SPRINGFIELD — Think they can shake a leg now? Just wait until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Performers in the National Dance Company of Ireland are eager to feed a worldwide hunger for entertainment that has intensified during the lingering pandemic. The dancers and signers are fueled by cheers and applause.
“That has been sadly missed for a full year now,” said Kieran Cavanagh, producer of Rhythm of the Dance, the longest-running Irish dance show in the world. “The last time we were in America was one year ago this month. They are ready to go for sure.”
Fortunately, those who yearn for toe-tapping fun can view Rhythm Of The Dance despite COVID-19. The show has teamed with WatchLive and created a fresh new production that is available throughout the world.
The Mars Theatre is hosting this virtual performance until March 21. It was recorded in front of a live audience in Ukraine in 2019 just before the arrival of COVID-19.
Rhythm of the Dance exploded onto the scene in 1998 and has continued to receive worldwide acclaim year after year. It was originally intended to be a three-week tour of the United States.
“I’ve been with it since the beginning,” Cavanagh said. “I produced it right at the start. On March 12, we will have been touring globally for 23 years.
“We’ve been to 56 countries around the world.”
Rhythm of the Dance has connected with audiences everywhere it has been.
“I think one of the advantages is that there is no language barrier,” Cavanagh said.
The show doesn’t have a storyline or narration would make it difficult for non-English speaking fans to follow.
Cavanagh explained, “Even in China, although we have singers in the troop — we keep the songs to a minimum when we tour the likes of China. We have projection and we used to put up the words as well for them in Chinese because they do like to sing along because they do like the Irish pub songs or bar songs.
“I think that has stood to our favor.”
Cavanagh said fans everywhere appreciate the artistry and skill of the performers. Rhythm of the Dance features world and Irish champion dancers.
“Without sounding biased, when it is in full flight, there are very few, if any, art forms in the world compare to Irish dance,” Cavanagh said. “I mean the energy, the rhythm, the syncopation and the choreography — when that’s hammering the floor and there is a line of 20 dancers or more — that’s fantastic entertainment.”
The show is tweaked periodically to keep it fresh for repeat markets.
“Usually, we will come back in off the road in April after a long spring which might have started the previous September,” Cavanagh said. “Our creative team — which is our choreographer and our musical — will start writing some new pieces of music and dance, and will bring the troop together probably again in late May or June because we always do the UK in the summer. We put up to six new pieces in the show.
“We may also go with a new set and scenery that have never been seen before. We do that every two years.”
The show is augmented by colorful Celtic costumes.
“When that curtain goes up, there is always a little ‘wow’ from the audience even before the dancers step,” Cavanagh said. “If you can get that reaction, you are winning before you dance at all.”
Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online at www.marstheatre.com. Buyers will receive an email with instructions on how to access the performance and can view it as many times as they would like March 1-21.
For more information on this performance and other upcoming shows visit www.marstheatre.com or call 912-754-1118. View Rhythm of the Dance teaser here: https://youtu.be/kLAhb6Oo-IY.