Coming up this weekend at the Moncton Coliseum is one of the final North American tour stops of the world renowned “Riverdance”. I encourage you to take in this show as it will be your last chance to see this phenomenal performance. Read below to find the interview we had last Friday with lead dancer Alana Mallon, and the official press release for the Moncton show!
Contaced at her Baltimore, Maryland hotel while she relaxed prior to that Friday night’s show, lead Riverdance dancer Alana Mallon took some time out of her busy schedule to talk with me. Answering the phone on this Sunny Friday afternoon with a chipper Scottish accent Alana and I settled in to have a little ‘chat’ about the show, dance, and what’s to come. A very easy going and pleasant young lady to talk to, she was very forthcoming about the show, and what it’s meant to her.
When asked what it was like the first time she stepped on to the ‘broadway’ stage only literally days after arriving in the city she told me it was scary, exciting, and daunting, that she had to learn a new number almost every night. Alana, the only Scottish dancer ever to dance the lead in Riverdance realizes the honor she has in what she does being able to perform lead in such a memorable show all over the world. She danced in the ‘troupe’ for three years after joining the group in 2000, and in 2003 she was asked to train for the lead which took her the better part of a year and she then went on as lead in 2004. Riverdance actually has ‘three’ female and male leads that rotate out from the troupe to the lead role as the intricacies of the lead can be more challenging and it allows the dancers a break, “There’s not as much pressure on yourself when you’re not doing lead. You just kind of fit in with everyone else instead of being out there on your own having to give that extra bit. You don’t feel as much pressure” by being rotated into the more repetitive characteristics of the troupe. Alana told me that she would be dancing the lead for us here in Moncton as she usually does the weekend rotation.
I asked her what it will be like to step away from that, remembering what that first show was like, how it was scary and exciting what it will be like for her to step on stage for that last show. She told me the main feeling she thinks she will have is that of sadness, even though the show, and the long months of touring is a challenge, that she will miss it and her second ‘family’ that the dancers in the group have become. Speaking of the challenges we spoke of the tole that it takes on their bodies, as you will see in the show, it is very physically demanding to do what they do. Her reply was quite frank with no glossing it over, she said that “we all get injured, at some point. We do have a physical therapist on tour with us and a massage therapist as well, so we get weekly massages. Obviously, they’re deep tissue massages; they’re not the soft relaxing kind”. She said that her biggest problem over time has been with her Achilles, “It’s very hard because we get a lot of injuries. We have a lot of Achilles injuries, which has been my main problem. I’ve been with the show for over 10 years, so it’s overuse more than anything. There are a lot of strains and fractures and torn ligaments. There are quite a lot of things in the company that happen.”
Her new ‘family’ help keep things light on the road with practical jokes, which she said ‘everyone’ is pulling something as some point in time, silly string on the tour bus, making the girls scream backstage (when they are supposed to be deadly quiet) with a fake mouse on an invisible string. You hear it in her voice that there is an obvious camaraderie in the group and that they all help each other get through the rigours of touring.
Telling me her favorite part of the show is the “Riverdance number”, she like how the music builds and the scene grows, “the Riverdance number, which is just before the interval. I like the way it all starts off. It progresses. You don’t know what’s coming next, and it builds up and builds up, and at the end, everybody’s on. It’s just a nice number. The music’s nice as well.”
We’ll be able to see that number, Alana, and all the numbers this coming Saturday night at the Moncton coliseum (ticket details on the concert listings page). I thank Alana for our little chat as she’s off to get ready for the show that night in Baltimore, and she replies with a “oh, no bother”…love the accent Alana, looking forward to the show!
Official Press Release:
LAST CHANCE TO SEE
THE NORTH AMERICAN TOUR OF
THE ORIGINAL INTERNATIONAL PHENOMENON
WILL PLAY FINAL PERFORMANCE IN MONCTON
JUNE 9 – 1 SHOW ONLY!
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR TO CLOSE IN JUNE 2012
“A PHENOMENON OF HISTORIC PROPORTIONS!”- Washington Post
Recently, the producer of RIVERDANCE,Moya Doherty, announced that the North American touring production ofthe internationally-acclaimed worldwide phenomenon will close in June, 2012. RIVERDANCE will play THE MONCTON COLISEUM, FOR THE VERY LAST TIME, JUNE 9 for 1 performance only! Tickets for RIVERDANCE are on sale now and range from $53.50 to $63.50 and are available at the Moncton Coliseum Box Office, any Sobeys Store locations in the Greater Moncton or Shediac areas, online at www.tickets.moncton.ca or by calling 1-888-720-5600.
“When we opened RIVERDANCE in New York in March 1996, we never thought for one minute that our show would still be running 15 years later,” said Moya Doherty. “Three years ago we embarked on our farewell tour, saying good-bye to every city in North America we have ever played in over the years, and next June 17th in our 16th year this current production of RIVERDANCEwill end and we will say our final good-bye. It has been a source of immense pride for me as Producer that America took RIVERDANCE to its heart to such an amazing extent and I would like to pay tribute to every dancer, musician, singer and all the crew and staff who served RIVERDANCE so well over the years. “
The show that started it all, RIVERDANCE, has been performing in North America since March, 1996 when it had its U.S. premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Since then, the show has tapped its way onto the world stage thrilling millions of people around the globe.
While the touring production in North America will close on June 17, 2012, productions of RIVERDANCE will continue to tour the world.
From Los Angeles to Louisville, Seattle to Boston, Chicago to Chattanooga or Memphis to Miami, the power of RIVERDANCE – its music and more than 50 stomping feet – has captured the hearts of millions.
Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty and directed by John McColgan, to date, RIVERDANCE has played over 10,000 performances, been seen live by more than 22 millionpeople in over 350 venues throughout 40 countries across 4continents. They have traveled well over 600,000 miles (or to the moon and back!), played to a worldwide television audience of 2 billion; sold over 3 millioncopies of the Grammy Award-winning CD (certified Platinum in the US) and over 10 million videos making it one of the best-selling entertainment videos in the world! RIVERDANCE had its world premiere at the Point Theatre, Dublin, in February 1995, where it opened to unanimous critical acclaim.
What began as a seven-minute dance segment on the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest (televised to over 300 million people throughout Europe) and then quickly turned into a full-scale production has become much more than an international theatrical success. “I believe RIVERDANCE has been basically a pathfinder,” said Niall O’Dowd, founder of Irish America Magazine and the Irish Voice newspaper. Along with the peace process in Northern Ireland and the economic miracle in
Ireland proper, the show “has been a hugely important part of a transformation of the image of Ireland in the last 20 years.”
In a flash, RIVERDANCEbecame Ireland’s greatest ambassador and the thirst began. RIVERDANCEchanged the face of Irish dance and despite its imitators, has remained on top and was voted the #1 Variety/Family Entertainment Show in the US (1998).
There have been many milestones along the way including the distinction of being the largest Western musical to play China; a record-breaking line of 100 Irish dancers mesmerizing 85,000 people at the 2004 Special Olympics in Dublin; a 15th Anniversary celebration at Radio City Music Hall; dancing in Red Square and on the Great Wall of China, two SRO engagements in South Africa and much more.
Of all the performances to emerge from Ireland in the past decade, nothing can compare to the energy, the sensuality and the spectacle of RIVERDANCE. An innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song, RIVERDANCE draws on Irish traditions and the combined talents of the performers propel Irish dancing and music to the present day capturing the imagination of audiences across all ages and cultures. This extraordinarily unique show features an international company all performing to the magic of Bill Whelan’s music.
Riverdance at the Moncton Coliseum tonight was the event we all expected, a plethora of musical and dancing talent that took us on a slow build through the whole evening to a triumphant crescendo of music, dance, and magical feet. From the beginning of the evening we watched as the performers and the musicians played off of each other, the music almost a living entity within the dancing, forcing the flowing movements of the dancers.
The show built from beginning to end on strong group performances, that featured some of the best Irish dancers you will see anywhere in the world, it featured (one of my favorite parts) a friendly ‘battle’ in the street between Irish dancers accompanied by a fiddle player and two ‘American Tap’ style dancers accompanied by a sax player. It had a fantastic Spanish style dancer that did what appeared to be an amazing ‘paso doble’. Plus individual performances by both the male and female lead dancers of the evening (female lead was Alana Mallon interviewed above).
The sounds of Riverdance are one of the things you appreciate in the live show, not just in the music, but in the dancing. When the ‘troupe’ is in full force and stomping out a number it’s like a tumultuous thunder rolling through the room. When it is an individual lead, you can hear the intricacies of their foot movements one by one. The dancing mesmerizes you, and the music carries you through a night that is filled with entertainment all bringing you to the famous ending where, like domino’s the entire group of dancers thunders a step from end to end and back again. The crowd roared to life at many points through the evening in applause and cheers and this point was no exception.
We had a wonderful time taking in this long running spectacle that is Riverdance and encourage any of you that have the opportunity to see this wonderful show to do so before it is gone! Thank you to Riverdance and Magicspace Entertainment for a wonderful evening of dance and music!