It's always exciting here at the Celtic Cafe when we hear about a new Irish dance production! Ireland - The Show premieres at the Granada Theater in Santa Barbara, California, on July 17th, 2011, featuring a cast of all-Ireland and world champion dancers and musicians, including Ciara Sexton, Sinead Fallon, Ashley Smith, Maggie Darlington and Owen Barrington.
Ireland - The Show allegedly holds the record for having the highest percentage of World Champion Dancers per ratio of cast members, most being veterans of the top Irish dance shows currently touring the world.
Learn more from the following press materials:
Welcome to IRELAND - The Show... céad míle fáilte!
IRELAND - The Show is an innovative and exciting new production celebrating the best of Irish heritage, artistic expression and culture. An amalgam of uplifting and exhilarating Irish entertainment pulses with a raw and energetic beat featuring a cast of All-Ireland and World Champion dancers and musicians.
From the very beginning, the show kicks off with a whirlwind of energy as the musicians create lively tunes, inspiring and pushing the dancers to new levels of expression and transporting the audience to another time and place. Memories of a home long ago reawaken in all of us the sweet memories of sitting in the kitchen of an old Irish cottage, soaking up the atmosphere of Ireland’s rich traditions.
The expressive language of dance ranges from a gliding shimmer of subtle soft shoe choreography to pounding dramatic hard shoe steps, the execution of seemingly effortless high kicks married perfectly with modern polish, Irish charm and dazzling Vegas-style Celtic costumes. With a cast featuring World Champion dancers, IRELAND - The Show has raised the bar for the next generation of Irish dance shows.
Produced by Ethan Walker, Choreographed by two-time time World Champion Sinead Fallon, and featuring breathtaking costumes by International designer Cory Savage (Cher, the Spice Girls, the Pussycat Dolls, Adam Lambert) IRELAND - The Show is now ready to take the world by storm!
Standing uniquely apart from most shows of its genre, this stunning new production, IRELAND - The Show features 100% live dancing, capturing this art form at a caliber seldom experienced outside the World Championship stage.
As the famous Irish proverb relates, "There are no Strangers here, only friends you haven’t met." We look forward to welcoming you to IRELAND - The Show.
ETHAN WALKER - Executive Producer
At the age of fourteen after seeing "Riverdance" on the television for the first time, I excitedly purchased my first pair of Irish dancing shoes and began taking lessons under the instruction of the Jackson School of Irish Dance and later the Watkins Academy in my home town of Brisbane, Australia. Two years later, after fighting to convince my parents to allow me to leave school, I packed my bags and moved to Ireland in pursuit of a dream to become a professional Irish dancer with a future goal of creating my own show. Arriving on the Emerald Isle, I had no job offer, no income and no place to live. It was an uncertain time but I had the strong inner conviction that I would succeed and that nothing could stop me.
As the luck of the Irish would have it, I was given a position in a small show called "To Dance on the Moon" that was playing at the I.N.E.C. in Killarney, County Kerry. With my relative lack of dance experience, I knew my footwork was lacking compared to my fellow cast members. I was determined to improve and spent hours a day secretly rehearsing, refining my ability as an Irish dancer. As my dancing strengthened, so did my dance resume, and my professional work increased. A year later I was touring Europe with two other dance shows - "The Spirit of Ireland" and "Dance of Desire" - in a leading role.
The following year, I returned to "To Dance on the Moon" for yet another successful summer in Killarney, but my season was cut short when I was offered a position in Michael Flatley’s new dance extravaganza, "Celtic Tiger". I immediately moved to London to begin rehearsals with the legend himself, Michael Flatley. For the next two years, I toured the world in both "Celtic Tiger" and "Lord of the Dance", performing for thousands, including a performance on Broadway. On one occasion, we performed "Celtic Tiger" in Budapest, Hungry to an audience of one hundred thousand.
At twenty-one, I immigrated to the United States to begin forging my own dance show; the dream I had from the first view of "Riverdance". I took up residency in Hollywood, California and started looking for potential investors. As anyone in the entertainment industry will tell you, trying to obtain investors in "tinsel town" is almost next to impossible. Unsuccessful, I was forced to dance on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, busking for money to meet simple financial requirements of daily life.
With extreme effort, three years patience and yet more of that old Irish luck, opportunity came knocking on my Hollywood door, and the budget materialized to begin production on my Irish dance show. IRELAND - The Show was born.
With the essential help and support of my team at Rapidfire International Inc. and with talent of the highest caliber performing in our production, I am extremely honored and pleased to bring you IRELAND- The Show!
Interview with SINEAD FALLON - Principal Choreographer
Life With Dance!
Sinead, your dancing career began at an early age. How old were you when you began dancing?
I started dancing at the age of 3 in the UK and very quickly realized my talent when I started doing very well at local competitions. After a few blisters, tears and years later, and I was well on my way to winning the World Championships.
Did you ever imagine back then that Irish dancing could take you into the world of international show business?
I never thought I would have had the opportunities and experiences I have lived today. When I was competing, "Riverdance" was just taking off and I never thought that one day I would be doing exactly that. I was approached for shows at the age of 14 but I didn’t actually take the plunge until I was 16, which is still very young to leave home. I did take a break from touring to go to the National University of Ireland Galway where a obtained an honors degree in Biotechnology.
What makes IRELAND - The Show different from other Irish dance shows?
IRELAND - The Show features 100% authentic Irish dancing. Unlike most other shows out there today, IRELAND - The Show is completely live, in that respect. This means that all the dancers are performing without what’s known as a "click track". For a dancer, that means having live taps every show, no pre-recorded taps! Accuracy is key for a live show, no beats can be missed and everything has to be on time every time. I absolutely love performing live. I have experienced both live and recorded shows before and with live shows you can really interact with the audience, the energy is electric on stage and everybody is really enthusiastic.
Travelling is always an interesting aspect of touring companies. How hard is it living on the road?
As I have become older I have found the touring life easier. At first it was really tough leaving your friends and family, but also extremely exciting. In a way, your work colleagues around you become your family; everybody looks out for one another. Dancing every day does take its toll on your body and injuries occur from time-to-time, so it’s important to keep sprits high when these things happen. The show must go on!
Irish dancing every night must be tough on the body. Are there many injuries?
Yes, there can be if a dancer doesn’t look after their body properly. Unlike other styles of dancing an Irish dancer takes most of the impact on their hips, knees and feet. This means that all those joints, bones and muscles in between must be warmed up properly before a show and cooled down after. A typical warm up session last about 45 minutes to an hour, and that is just stretching the muscles!
What are some of the most exotic/exciting places you have toured to with your dancing career?
That’s a hard question! I have toured Europe, USA, UAE, Canada, China and Australia. I keep finding myself back in the USA or Australia, probably because I love the culture. It’s very exciting finding out where your next tour is, I love the variety.
Do you have any other responsibilities other then choreographing and dancing in the show?
Yes. I’m also the Dance Captain, which means it’s my job to make sure all the dancers are in line and doing everything correctly. If there is an injury, I’m responsible for re-blocking the dance numbers so they can be done with one person less. I have to make sure that all of the dancers are in top shape and healthy, so as to ensure they can perform to the best of their ability every show.
What is an average day like on the road with an Irish dance show?
It all depends on the tour. If we are doing 6 nights a week usually you would have an early wake up call and travel to your next location. Depending on how long the journey was you would normally have an hour, or two to get some food and get your things ready for the show. You would generally be in the venue 3 hours before a show, giving time for sound checks, warm ups, and hair and makeup. After the show has ended, the cast usually unwinds in the hotel. We’ll watch a DVD in someone’s suite and relax or sometimes we may cut loose and check out the local nightlife.
How often do you go through a pair of dancing shoes?
If touring extensively I go through a pair of shoes every few months. The problem with new shoes is they need "breaking in" which can be very painful. Nobody likes blisters, so a good way to avoid too much pain is having your "spare pair" on you at all times, and put them on from time-to-time over the tour. By then the new shoes should be ready for your next tour.
You toured China recently. What happens if your shoes break when you’re on the road? Do you always bring a "spare pair"?
Yes, it is really important that you carry a spare pair of shoes, for two reasons: The first being they wear out, and the second is if you misplace them. You couldn’t exactly go to any shop in a foreign country and buy a new pair of special Irish dancing shoes quickly enough before the next show.
IRELAND - The Show has such an international cast. Why is that?
Our cast members are from all over the world, including Australia, England, the United States and, of course, Ireland. Any show is only as good as its weakest member, so in order to maintain impeccable standards we recruit only the very best talent from all over the world. IRELAND - The Show allegedly holds the record for having the highest percentage of World Champion Dancers per ratio of cast members. We are lucky enough to have some of the worlds elite champions including Ashley Smith, Maggie Darlington and Owen Barrington, who all hold multiple world titles, and our fiddle player, Sheila McGuire, has won a record- breaking 12 All-Ireland Championships.
How serious must you be while you are dancing on stage? Do you ever mess around?
The beauty with a live show is that you can really "have the craic" (craic = fun) and interact with the audience, which may involve a bit of jesting around on stage. Sometimes the musicians may feel the urge to challenge the dancers by playing the tunes a little bit faster then normal to see if we can keep up with them. The audience loves it when this happens. In my experience with shows, the more you interact with the audience and your fellow cast members the better the reaction you will gain.