Let’s have a change of pace this morning.
Back in 1994, Bill Whelan crafted “Riverdance” as an interval act during that year’s Eurovision Song Contest. It received a standing ovation, which prompted its further development into a complete Celtic folk musical of the same name. It became a smash hit all over the world. The soundtrack album sold millions of copies.
Here’s the night that started the whole phenomenon: the original performance from the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. The solo dancers are the world-renowned Jean Butler and Michael Flatley, with choral backing by Anúna. Subtitles give more information about the performance.
When it was expanded into a full musical, a new opening number was crafted, titled “Reel Around the Sun”. Here it is, from the original 1995 production of the new, greatly expanded show, just 9 months after “Riverdance” was staged as a solo piece. Michael Flatley leads the dance troupe.
Here’s a lyrical choral number from the show: “Home and the Heartland”, performed by Anúna.
Sadly, a dispute erupted between Michael Flatley and the composers and backers of “Riverdance”. Flatley claimed that he’d played a major role in developing the original show, for which he’d been denied recognition. This led him to develop his own follow-on show, titled “Lord of the Dance“, with music written by Ronan Hardiman. It also achieved great success, and remains popular to this day. It was further developed in due course into a larger, extended version titled “Feet of Flames“. After a premature retirement, Flatley would later return to the stage with a new show, “Celtic Tiger“.
From “Feet of Flames”, here’s the opening number, “Cry of the Celts”. This was filmed in Hyde Park, London, at an outdoor performance.
And, from “Lord of the Dance”, the title track. This performance was filmed in Dublin in 1996.
“Lord of the Dance” incorporated music from many different backgrounds and genres. As an example, here’s a short solo dance, “Gypsy”.
Lovely music and epic dances. I’ve enjoyed all these pieces since they were first written.