Posted: Thursday, February 2, 2012
The international Irish-dance sensation known as the Riverdance Tour will hop and step into Fort Smith one final time this month.
Part of the Riverdance Final U.S. Tour will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at the Fort Smith Convention Center, 55 S. Seventh St. The all-ages concert will be as much of a joy for those onstage as it will be for anyone seated in the audience, said Padriac Moyles, a principal dancer with the tour.
“I love performing this show in America because the audience’s response is unlike any other around the world,” he said during a recent interview.
Incorporating Grammy Award-winning music from composer Bill Whelan, the show features Irish dancing via more than 25 dancers, as well as a live band, a flamenco dancer and two American tap dancers, Moyles said. Impeccable coordination and long-lasting athleticism are two factors that drive the production, he said.
“Considering we move primarily from the waist down, with crossed and turned-out feet, people wonder how we stay balanced and upright,” Moyles said. “I also believe people are enthralled by the speed of our feet, the rhythms we create and our ability to dance in such a synchronized manner.”
Producers of the internationally acclaimed show made the decision to close the U.S. tour “while we are still on top,” said Merle Frimark, a media representative with the production.
“This is similar to the time when Jerry Seinfeld decided to end his show, ‘Seinfeld,’ after nine seasons — while he was on top,” she said. “All this being said, it’s important to note that while the U.S. tour will close in June, there are two other productions of Riverdance that will continue to tour the world.”
For the Fort Smith performance, each cast member will dazzle everyone who watches and listens to the on-stage action, Moyles said.
“The cast members consist of some of the most-talented musicians and dancers from around the world,” he said. “It is a show infused with fast-paced footwork, highly energized performers and stimulating music.”
One of Moyles’ favorite parts of the show involves the number, ‘Riverdance,’ which arrives at the end of the first act. The piece originally was performed during the intermission of the Eurovision Song Contest and basically laid the groundwork for what is known today as Riverdance, Moyles said.
“It is also the first time in the show that the male and female principles perform together on stage, and both are eventually joined by an energetic troupe of dancers performing in perfect unison,” he said.
Riverdance’s music is called both inspiring and moving by its dancers, crew and fans alike, Moyles said.
“I love seeing the reaction on the faces of audience members as they realize that a particular number is the number they have all been waiting to see,” he said.
In Moyles’ opinion, Riverdance has “never lost its magic,” thus gaining new fans with each passing year.
“Each performer that joins this production understands that they are part of something that is much more than just a show,” Moyles said. “We are seen as cultural ambassadors, and we approach each show with an immense sense of pride, which we believe the audience can feel during every show.”
Moyles predicted that Riverdance fans in the Fort Smith region will feel regret if they miss the concert.
“Riverdance has something in it for every audience member, no matter what the age,” he said. “It is a show that takes you on a powerful, emotional and magical journey, and you will leave the theater with a smile on your face, humming the music and tapping your feet.
“And the most important reason people in Fort Smith should see Riverdance is because this will be their last chance to see this phenomenal, world-renowned show here in the United States,” Moyles added.
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 23
The concert is one of the last U.S. shows put on by the popular international group.
Tickets are $55 and $65 and can be purchased by calling (800) 965-9324 and at www.itickets.com.