Ireland: Riverdance looks back

by Robin Scott 627 views

A new documentary on RTE, the Irish national broadcaster, is simply called Riverdance.

It is part of a new series called The Insiders that takes the audience behind the scenes to see how transformative events in recent history came about, as described by the RTE Press Centre. It was broadcast on Tuesday but is still available to view for those within the area permitted to use rte player at this link.

In 1994 the interval act for the Eurovision Song Contest first took the audience by storm and eventually the world. After the winning song Waterloo by ABBA one of the next most remembered parts, across the years of the Contest, is Riverdance.

It featured Irish dancing champions Jean Butler and Michael Flatley and music composed by Bill Whelan.

Having celebrated it’s 20th anniversary on 30 April 2014, and being currently on tour, a documentary has been made including a behind the scenes glimpse of that seven minute performance.

Lynne Kelleher of the Irish newspaper The Herald writes that, minutes before the live performance, Ms Butler needed a rush pinning job on her dress as the front was hanging down.

She writes:

While audiences watched the stunning dance unfold at the Point Depot, the costume designer of the iconic sexy off-the-shoulder dress worn by Jean Butler was praying the tiny lace costume wouldn’t come undone.

A quote from the dancer was:

I didn’t know if the dress was going to stay on me or fall off me and to complicate matters even further the floor was like an ice skating rink. It was very, very slippery.

The designer also said:

Jean didn’t really wear the dress for rehearsals because she wanted it to be fresh and new on the night. It had fitted her perfectly but now when she did her steps for me the top of it flopped and I could see her boobs. It was a total disaster. I felt it in my stomach. It was the only dress. That was it. I had to get black elastic and two pins and try and secure the top of the dress.

On the current tour, in the the writer states that it is as stunning now as it was when I first saw it as a piece of theatre. This is a pure celebration of song and dance – the universal language.

This two-hour 20 minute show from Live Nation crosses boundaries with scenes from Russia to Spain – the latter courtesy of a feisty flamenco.

The four musicians are faultless and seem to be having as much fun as the all-age group audience.

The show ends its time at the Liverpool Empire on Sunday.

Here is the original performance from 1994

Stay tuned to for further information on the Eurovision Song Contest and it’s performances, past and present.