Gaelforce Dance, originally from Australia, had its first international performance in New Zealand in July 1998, but the history of the show goes back to 1994.
Shortly after the famous first worldwide appearance of Riverdance at the Eurovision, Michael Durkan, Irish-born composer and musician, had an idea for a small cabaret club dance show with a variety of numbers, featuring himself playing solo numbers as well as performing together with an Irish band. From the start there were also a few dance numbers incorporated.
Because of the passion for Irish dance that people started to develop, Michael decided to take the show a step further, rising the number of dancers in the show from originaly three to twelve in total. In the following years the show evolved, going to bigger clubs, but still touring as a cabaret show until the decision was made to change the show into a theatrical piece with a story behind it.
The original stage show was telling the story about three brothers who "... after a storm destroys their village, decide to take separate paths and journey toward their own place in the world...", featuring James Devine, Paul Noonan and Timmy Manners as the three brothers.
Because the plot was too complex, it was decided to change the story and with the help of new choreography done by Richard Griffin and new music composed by Colm O Foghlu, the show now tells the story about two young lovers, Lorcan (Timmy Manners) and Aisling (Clare Casey). Aisling is married to Lorcan's older brother Cuan (Anton Cronin). They both live a happy life in their home village, but deep inside her, Aisling still feels desire for the young and wild Lorcan. The story begins with Lorcan's return to the village to attend the wedding of his older brother, bringing with him Rhiannon (Nicole Williams), a dark and mysterious beauty from the city. From there a story of love and passion, hope and repression begins. To learn more about the four lead dancers please click here.
Beside the four leads the show has 22 more dancers, a band headed by Colm O Foghlu and singer Tara Ryan. The main attraction is the absence of pre-recorded taps. As the general manager of the show Frank Elwin says, there was a lot of pressure from different sides to give up the live steps but the management decided not to. And they prove it every night that it was the right decision. The stage is also very simple - no set and only a small wall separating the band from the dancing area. But there is a very good lighting used which works perfectly even in smaller theatres.
As every other show Gaelforce Dance also has a programme - very tiny with 20 pages but contains something that such a big show like Lord of the Dance lacks - all the dancers are presented with their photo and name so the audience can recognize whom they can see on the stage.