River Dance debuted in Dublin Ireland in November 1994. Michael Flately choreographed the original production. RiverDance troupe performed for the first time in America at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1996. Dance troupe are excellent Irish high steppers highly skilled in ballet, jazz, gymnastics, tap and clogging. River Dance is a mystical, celebration about the universal sun, river, and earth. The first scene, Reel Around the Sun, focuses on supernatural, unexplained and fascinating powers of the sun.
Reel Around the Sun, wants to say that sun was believed to have mystical power in earliest civilization. The beginning introducing Reel Around the Sun, shows theatrical special affects. The first scene begins with ripple crystal dark blue waves across the screen, symbolizing a clear flowing river. Background setting is late evening while the glowing sunset is peaking through the midnight skyline. The dancers are dressed in mysterious black leotards, skirts, tights with a evening blue sash tied around their waist. They are wearing clogging shoes. Performers begin the show dancing in a precise line.
The choreography moves the dancers as a group in formations at least after every 2 eight counts. They do not stay in one formation for a long period of time. The choreography is continuously moving. Dancers group formations move from dancing in a straight line to dancing around the sun. Dancers clogging energetically around in a circle surrounding the symbology of the sun, highlights the first act. Dancers upper body is pulled up out of their hips and immobile. From the hips down, energetic, fast and precise steps are doing all the dancing. Performers are multitalented.
Majority of dancers performing in touring in Riverdance productions who are invited to join the dance troupe have placed in national championship Irish dance competitions. Other dancers in the dance company take ongoing dance classes. There are no open calls. The dancers appear to be doing dance steps demanding very little movement. After, all, how hard is it to just tap your feet in rhythm while your upper body is completely still. At the end of Reel Around the Sun, the principle dancer is breathing like she just finished running the most exhausting marathon of her life.
Well trained professional dancers make the most taxing dance moves look easily effortless. Keeping the body continuously pulled up from the hips as one unit, requires years of ballet training. An untrained person cannot hold that posture for two minutes. Stage lighting and music gives an atmosphere of being at a beach, in the sky, or on the moon observing the sun. The backdrop is a mountain highlighted with an evening sunset. Upstage has a bright white light shining on the backdrop. Centerstage or down stage, the tint of the light is glowing, not bright like daylight.
The glow from the stars shines on the dancers. A blue tinted shaded light is mixed with the glow of the stars. The show is a story about the mystical universe. Reel Around the Sun opens the show. Within the first two minutes, viewers realize they are watching an intriguing mysterious show that may be interpreted as religious, mystical, and occult elements. Audience members are taken into a universal era. At the end of the performance, the audience realizes they are back to the planet earth.