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What Is Riverdance?

Learn what Riverdance is in this Howcast dance video with Irish step dancer Darrah Carr.


Riverdance is an incredibly successful commercial production that began in Ireland in 1994 as an interval to the Eurovision Song Contest.

The piece was originally just seven minutes long and featured well known Irish dancers Jean Butler and Michael Flatley in the lead roles.

During the original Eurovision Song Contest, Riverdance was broadcast to some 300 million viewers throughout Europe. The interval caused such a sensation that plans were soon put into place to expand the interval act into a full evening production.This premiered at the Point Theater in 1995.

Since that time Riverdance has toured continuously. It has clocked some 600,000 miles, traveling to the moon and back. Riverdance has been seen by 22 million people live and 350 venues in 40 countries across four continents. The show has also been seen by nearly two billion people on television.

One of the reasons that Riverdance has become so popular is that the show features a now iconic line of hard shoe Irish Dancers moving in rhythmic unison.

Rhythmic unison has a certain appeal for the viewer. You can imagine things such as the Radio City Rockettes or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

We are drawn to watching movement done in unison and the power rhythm to that creates a particularly spectacular show, as in the case of Riverdance.

Today, Riverdance has been seen and enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. It has introduced a whole new generation of dancers to Irish Dance.

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