.A.M. FACTORY DANCE CREW (@fam_factory) on


Nutrition is a matter of personal preference. Most dancers are ordinary people, so until their legs start to fall off, few people even think about nutrition and injury prevention. Many are killed in training, and few people know how to recover, they do not take care. If you don’t eat normally, you may not have enough strength for the whole season. Protein and BCAAs often help out, but in reality, for some reason, few people use them.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Nadia Gera 🐾 (@gerandosina) on

A: Regular exercise is usually enough to stay in shape. Although, of course, you need to take care of yourself, but adults who have survived a couple of injuries or dancers who work in commerce are already thinking about this.

"Sneakers kill instantly"

As for clothes, this is a separate topic of conversation, which will take more than one hour. Firstly, the style of dance and what you dance in are very closely related. No one will go dancing popping in leggings or short shorts, twerk in sweatpants, too, you know, I don’t rub, like a strip in a baseball cap. Things are, of course, very important. You can't really train in Chinese sneakers. Not even because they are uncomfortable, they just fall apart in a moment. In general, if you danced at least once in shoes, then you can say goodbye to it - it only kills if you train often and for a long time. Especially for us, jazzfunkers, because a lot of techniques are combined, the foot is actively working. And it’s good for contemporary people in general: they dance barefoot in socks, and with simpler things - they put on something very wide and similar to oversized pajamas - and you are the most fashionable in the class.

Income and expenses

As for the payment for training for teams, it is similar to amateur sports sections: in many teams, participants pay a monthly fee, which includes the rent of the hall and the work of the choreographer.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by F.A.M. FACTORY DANCE CREW (@fam_factory) on

Is it possible to make money from dancing? Of course, there is plenty of work. First, dance schools. There are now ten of them at each metro station, a novice teacher, if desired, will quickly find a job. But if you want to get into a top school as a teacher, then you need to work hard, have a name, constantly upgrade, be socially active, shoot videos and shine at the same championships. The main thing is not to be lazy.

There is also such a great thing as commerce - these are corporate parties, working with stars, large events and the like. Such projects are well paid, and it is always interesting to participate in them. We somehow opened with our show a major event of stylists - Wella Trend Vision. There was so much creativity and creativity behind the scenes that we ourselves were inspired by the most do not indulge. It was very interesting to watch all this behind-the-scenes turmoil and the process of creating images.

On March 22, 2022, by a court decision, Meta, the social networks Instagram and Facebook were recognized as an extremist organization, their activities on the territory of the Russian Federation are prohibited.

Everyone is dancing - Ogonyok No. 12 (4599) dated 03/28/1999

1K 5 minutes. ...

Our Russian craziness is yet to come


The world is going crazy with Irish dance company Riverdance,

Irish version of the Moiseev Ensemble

E If you did not know that Irish culture is a global phenomenon, now you will have to believe it. As well as the fact that if any dance is put on Irish music, he will only benefit from this. How do you like this strange idea? ..

In the meantime, more than 6.5 million people have already joined it, having watched more than two thousand performances of the Irish show. Once they get to the performance, people come again, bring friends and relatives, those bring their relatives and colleagues, and for four years already Riverdance has been walking around the planet to Celtic music in the rhythm of tap. The originality of the step and cheerful pressure give a win-win result. When a line of dancers moves onto the ramp, continuously kicking their feet in heavy shoes on the stage, the audience stands up ... No one undertakes to explain this phenomenon.

A group of Russian dancers has been part of the show since the first day. Ex-Moses. Impartial pros, they are not sick of the Irish idea, but they agree to dance in a way that no one else can, even in Franz Josef Land. With one condition: that the state does not appropriate their fees.

The grand show started in Dublin with a modest 15-minute Eurovision intro. Producer Moya Doherty and her husband, director-producer John McColgan, first introduced little-known Celtic music and the national dance irish-step to a then 300 million television audience.

The massive success of the commercial was inspiring - soon a brilliant excerpt was transformed into a full-fledged show. The organizers involved superprofessionals in the case. The musical father of Riverdance, composer Bill Willan, is not in vain considered the fifth richest Irishman. Records of his interpretations of ancient Celtic folklore circulate in the millions. In Riverdance, they became the basis of the percussion numbers in the program. Dances were staged by Michael Flatley - multiple world champion in Irish step. By the way, a video cassette with his own show “Lord of the dance” (by the way, after each appearance on the stage, Flatley dips his head in a barrel of ice), or “God of Dance”, is sold in Moscow. Twice a year the strongest tap dancers from America and Australia gather in Dublin to find out who is the best. Competitions are held in a narrow circle, and mostly teenagers participate in them. It was they who formed the backbone of Riverdance. These young guys had no idea about the stage rules and viewed the show as an opportunity to travel and even earn money on the step familiar from childhood. Against their background, our dancers are a stronghold of professionalism. For the men to jump for an hour before the performance and make a classic loom? The inexperienced Irish chuckled. But when the continuous six-month tour began, the troupe groaned from injuries. And the management drew conclusions - now the artists have been given a brochure like: "How to eat right and organize physical activity." Now it's our turn to laugh: “There was nothing more unprofessional to read. This is a guide compiled by aerobics enthusiasts. Therefore, the Irish are spying on the Russians: how to make up, warm up and keep fit.

Russian dancers got into the show, in general, by chance. Producer Moya Doherty realized in time that watching only tap for three hours is rather tiring - this is how international motives joined the show. What is consistently bought in the entire dance world? Russian dances! They called the Irish embassy in Moscow: what is so interesting in Russia? Lady on the phone: "Personally, I love the Moiseev ensemble." - "Is it really good?" - "OU!!!"

This is how the Irish (?) dance “Youth” appeared in the show, staged by Igor Moiseev. The music is Irish, the movements are a folklore salad plus the skill of execution. The success of the number is as stable as a deposit in a Swiss bank.

The dancers are not wearing their usual stage costumes. Russians from the first day dance in black leotards, in which it is customary for ballet dancers to appear at rehearsals. For the Irish, black jeans and shirts remain unchanged - both for the dancers and for the choir. Only a couple of soloists are dressed in some kind of costume. What is the intention here? So that the viewer is not distracted from the dance? Or just not to spend money on the artist?

By the way, the producers had a calculation: in America, almost every third person comes from Ireland. And Irish "patriotism" is no weaker than Caucasian. There are also a lot of Irish in Australia, however, as in almost any country: the birth rate in Irish families is high. The recognition of numerous compatriots is guaranteed almost everywhere.

Now Riverdance, like the ever-memorable Tender May, already has three troupes: two travel around America, one in Europe. The plot, music, staging in them are unchanged, the ratio of amateurs and pros is approximately the same, the vague dramaturgy does not bother anyone: tickets are sold out a year in advance, and applications come as much as 2003 from all over the world. Russia is not among them yet. Next in line are Japan (spring-99, all tickets sold out), Africa and South America.

According to our dancers, advertising does a lot: talentedly made videos are shown on TV almost half a year before the troupe's arrival, with the emblem of "Riverdance" everything is not produced - from T-shirts and hats to suitcases and jackets. Although, as the Russian participants testify, the organizers realized that the idea is already working and it is possible to cut costs. For example, computer graphics this season have been replaced with good old backdrops. It is cheaper than carrying heavy trucks with equipment around the world. As the artists themselves say, the producer and director live somewhere either in Hawaii or the Caribbean, they manage the business by fax, and appear in the troupe only on the days of world premieres.

I recently came across the Riverdance branded jacket in the Moscow metro — what kind of winds? But the planet, in general, is small: how much longer do the Irish travel abroad? You look, and we will wait for them.

In the meantime, Russian dancers come home for a week every six months and talk about their lives. Not bad, I must say. Separate hotel rooms, the opportunity to bring your family along, arrange your own creative business (not to the detriment of the show, of course). “It was impossible to dream of this in the ensemble,” former soloists, honored artists sigh. They understand that they are worth something only thanks to the Moiseev school of dance.

In the administration of Igor Moiseev, Russian dancers from Riverdance are considered traitors. Photographs of renegades are removed from the history of the team, they are not talked about, and even more so they are not proud of their successes. The Moiseev team is self-sufficient, and new soloists have already taken the place of the former soloists.

Learn more