The Landmark Theater was filled with vibrancy on Friday evening as the Boyne touring company treated us to a terrific display of culture and the elements in a riveting farewell performance of Riverdance. Split into two acts with separate but related themes, this was certainly a festive combination of dance – led by powerhouse Marty Dowds and the elegant Alana Mallon – and music (both instrumental and vocal), led by the the amazing Patrick Mangan on Fiddle and the talented vocal soloist Laura Yanez.
The first act focused on how people interacted with the elements. The piece started with a dance to the sun, followed by a song about passion and desire. Cycling through the elements of fire and stormy weather, the first act peaked in the middle with a “Thunderstorm” dance by a stunning ensemble of men clad in all black attire.
After a short intermission, the second act brought us to different corners of the world, demonstrating how disenfranchised people find solace in home. Scenes from 19th century famine-ridden newcomers to the New World were interspersed with melodies of harmony, and courage.
The second act had two huge moments. The first was a vocal performance by powerhouse baritone soloist Michael Samuels, singing a poignant ballad called “Heal Their Hearts.” The song’s message details how love can heal all wounds: “Their lives can be golden if your love enfolds.”
The second climactic moment, entitled “Trading Taps,” demonstrated a crossroads of tradition and novelty. Three classical Irish dancers (Marty Dowds, Ryan McCarthy, Dan Triggle) enter into a battle with two jazz-influenced dancers (Jason E. Bernard, Kelly Isaac) in a surprisingly harmonious number, representing how dance can be a unifying force in anyone’s world.
Photo by Joan Marcus
Evenly paced, eclectic, and culturally relevant, Riverdance was definitely an experience not to be missed.
Riverdance is currently touring the United States with several more Virginia performances in May and June. Visit Riverdance.com for tour and ticket information.