REVIEW: Riverdance 20th anniversary tour - Opera House, Blackpool

Riverdance is coming to the Opera House, Blackpool, on its 20th Anniversary Tour
Riverdance is coming to the Opera House, Blackpool, on its 20th Anniversary Tour
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It takes only 30 seconds or so for you to start tapping your feet along to the rousing music of Riverdance.

And within a moment of that you realise how feable it is - toe-tapping in your seat while dancers on stage thunder out hundreds of steps in a single routine.

But this show is so irresistable, you simply cannot help attempting to move along.

Riverdance’s overhaul of Irish dancing 20 years ago saw them tone down the fluoro outfits and giant hair to create simple silhouettes with demure dresses and welcoming smiles from dancers.

Now, the show moves from high octane dancing of old to more sultry moves with influences that see the tiny lead female flit from firecracker to ballet dancer.

For a gaggle of girls watching, it’s hard to think of a dance show that empowers its female dancers so much.

Here the women take dominant roles, with men moving to their beat, certainly in the first half. The second half sees men recapture the limelight though, with a show-stopping dance-off between American-style tap dancers and three traditional Irish dancers.

This rivallry and eventual camaraderie brings the house down.

The move to American-style dancing isn’t the only sojourn away from Ireland, as a troupe of Eastern European dancers flip, split and pirouette their way across stage, and a storming Flamenco dancer offers two passionate performances.

All this is performed to, and punctuated by, the live on-stage band, comprising a bodrhan, pipes and fiddle music as well as some haunting vocals and choral performances.

The percussionist rivals the lead male dancers with his work too - with hands that are to the drums, what their feet are to the stage.

The only criticism could be of the audience, when its left to those on stage to ‘woop’ along to their comrades as they perform high-kicks, somersaults and incredible feats of footwork, rather than being rightly cheered on by those still seated.

Perhaps it’s just that they’re aghast at the scale of dancing before them, unable to do anything but toe-tap meekly?

If you like music and movement then this show is for you.

It plays at the Opera House, in the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, until Sunday.

For tickets, visit: www.blackpoollive.co.uk, or call the Winter Gardens Box Office on: 0844 856 1111