Riverdance's last visit to New Zealand
Tue, 22 May 2012 10:52p.m.
By Ali Ikram
Riverdance is in New Zealand for the final time as the Irish cultural phenomenon is quitting touring traditional markets to concentrate on the far east.
However what people may not know is how many relationships have formed within various Riverdance casts.
On stage it is all heel-toe-heel-toe, back stage there is a history of nudge-nudge-wink-wink, says dance captain Niamh O’Connor.
"We were the 38th Riverdance marriage,” she says.
“I guess we're all on tour together but we're also meeting people we have a lot in common."
O’Connor is married to principal dancer Padraic Moyles, but as dance captain she is the boss and has been with the company for all its 17 years, starring in more shows than anyone else.
But changes are afoot.
At its height Riverdance ran three dance troupes at the same time grossing $1.6 billion worldwide. Now it's pulling out of traditional markets like the US, Australia, Canada and here to concentrate on China and India.
"They respond differently they're very reserved as a nation they're almost afraid to show their emotions but they love it, we have a huge fanbase there,” O’Connor says.
But change is nothing new for the entertainment juggernaut.
It began as halftime entertainment at EuroVision, then had to survive the departure of star and original choreographer Michael Flatley, famous for tapping his feet faster than a hummingbird can flap its wings and being the highest paid dancer in the world.
"Oh and of course he tried to get as many dancers of the original group to go with him and some of them did but I didn't feel tempted to go with him,” O’Connor says.
But she didn’t need a pay rise to stay.
“No, it got quite competitive there for a bit it did but my heart was always in Riverdance."
So much so her roving role as an Irish cultural ambassador means she is only in the emerald isle for seven weeks a year.
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