Kevin Horton, Dancer, Bann Company
As we landed in Beijing, there was a great buzz among the cast. Our first show wasn’t until Friday, so there were many ideas as to how everyone would spend the first few days off. There was so much to do in Beijing, we were happy to have the opportunity to spend these few days exploring the vastness of one of the biggest cities in the world. On the top of some lists were the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, and of course the markets (any shoppers dream for fake designers and electronics). Another major event was on the entire companies mind, the upcoming DVD shoot for Riverdance-Live from Beijing that was shot over three days during the week. So much preparation and work has gone in to make the DVD shoot go smoothly, so we were all excited to get the process going.
I have visited the Great Wall of China before, so I opted for a day of shopping at the markets instead. For those that traveled to the Wall, it was an impressive day. The wall stretches for over 5,500 miles and was built to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire during various successive dynasties. It was such an amazing site for all of us to see, although walking up the hundreds of steps at one section of the wall was a bit tough on most! The views were spectacular and something that should not be missed if you are ever in Beijing. Tiananmen Square is the biggest square in the world, and has been the main stage for several key events in Chinese History. There is so much history to take part in in this city, it was hard to fit everything in!
Brendan de Gallai, our dancer director flew out on the Thursday and that night we had the last of our rehearsals to get ready for the DVD shoot. We have been working with our dance captains, Niamh and Padraic, for a couple weeks and this rehearsal with Brendan was to be our last before the big shoot. We were all excited and on the first day of shooting, we were able to see how the next three days would go. It was a tad difficult dancing without an audience and ignoring the camera, but the production team and directors were very helpful at making us feel comfortable and the three days of shooting could not have gone any better. It was a very tough schedule over the three days and we were all worn out by the end of it. The shoot was a very rewarding experience and we all can’t wait to see the final product.
We were sold out for our entire run in Beijing and we finished out the week with a 15th Anniversary Party put on by Riverdance. It is hard to believe that after 15 years, the show is still going as strong as ever and with a new DVD version on the way. The closing party was a success and a great way to end Riverdance’s first extensive Chinese Tour. It has been an amazing 10 weeks, but we were all looking forward to getting home! Some of us returned to the Boyne, others returned to the Corrib, and some returned home, but we will all be back in two weeks time for a two-week run in Seoul, Korea. Until I speak to you from Korea…