Northwest NEWS

October 4, 1999


'Riverdance' returns to the Paramount

by Deborah Stone

   Riverdance, the internationally-acclaimed celebration of Irish music, song, and dance, has returned to the Paramount Theatre for sixteen performances.

   Winner of the 1997 Grammy Award for "Best Musical Show Album," this phenomenal, "don't miss" attraction continues to play to sold-out venues worldwide. The show focuses on the evolution of Irish music and has infectious rhythms and lilting songs, along with dazzling Irish hard-shoe dance.

   This type of folk dance derived from Irish step dance competitions and the look is highly distinctive with most of the exciting movements occurring from the waist down. The upper body is kept rigid with arms held stiffly at the sides.

   The magic is in the execution of quicksilver taps, powerful stamps, and sharp kicks, all performed with amazing athleticism, boldness, and grace. Although "Riverdance" has strong Celtic roots, it also reaches out to embrace and echo similar cultural traditions found around the world.

   The show's content is diversified with the inclusion of flamenco dance, performed by Rosa Manzano Jimenex. Jimenex is compelling to watch as she sets the stage on fire with her dramatic and sensual movements.

   The evening also features African-American tappers in a sequence called "Trading Taps." Three Americans and three Irish dance their own characteristic styles. The Americans move around the stage, bending every which way, seeming to improvise their relaxed, funky motions. The Irish are straight-backed and severe in their appearance, dancing by their toes and heels as they move swiftly across the stage. The two groups eventually join together for an extraordinary tapathon which is a definite showstopper.

   It is not difficult to understand how Riverdance has enjoyed such enormous success and continues to entertain audiences everywhere. The dance is invigorating and energetic, performed with incredible precision ensemble work by over thirty-five talented men and women.

   They are accompanied by gifted musicians (of special note is fiddler Niamh Ni Charra and her electric violin) and a lovely chorus of singers. Riverdance is an evening of top-quality entertainment for the whole family.

   The show runs through October 10th. For ticket information, call 206-292-ARTS.