Rhythm Of The Dance Simply Charms A Full House

Rhythm Of The Dance

Theatre Severn

Saturday 24th June 2017

 

Since 1988 this show has toured the world. Initially set up as a three week gig, Rhythm of the Dance has become one of the top Irish Step Dancing shows that is constantly touring the Globe.

Full of traditional steps and modern theatrical techniques this show peeps into a secret world the world of Irish Dancing. 

It would be difficult to truly define the origins of the Irish dance but it is probably the most severely disciplined of the art forms. It is now so ancient that one could only guess what the strange steps mean and how they all get put together. But it is distinctive and it is instantly recognisable. There is step dancing all over Western Europe but there is really only one form of Irish dancing. Hypnotic and enchanting one can see sparks as the legs work far harder than human legs should and yet the top half of the body is as still as a statue and equally as beautiful.

One feels that perhaps that this show offers lip service to some of the Irish songs although the singer's intonation and range were stunning,  there seemed to be more compilations of the songs than complete lyrics. In fact, interestingly, Dougie Mc.Lean’s,  “Caledonia,” was sung in it’s entirety and it is as the title suggests all about Scotland and a Scotsman away from home and how he misses it. Geographically that offers questions that led to one’s bemusement.

That said. This is a lavish show the cast are young and vibrant. They have an energy that is born from the music and the steps. The costumes are beautiful, and the mesmerising way the sweet Irish girls swish their skirts gaily as the men stand strong, powerful and vibrant is pure chemistry.

One of the greatest traits to witness during Irish dancing is the ability the dancers have to silently cross a space. One, two, maybe three steps and a turn, and like a bird the dancer traverses the floor quieter than a mouse. Weightless , maybe suspended by the golden notes that spin with a ferocity that only Irish music can.

Purists at the Irish ceilidhs might moan at the brazen way that this art form is being exploited.  One might be forgiven for telling them to hold their tongues. Like so much of a past Ireland their dance and their music was treated with a reverence that elevated it into an art so ritualistic the very idea of it being for fun was laughable. A lot of little girls and boys all over Ireland and Ulster, lived in fear of their dance teachers and this reviewer has watched the teachers with their charges and in some instances, no wonder they were scared.

Dance isn’t that, neither is music! It is a spirit, it is a devil it is an Irish leprechaun that wants to weave its magic and enchant the innocent. Dance or Music jailed through fear and only allowed for functional purposes is not how it should be. Both are a coiled spring generating  great joy when realeased and shared with a world that demands it so warmly.  

This is what this show gives it. It is a glimpse and a welcome into a world that for centuries was hidden in parlours and school rooms of an Ireland that now has gone. Rhythm of the Dance is a right royal two fingered salute to so much of that stifling and stuffy existence, now gone.  This show proves that in the past they had no rights forcing such strict properties onto such a wonderful gift.

This is a Four Star Review.

Owen J. Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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