Monday, September 13, 2004

Dancing away

I went to see the Riverdance show yesterday. Wow. One cannot but admire the precision and skill of the dancers. Not to mention the obvious joy the whole troupe shines out to the audience. This is what dance should be, in my opinion.

As I know a bit about dancing myself, I kept thinking about the amount of hours that has gone into the rehearsals of the show. Of course these people are professionals and when something is your job, you really should put some effort into it. However, I couldn't help wondering how many times the dancers have bumped into each other before the group choreographies have become the smooth, flawless string of motion I saw on stage.

Oh, and the music. I haven't had the pleasure of dancing to live music myself (in a performance situation, that is), but it must be a thrill. The Riverdance orchestra played beautifully and the powerful rhythms almost got me crying at times. (That's me, quite the cry-baby sometimes - I get so moved...) Especially the drums. Oh, how I love drums, like the bodhrán in the case of Riverdance. The power of the drums is amazing. I just wanted to get up and dance myself, but was forced to sit tight, since there would've (no doubt) been a lot of angry fellow audience members behind me...

Which brings me to the other thing that bothered me about the show. (The first being the fact that I couldn't dance along, that is.) The Finnish audience. Imagine this. There's a hockey arena full of Finnish people watching a dance show. They sit quietly, not moving a muscle. They clap their hands a few polite times for the soloists' performances and when the troupe itself encourages the audience to clap to the rhythm of the music, the Finns keep it up for about a minute or so, and then they fall back into a silent mode. They won't allow themselves to show any signs of excitement. So what's up with that, then?

I know from a personal experience that this doesn't mean that the Finns don't like or enjoy the show, but it could be a surprise for a performer who hasn't seen a Finnish audience before. For a dancer on the stage the audience is a huge reserve of energy that seems to disappear with the Finnish silence. I found myself clapping enthusiastically many times whereas the elderly couples sitting right next to me, well, didn't. I was a bit worried they might try to silence me down (since it's obviously not appropriate to clap and cheer in the middle of the dance), but luckily they didn't and I got to enjoy the show my way.

I'm so happy I spent my last euros and went to see the show. It was an inspiring performance and gave me a few good ideas too. Oh and by the way. Our next show will have a visiting star, a young, talented boy who has rehearsed with the Riverdance group in Ireland. It'll be very interesting working with him and get to know a bit more about this type of traditional Irish dancing. The show will be an interesting mix of oriental and Irish dance - but you'll hear about it more later, I'm sure.

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