Riverdance: The beginning
For years, I remain entranced by the dance prowess of Jean Butler, the orignal female lead in the Riverdance irish dance phenemonon (video below) that captivated audiences around the world for the sheer human artistry of the show. I can watch Jean dance for hours on end; even her Irish dance masterclass is enjoyable to watch! She retired from active Irish dancing in 2011, admiting, at 39, she wasn’t able to keep up the pace any longer. Butler had followed Riverdance with a show of her own, Living on Dangerous Ground, with Colin Dunne, but had trouble getting the show past the Riverdance heritage she had brought to the stage. She remains active in the Irish dance scene, and received an “Outstanding contribution to Arts & Culture Alumni Award in 2009 from the University of Limerick, Ireland, where she received a Master’s degree in Contemporary Dance and was Artist in Residence from 2003 to 2005 at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Music Centre.
Riverdance came to the world as a filler in the Eurovision Song Contest 1994. They received a standing ovation, and as one commenter to the video said: “7 minutes that changed the world”. Here then, was that show:
Following the show, Jean and Micheal Flatley were the subject of TV interviews. Here is one (in two parts) not long after the Eurovision show and just prior to a command performance before Queen Elizabeth, and almost a year before the show itself launched formally in Dublin. Enjoy the walk down mwemory lane.
The quintessential Riverdance:
The other sweetheart of Riverdance was Mairread Nesbitt, who went on to Celtic Woman:
(From Lord of the Dance, a Micheal Flatley spinoff from Riverdance)
And with Celtic Woman (and an American classic, no less)
And with the Berne Symphony Orchestra. She can’t stand still here either.