Last night, I was privileged enough to witness pure magic onstage. I got to see Riverdance’s 20th anniversary tour at the Ed Mirvish theatre.
Mario had been telling me about Riverdance since I was little. A few months ago, he bought tickets to see them and invited me to go with him. As if I was going to refuse.
Shortly after arriving at the theatre, Mario and I got separated, so I decided to go sit down. In the theatre, one of the ushers help me find my seat and let me know that the show would be « fucking amazing. » You know you’re about to see something incredible when you hear that.
Not long after, Mario sat down with some memorabilia. He was also saying that he got to meet one of the members of the troupe. Since I had a marker on me and there was still a fair amount of time left, we ended up going back to talk to her and take a picture if she was willing.
Her name was Katrina Meske and she was exceptionally nice. She was kind enough to let us take a picture with her, was super sweet when we talked to her, and even signed Mario’s souvenir program! With only a short amount of time left before the show, we wished her a good night and went back to our seats, giddy for the spectacle we would soon witness.
The spotlights turned on as the stage began to fill with smoke. A short narration accompanied the band. The scene was set for the first part of the performance. I used to believe Riverdance was only dancing… How very wrong I was. On stage appeared a woman. Lo and behold, she started to sing. Her voice high and clear echoed throughout the theatre.
The song was followed by a poetic narration announcing the dancers. The precision and synchronisation of their movements left me in awe. The tapping of their shoes accompanied by the music reminded me of thunder – powerful and magnificent. In that moment, my first thoughts were « I have never been so attracted to anything in my life » and I was hooked. They had pulled me into their world and I didn’t want to leave or move. The other people in the room seemed to disappear and in my mind, the theatre was filled with only myself and the troupe.
They danced to the images of the Sun, the moon and beneath the stars. They danced to the image of the land they were sharing with me. They glided across the stage, and their feet echoed the words of a song only my heart seemed to understand.
As the first act ended, I couldn’t believe the adventure was halfway through. The second act took me through stories of hard work, love and adventures of all kinds. Each time I spotted Katrina on the stage, I smiled a bit more. The joy she expressed in her art was evident and having met her before, I felt even more of a connection to the show.
Though the show inspired awe, it also left room for humour. Two groups of male dancers took the stage to confront traditional Irish step dancing to a more modern tap. As both groups one-upped or parodied the other and the musicians for each side dueled, a camaraderie and respect grew between them.
The tales also took us to Russia where men made women glide effortlessly through the air. Afterwards, we were shown the sensuality of Andalusia. Magnificent dances were framed by beautiful music and were separated by songs introducing different tales.
Far too quickly, the show came to an end as musicians and dancers each made a final stand. Soon the entire troup was onstage before a standing ovation. Despite it’s end, the magic of it all is something that I will not soon forget. If I could watch the show all over again, I would do so in a heartbeat.