Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Riverdance was first performed during the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, on April 30, in a seven-minute format, produced by Irish dancer Michael Flatley. The music accompanying the dancing, composed by Bill Whelan, was released as a single in Ireland, where it went straight to number one and remained there for eighteen weeks.
The Eurovision broadcast has been cited as one of the crucial moments in the creation of the Celtic Tiger myth amongst the Irish themselves - a moment when to be Irish was to be at the forefront of European culture. (Others cited include Ray Houghton scoring against either England in 1988 or Italy in 1994 and Mary Robinson being elected President of Ireland in 1990)
In November 1994, tickets went on sale in Dublin for the first full-length show of Riverdance, which opened at the Point Theatre on February 9, 1995 including in the cast, Irish Dancing Champion, Jean Butler . The show ran for five weeks and was a sell-out. Later in 1995, the show enjoyed another sell-out run of six weeks at the Point Theatre, and two sell-out runs of four and eighteen weeks at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. In October 1995, Michael Flatley, who had been with the show since its inauguration quit the production due to "creative differences" over its direction—he went on to produce his own show, Lord of the Dance.
In March 1996, the show was performed in the United States for the first time - at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - where it had eight sell-out shows. Between March 2000 and August 2001, the show was performed on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre .
Riverdance continues to be performed all over the world. Each production company is named after an Irish river. Currently performing companies are the Boyne (touring the United States), Avoca and Foyle (in Europe).
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