WASHINGTON, D.C. – On a balmy Spring evening, perfectly timed to kick off the celebratory season of Saint Patrick’s Day, Irish Ambassador and Mrs. Daniel Mulhall hosted a swank cocktail party in the South Tier Opera Lounge before the performance of Riverdance. In attendance were Taoiseach Micháel Martin, Ireland’s Prime Minister, and American diplomat and former Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy. Delicious savory treats featuring Ireland’s best beef, cheeses and cured salmon were served capping the gathering with coffee, tea and a sumptuous Irish Whiskey Cake and Crème Brûlée, after which guests proceeded to the Opera House for the performance where audience members frequently leapt to their feet for standing ovations between acts.
Celebrating their 25th anniversary and first time performing at the Kennedy Center, the Riverdance troupe was in fine form and their staccato taps could be heard up to the rafters. Originally an Irish folk dancing and musical production, Riverdance has gone on to include both Russian and Flamenco dance, acknowledging some of the roots of Irish dance. I couldn’t help but conjure up the evolution of these dances in the American heartland where the Irish immigrated in droves and the style of clogging emerged.
Interspersed with the tightly choreographed syncopated-formation dances by the troupe, a coloratura soprano performed haunting Irish melodies in octaves that soared into the stratosphere and a beautiful lassie played the pipes honoring an ancient Irish warrior from the Bronze Age. Between 18 electrifying scenes a narrator weaves Celtic tales and stories from the land of the faeries. Video projections of picturesque scenes frame the evening’s entertainment.
Many stories can be told of the history of this extraordinary production that began with the choreography and iconic dance skills of Michael Flatley and has toured around the world many times over. Their epic success on six continents, a Grammy Award and generous fundraising efforts are but a few of their achievements, but their promotion of Irish dance supported by the exceptional singers, dancers and musicians who perform in the show, give gravitas to this exciting one-of-a-kind experience.
Directed by John McColgan, Produced by Moya Doherty, Composed by Bill Whelan, Costumes by Joan Bergin, Sound by Michael O’Gorman, Lighting by Andrew Voller, Sets by Alan Farquhason and High Res by Peter Canning.
Through March 27th at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20566. For tickets and information call 202 467-4600 or visit www.Kennedy-Center.org.