Courtesy of RIverdance
The international dance show “Riverdance” is scheduled to stop in Columbus this weekend for five performances at the Palace Theatre as part of its U.S. tour.
The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, which is bringing the show to Columbus, describes “Riverdance” on its website as a “thunderous celebration of Irish music, song, and dance.”
Joe Moriarty, the lead male dancer in the show and a Columbus native, said the show has stayed largely the same over the past 12 years.
“It’s evolved a little bit, but it hasn’t really changed much, because it hasn’t needed to,” he said.
Moriarty, who grew up in Columbus, was inspired to begin dancing at the age of 8 because of the influence of an uncle who was a professional dancer.
“It just seemed like the natural thing to do,” Moriarty said.
He said he has performed locally many times, most recently at The Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival last summer.
Moriarty is only the second male from North America to perform in the lead position, according to the “Riverdance” website.
“It feels pretty good,” he said about landing the role. “I worked pretty hard and I started playing the lead at 18. It’s definitely something I’m proud of.”
The show will open with a single performance on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. On Feb. 19-20 dancers will perform the show twice a day with performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, according to the CAPA website.
Moriarty said that is the typical schedule for the show.
“It’s not too bad,” he said of the multiple performances-per-day schedule. “At first it could be weird, but we’ve be doing it so long we’re used to it.”
Professor Susan Van Pelt Petry, chairperson of the Department of Dance at Ohio State, said that mentality is typical of many professional dancers.
“Being on the road can be grueling and tiring, but also interesting. It is not glamorous, but it can be deeply satisfying,” she said.
She added that what people see in a performance like “Riverdance” is only the “tip of the iceberg.”
“Dancers have to train daily, warm up well, take care of their bodies, cross-train, eat well and stay focused and mentally charged,” she said. “What you see on stage is the result of an intense, ongoing regimen.”
Although his schedule might be grueling, Moriarty said it will be nice to be back in Columbus performing for members of the Buckeye nation as well as friends and family.
“I’m a huge Buckeye fan,” he said. “And it’s kind of funny because you appreciate it more when you’re not in the center of it than if you’re right there.”
Michael Flatley, a Chicago native and Irish dancer, created the show after impressing its eventual producers at the 1993 Spirit of Mayo Festival in Dublin, Ireland, according to riverdance.com. It began as a seven-minute routine, but became a full-length production after its popularity at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest.
This U.S. tour of “Riverdance” opened on Jan. 6 and is scheduled to continue its run through June 5.
Tickets for the show start at $22.50 on the CAPA website. After Columbus, the show will move onto Charleston, W.Va., before returning to Ohio to perform in Akron Feb. 23-24.