How to dance riverdance
Learn to Riverdance in two weeks? No sweat – The Irish Times
Sweating and cursing, I slump to the floor and stare longingly at my handbag, which I know contains a bottle of ice-cold water and a bar of chocolate. The blisters on my feet are aching, but I know I have to dig deep and summon the energy to pick myself up and start again. As I struggle to my feet, Bill Whelan’s familiar music blares through the speakers. I lift my head, stand tall, and for what feels like the 100th time, begin dancing.
When asked if I'd be interested in learning the steps for Riverdance, I agreed without question. I'm not a dancer. As a child I used to traipse to the school hall once a week to learn my h-aon, dó, trís with the rest of my runner-wearing classmates. None of us was destined for dancing fame, but from the enthusiastic girls in the front of the class to the grumpy boys shuffling at the back, we all jumped around and stretched our limbs.
Years of primary-school dancing lessons may not have sent me straight to the stage, but it did instil rhythm. During my teen years I developed these skills by dancing the familiar Ballaí Luimní in school halls in the west, desperate to impress those strapping young Irish College lads.
Sorcha Pollak and Pádraic Moyles. Photograph: Alan Betson
That I'm not a dancer becomes quite apparent from the moment I meet Pádraic Moyles, associate director and principle dancer of Riverdance and my trainer for this experiment. He is exactly how I imagine a professional dancer to be: he's fit, lean and moves in a way my body refuses to imitate.
As a small boy, Moyles would watch and take part in the set-dancing sessions his parents held in the family home every Friday. When he was nine his family moved from Dublin to New York, where he began dancing with the teacher Donny Golden.
Sorcha Pollak has 2 weeks to transform herself into a Riverdance dancer ...can she do it? Video: Darragh Bambrick / Daniel O'Connor
“I didn’t like dancing at all,” he says. “It was getting in the way of football and basketball and all those American sports that I was starting to get into. ”
However, at 17 he skipped school to travel to Boston for an audition with a new Irish dancing show. Within a few months he was finished high school, and in November 1997 he began dancing with Riverdance.
“In one sense it’s an addiction for me now,” he says. “I absolutely love it and there is nothing like feeling the applause and the appreciation of a crowd at the end of the night.”
Twenty years later
Riverdance is celebrating its 20th anniversary since it was first performed as the interval act at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. Two decades later the show has been seen by more than 25 million people in 46 countries across the globe.
I have often wondered what dancing in front of an international audience would feel like. As I turn up for my first class, my enthusiasm to learn masks my panic.
I imagine my new teacher is expecting a dancer more like the attractive colleagues who accompany him on stage, dancing the steps with make-up and hair perfectly intact. Sadly that’s not how I look as I grapple with the ridiculously high-speed choreography. Each step is demonstrated with mesmerising speed and dexterity. I, on the other hand, trip and sweat my way through each afternoon.
However, despite the countless falls and inability to pick up seemingly simple steps, I emerge from each rehearsal invigorated. Dancing has the ability to clear your mind of all worries and fears. It requires that you focus 100 per cent on the movement of your body, leaving no time to stress over picking up the shopping or meeting a deadline.
One hour rehearsing also leaves you with an indescribable hunger. As I imagine the giant plate of pasta I will prepare post-rehearsal, Moyles tells me he tends to eat high levels of protein to maintain his strength.
“Most mornings when I wake up it’s oatmeal and egg whites with some honey. For lunch I try and eat bigger because I like to feel light going on stage and have two chicken breasts with some broccoli.”
Suddenly I can no longer justify that metre-long baguette I hoped to buy on the way home. “Don’t worry”, he adds, “I love a chocolate bar every now and then.” I breathe a sigh of relief.
Dancers lose an average of 5lb of water weight during every performance of Riverdance. "In China we lost about 15lb," says my lean but not mean trainer. "We couldn't find the right foods and none of us were properly prepared for the culture shock."
I empathise with those dancers, not the pounds but the water weight. I don’t think my skin has ever excreted as much fluid as during the intense rehearsals.
After 17 years dancing, Moyles says that eight shows a week, often for 52 weeks a year, is exhausting. He tells me about the challenges of being on the road for months, living out of a suitcase and searching for a launderette in China.
"There are certain territories that are easy to tour, like the United States and Europe, but then there are other places that are extremely difficult, like Asia, and China in particular."
However, it’s not all sweat and blood on tour. When 18-year-olds begin dancing with the show straight out of school, they soon learn that their pay cheques won’t fly straight out the window.
“We have no rent and no bills. Nowadays the most people have is a mobile phone bill,” says Moyles.
As my bones begin to ache after an hour of rehearsing, I ask him what the retirement age is for dancers. Michael Flatley (55) is still dancing, he tells me, as is Donny Golden (61).
“You’re never too old to dance,” he says, as I strap on my black, hard-soled dance shoes for the first time. “You grow old because you don’t dance. The day I don’t dance is probably the day I’m going to become old.”
Relearning to dance reawakens the 10-year-old inside me. Somehow, in the space of two weeks I am transformed from a very self conscious novice into a toe-tapping Riverdancer.
Sadly, the sweaty hours I have spent in the studio on the banks of the Liffey may not, as I secretly dream, lead to a career in performance. However, they remind me of the importance of embracing my creative inner child.
Bring on those west of Ireland céilís: the boys will be only dazzled by my dance skills in the halla.
Riverdance returns to Dublin for a summer season at the Gaiety Theatre from June 23 to August 31
Irish Dance: History, Music, Styles, Steps, Dresses, Shoes
Irish dance or Irish dancing is traditional Gaelic or Celtic dance forms that originated in Ireland. It can be performed as a solo or in groups of up to twenty or more trained dancers. In Ireland, Irish dance is part of social dancing or may be for formal performances and competitions.
It is performed traditionally with intricate foot work and is most known for the dancers performing with a stiff upper body. Unlike other dance forms, Irish dancers do not move their arms or hands so that footwork is accented.
The History of Irish Dance
The history of Ireland is also the history of Irish Dance. The actual dates of its origin has never been determined specifically. However, Irish history is steeped in Druidic, Celtic and other religious history which affected the origins of Irish dance. For example, processionals in Druidic and Celtic religious practices required precision movement as do Irish reels and jigs.
The Celts are a 2,000 year old civilization that brought with them their own folk dances. Many of their dances were comprised of circular formations around sacred trees or they consisted of certain patterns performed by males and females in a religious rite.
If there has been any influence in Irish Dance, it may have been the Quadrille. Ireland has been a country of many travelers who brought with them various continental dance styles. The Quadrille was one of these styles that impacted Irish dance.
The Quadrille was popular across Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries when royalty held balls and cotillions. Although, the Quadrille was popular toward the end of the 18th century and spread to England and Ireland around the early 19th century.
A Quadrille is a square dance performed by four couples. It contains five choreographic figures. Each of these figures is a complete dance sequence of itself. Thus, it is easy to see how Irish reels became a prominent part of Irish dance.
Musical instruments like the Irish Bodhran (drum), fiddle, concertina, accordian, Uiliean pipes, Celtic harp, tin whistles and banjo form the background of Irish dance music
Irish Dance Costumes, Dresses and Shoes
In the early days of Irish dance the dance costumes for females were basically ankle length dresses or blouses and skirts. For male dancers, costumes might have consisted of a shirt with a kilt in the Irish clan plaid or it may have been a long coat, shirt, vest and briques (calf length pants) with leggings.
Modern Irish dancers and dancers performing in traditional Celtic dance wear several different costume styles. For Traditional Celtic dance, female dancers wear blouses and long skirts while the male dancers perform with traditional shirt and kilt.
Modern Irish female dancers perform in beautiful short dresses in bright colors, mostly always with their arms fully covered. Modern Irish male dancers perform in trousers and a shirt with a colorful sash tied at the waist.
Shoes for male Irish dancers depends on the type of dance they are performing. For Flat Down step dancing, shoes have metal cleats on the toes and heels. For Ballet Up dance, shoes for males have soft soles.
Female dancers wear black leather "Ghillies" that have soft soles for flexibility for Ballet Up steps. The soft leather of Ghillies help Irish dancers perform dance steps either on the balls of the feet or on tips of their toes.
Female Irish dancers wear two basic types of shoes. For Flat Down step dances, shoes are an oxford style with a thick heel with metal cleat attached to the full heel and a thick frontal sole that also has a metal cleat attached. The oxford is usually black leather, has laces and a leather strap to secure the shoe to the foot.
Irish Dance Styles & Types
In total, there are six Irish dance styles. However, it is equally important to note that within each of the six Irish dance styles, there are basically only two dance style techniques, these are known as Ballet Up and Flat Down. These describe how Irish dancers use their feet in the six styles.
Ballet up describes a balletic style where toes are pointed and steps are performed high on the balls of the feet or on tips of the toes. Body weight is lifted upward from the floor.
Flat Down describes a technique that relies more on the use of the heels in a flat, gliding motion. Body weight sinks downward into the floor to emphasize the sound of the metal cleats.
The six Irish dance styles include:
- Traditional Irish Step Dancing - only the legs and feet move in flat down technique
- Modern Irish Step Dancing - full body movement with ballet up technique
- Irish Set Dancing - with Flat Down technique
- Irish Ceili Dancing - with Ballet Up technique
- Irish Sean Nos Dancing - with Flat Down technique
- Irish Two Hand Dancing - with Flat Down technique
Traditional Irish Step
Traditional Irish Step dancing is performed by male and female dancers in long lines, circles, squares or as partnered reels. Traditional Iris Step Dancing consists of dances set to traditional Irish music with a fast tempo that dancers are required to perform sets of steps to.
For example, two groups of dancers face opposite each other and shuffle, hop, jump, tap and stamp to the music as they more toward each other. Dancers then move between the dancers of the opposite line and then back to their original position. This is often referred to as a "competition" line dance.
Modern Irish Step Dancing
Modern Irish Step dancing has female dancers performing ballet up dance movements like leg swings, hopping and jumping or sashaying to the music. The female dancers perform in soft ghillies while the male dancers are heard tapping in Oxford tap shoes to the music Modern Irish Step Dancing
Modern Irish Step dancing has female dancers performing ballet up dance movements like leg swings, hopping and jumping or sashaying to the music. The female dancers perform in soft ghillies while the male dancers are heard tapping in Oxford tap shoes to the music.
Irish Set Dancing
Irish Set Dancing, as its name implies consists of dances performed in "sets." For example, a performance of Irish Set Dances may be part of a whole choreographed dance performance that is broken up into several separate parts. The set usually requires dancing in couples in four sets.
The Set Dance begins with all four couples dancing to the same choreography. This is followed by each couple performing the same sets as individual couples.
Irish Ceili Dancing
Irish Ceili (pronounced "kay-lee) Dancing is a very traditional dance form. It originated in the 1500's and is always performed to traditional Irish music. The Ceili Dances consist of quadrilles, reels, jigs and long or round dances. These were the most native Irish traditional folk dances.
Irish Sean Nos Dancing
Irish Sean Nos Dancing is one of the oldest of the traditional Irish dance styles. It is the only one performed as a solo. It differs from other Irish dances in that it allows free movement of the arms and it is flat down with the heavy weight on the accented beat of the music.
Sean Nos Dancing is the only Irish dance that also allows the solo dancer to improvise the choreography simultaneously as the dance is performed. The taps consist of shuffles and brushes as the dancer moves across the floor.
Irish Two Hand Dancing
This style of Irish Dance was a predominant part of Irish socializing. It is performed much like Irish Set Dancing with the exception that is it danced to polkas, Irish hornpipes, waltzes and jigs. Like the Irish Set Dancing, it is performed by couples with specific choreographic dance patterns, although in Irish Two Hand Dancing the patterns are repeated.
In Irish Two Hand Dancing couples dance in a relaxed style while they tap their feet in shuffling, hopping and spinning motion. By all appearances, when Irish Two Hand Dancing is performed on a large dance floor, the couples seem to be gliding along as they dance.
Basic Irish Dance Steps
Ballet Up styles of Irish dance rely on several uniformly performed steps. The first comes from the ballet step, "chasse," which means to "chase." In this step the Irish dancer steps with the right foot while the left foot "chases" the right in three counts. This is often called the "1-2-3."
Another step borrowed from Ballet is the "cabriole" which is to leap into the air while the left calf beats under the right calf that is extended forward in the air. There are several other steps that require the dancer to perform full or half turns.
In Flat Down Irish dance steps, the dancer's foot strikes the floor in a twisting shuffle of the right foot while hopping into the air with the left foot.
There are also combinations of Irish dance steps that include the "1-2-3", shuffle, stamping the whole foot and tapping one toe behind the other foot that holds body weight.
Although traditional Irish dance limits movement of the arms, today's modern Irish dancers are seen starting a dance routine with their hands on their hips and using certain movements of the arms that coordinate with music for interpretation of choreography.
Irish Dancers are as young as pre-school age to adult. There are numerous Irish Dance schools that teach traditional and modern Irish dance styles in the U.S. and Europe. The syllabus for Irish Dance is less complex than ballet, although several Irish steps originate from ballet.
Irish Dance is a combination of ballet and tap dancing. Although, it can be said that tap dancing originated from Irish flat down dance technique.
Unlike ballet, however, Ballet Up dance steps require dancers to place full weight on their toes in ghillies that are not blocked as ballet pointe shoes are.
In Flat down dance steps, the shoe is more flexible across the front of the shoe than a traditional tap dance shoe. This enables the Irish dancers to perform shuffling steps with more speed.
Irish Dance Today
The first international reintroduction to Irish Dance performances was with the performance of "Riverdance", composed by Bill Whelan.
The first performance was in 1995 in Dublin. It starred the now famous Irish Dancer and Irish Dance choreographer, Michael Flatley.
Although, it predominantly features Irish step dancing, "Riverdance" has a Baroque style that incorporates other dance styles like flamenco and a Russian dervish. The end result for dance experts is that "Riverdance" provides insight into how dances are linked in technique and styles.
It has since been performed as a touring Irish Dance show in New York City and at the Vatican for Pope Francis.
In addition to "Riverdance," Michael Flatley choreographed his first full length Irish Dance performance in which he starred, in "Lord of the Dance." This was followed by "Feet of Flames" and "Celtic Tiger Live." These are modern Irish dance shows that include Ballet Up and Flat Down Irish dance techniques.
In "Feet of Flames," Michael Flatley performs a lengthy series of movements that seem to defy gravity, all while maintaining balance and musical timing.
However, in the Flatley shows, he included traditional Irish songs in the Gaelic language as well as actual story lines for each of his Irish dance shows. For example, in Lord of the Dance, the story line has both a romantic and a fairy tale plot that includes a whimsical fairy piper.
As a result of the addition of a Gaelic singer and two Irish talented Irish fiddlers in these shows, similar Irish entertainment emerged from these Irish performances such as "Celtic Woman" and "Irish Tenors."
All of these Irish performances include some of the most extraordinary dance talent and shows the extreme skill needed to maintain Irish dance choreography as well as a semblance of acting talent.
There are also Irish Dance Championships that encourage students of Irish Dance to take part in competitions for awards for their dance techniques, skills and choreography.
There is no doubt Irish Dance captures the attention of audiences wherever it is performed. There are also many Irish societies and organizations that help promote Irish dance performances like the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Milwaukee St. Patrick's Day Parade, Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh and the World Irish Dance Organization. Today, Irish Dance is seen in the Thanksgiving Day Macy's Parade as well as the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City and Chicago.
Irish Dances Riverdance - Choreographic Ensemble Inspiration
Irish Dances have long become the same symbol of Ireland as the shamrock clover, leprechauns or leprechauns. The frenzied energy of the rhythmic jig conquered the world in 1994, when the show " Riverdance " first appeared on the Eurovision stage, inspired by Moye Docherty, producer of the RTE channel.
Then a musical number became urgently needed to fill the pause between the performances of the contestants. And two hours of folk show were prepared in just three months. nine0003
Thus, on April 30, 1994, millions of viewers watching the Eurovision live were, for the first time, shocked by the breathtaking dynamics of Irish dance.
Since then, he began a triumphal procession around the world, and the main characters of " Riverdance " - Michael Flatley and Gene Butler became real stars.
Eurovision was not limited to the show - everyone demanded the show: TV channels, clubs and concert halls. So "Riverdance" turned from an ordinary number into a professional three-hour dance performance, which is still touring the world with success. nine0003
For greater entertainment, traditional Irish motifs were diluted with Balkan flavor, the elegance of Russian classical dance school, flamenco motifs, American tap and Irish pop music.
This stellar line-up brought " Riverdance " a fantastic success - five weeks of full houses and prime TV airtime. Thus, not just a concert show was born, but a completely new format of performances was born - Irish dance vocals, contemporary tap and classical dance.
The main "highlight" of Irish dance is its contrast - the highest speed of rhythmic movements of the legs with a stationary upper body.
In a real Irish dance, any movement of the torso and arms is prohibited, you can only slightly turn your head.
1. solo - individual
2. set - dances for several performers
3. cayleys - group dances
There are several basic movements in the dance - simple square dance, jig, reel, hornpipe.
For each variety, the characters have special movements - for example, in set dances there are no jumps, and the number of figures has a strictly defined number - from two to six.
Kaylee can be danced in a line, in a circle, in groups, the main requirement here is the hands pressed to the body. nine0003
Today, many dance schools successfully develop the direction of Irish folk dance. In order to dance at an amateur level, it is enough to have a good sense of rhythm and at least basic physical training.
The Irish themselves say: to become a good dancer you need to be born an Irishman with a clover leaf in your hands. And there is some truth in this - when you watch a show like " Riverdance " it seems that St. Patrick himself is hovering over the stage, inspiring the masters to create. nine0003
This is awesome!!!
want to write 10 +10 0 nine0003 | Folk dances Dances of the peoples of the world Riverdance - Irish miracle Irish step is known all over the world. Bright shows and professional dancers of this country have earned great love from fans with their performances. Today we will talk about the Irish show, which began the ascent of Irish tap to the top of popularity - Riverdance. Riverdance - Irish Miracle Riverdance has existed for about seventeen years, during which the show constantly tours around the world and pleases its fans with bright performances. In 1993, Irish step was only gaining its popularity. At the same time, the main founder of the project, Michael Flatley, began his career. At that time, he performed in the dance group "Chieftains". In 1994, a dance number was needed especially for the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest. The famous Irish producer McColgan decided to create the "Riverdance" number. To implement his idea, he invited Michael Flatley. Michael jumped at this chance, realizing that this was his finest hour. Number in the intermission of "Eurovision" should not exceed seven minutes. Flatley participated in the number with his partner Jean Butler and a group of dancers from the Irish band Anuna. nine0003 After performing at Eurovision, Flatley's success came instantly. Immediately, the producer invited him to create the show "Riverdance". Michael Flatley agreed and so began the story of the Irish performance. Further, Michael Flatley came up with a long-term show, with which the ensemble began touring around the world. Already at the end of the year, Riverdance went on its first tour. The success of the ensemble continued in London. In 1995, Flatley left the ensemble due to disagreements with the composer. After that, Flatley created his performance "Lord of the dance", and "Riverdance" continued its victorious march through the stages of the world. nine0003 Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, The Fire Of Anatolia Find a tag:
Riverdance - Irish Miracle
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| Folk dances
Dances of the peoples of the world
Riverdance - Irish miracle
Irish step is known all over the world. Bright shows and professional dancers of this country have earned great love from fans with their performances. Today we will talk about the Irish show, which began the ascent of Irish tap to the top of popularity - Riverdance.
Riverdance - Irish Miracle
Riverdance has existed for about seventeen years, during which the show constantly tours around the world and pleases its fans with bright performances. In 1993, Irish step was only gaining its popularity. At the same time, the main founder of the project, Michael Flatley, began his career. At that time, he performed in the dance group "Chieftains". In 1994, a dance number was needed especially for the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest. The famous Irish producer McColgan decided to create the "Riverdance" number. To implement his idea, he invited Michael Flatley. Michael jumped at this chance, realizing that this was his finest hour. Number in the intermission of "Eurovision" should not exceed seven minutes. Flatley participated in the number with his partner Jean Butler and a group of dancers from the Irish band Anuna. nine0003
After performing at Eurovision, Flatley's success came instantly. Immediately, the producer invited him to create the show "Riverdance". Michael Flatley agreed and so began the story of the Irish performance. Further, Michael Flatley came up with a long-term show, with which the ensemble began touring around the world. Already at the end of the year, Riverdance went on its first tour. The success of the ensemble continued in London. In 1995, Flatley left the ensemble due to disagreements with the composer. After that, Flatley created his performance "Lord of the dance", and "Riverdance" continued its victorious march through the stages of the world. nine0003
Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, The Fire Of Anatolia
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