It's no secret I'm a huge fan of the arts. I have been my whole life and was raised experiencing and participating in the arts. Whenever there is a chance to expose my kids to the arts, I jump on it. A world without the arts is boring and unmagical. I brought my little tapper to see the 20th Anniversary Tour of Riverdance in Portland last night for the media night showing. Just wow. I had seen a tour about 14 years ago, and I'm so glad I wet again. There were certainly scenes I didn't remember and some of which I think may have been new adds since I saw it. My 8-year-old daughter was enamored. How many 8 year olds do you know that can sit through an over 2 hour show on a Friday night and not be fidgety? Not many. Simply enamored.
Dancing aside, the music and musicians are incredible. Just four musicians provide the sound for the show and it's a sound that unique and vibrant. As a flute player, the appreciation for Matt Brashford's wood wind playing in vast. from Uilleann pipes, to the low whistle, to the tin whistle, I has no idea you could make the beautiful sounds from a whistle Brashford made. Simply elegant. And saxophonist Ken Edge is one of the most talented sax players I've ever seen. If your only sax experience is hearing Kenny G, well, then you don't know what you're missing because Egde makes Kenny G sound like he sucks. Percussionist Mark Alfred is maybe the most talented percussionist I've ever heard. The sounds Alfred can make with his percussing are unrivaled. He had a bodhrán solo, too. Spectacular. Director and fiddler Pat Mangan stole the show with his wild fiddling. We were sitting in the Orchestra Pit so our seats were so close that when Mangan broke a bow string, I watched it happen. Riverdance was a breathtaking performance not to be missed, just for the music alone. I could have watched a two hour musical performance.
And then you add the dancers, all of whom are wildly talented. These are some of the best tap dancers you will ever have the chance to see perform in your life. And they are in Portland right now and probably coming to a city near you on tour next.
One of my favorite numbers was “Trading Taps where the Riverdance Male Irish Dancer Principal and Male Troupe performed with the American Tappers and did a bit of a Tap-Off of American Tap and Irish Dancing. Wow the legs on those men! Such dramatic, sensational tapping.
The soloists and smaller groups were remarkable, but the power onstage when the whole Irish Dance Troupe would perform a piece together is dazzling, such as Riverdance and Heartland.
If you haven't bought tickets yet for the Portland show, you must. And if you aren't in Portland, find out when they'll be in your city!
Riverdance -The 20th Anniversary World Tour, composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty, and directed by John McColgan, is currently celebrating a sold out, critically acclaimed run across Europe and Asia and will arrive in North America in fall 2015. To mark the eagerly awaited return of the show to North America, ending a four-year absence, Riverdance – The 20th Anniversary World Tour will feature new costumes, new lighting, new projections, and the addition of a brand new number, “Anna Livia,” featuring the female members of the Irish dance troupe in an a capella hard-shoe number.
Tickets can be purchased:
FACTS ABOUT 20 YEARS OF Riverdance
- Played 11,000 performances
- Seen live by in excess of 25 million people in more than 465 venues worldwide
- Played in 46 countries across 6 continents
- Travelled 700,000 miles (or to the moon and back and back again!)
- Played to a global television audience of 3 billion people
- Sold more than 3 million copies of the Grammy Award-winning CD
- Sold 10 million Riverdance videos & DVDs
For more information, please visit