The Pantages Theatre
In the last 15 years or so, Riverdance has become a part of the lexicon of pop culture. Who were these quick-feet tap dancers, who stubbornly refused to use their arms in their dance and seem to bounce and bounce and bounce a lot? This new dance from Ireland was both intriguing and odd but no one could deny the illuminating presence of then dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley. A handsome rogue who could make another dance artist, say the late Fred Astaire, appear like an amateur. With his high powerful movements, thee audience feared he would faint from exhaustion dancing with the company to a solo to a duet with one of his lovely female counterparts. Well, Flatley's long gone and Riverdance is now on its last leg. This is a must see on their final farewell tour.
As people rushed in trying to find their seats in the dimly lit theater, the heart pounding show began with a huge slide of the blue heavens with a peek of the moon. Then, the show really begins. Marty Dowds starts off with high voltage moves. His form fitting black shirt and pants outline his fit looking body as he and other dancers perform high and higher kicks. Not to be outdone, by the men flamenco dancer Rocio Montoya kept up with the men and showed off a few tricks of her own. And if that wasn’t enough fiddle player Pat Mangan showed off his talents by challenging the speediness of the dancers against his expert fiddle playing. It was a draw. For those who are familiar with the production, not much has changed. The theatrical show is a combination of Celtic mythology and Irish history weaving in high octane music and extraordinary performances.
A few tweaks here and there but the concept developed by husband and wife team John McColgan and Moya Doherty, is still very much alive. A few changes include Montoya, the superb baritone singer soloist Michael Samuels, The Moscow Folk Ballet Company with leads Evgeniya Starodubova and Sergey Bukreev, the Riverdance Tappers, with lead tapper Jason E. Bernard and Kelly Isaac. John Kavanagh’s voice permeates the Pantages as he narrates the epic poem.
All eyes are on Dowds as he wows the audience with his quick and fluid moves, dark good looks, and his perfectly coiffed, spiky hair. His partner, the lovely Melissa Convery, balanced out each other and moved as one. One second they would look deep into each other’s eyes, then look away and then back up with genuine smiles. Their love for the music and dance was undeniable. The same goes for fellow tappers Bernard and Isaac who had a ‘dance-off’ with Irish tappers Brian Mullane and Marcus Maloney. Each would spoof the other’ styles, all friendly of course, well most of the time. At the end, the men came together and did a tremendous and mind blowing send off.
In between the manic dancing are the Riverdance Singers with Laura Yanez as the lead. If angels could sing, they would sound like Yanez. She was sweet and raw and when called for gritty. This is the last performance of the great Riverdance. See it one last time or for the first time and prepare to become excited, inspired and awed.
Riverdance runs Tuesdays through Friday sat 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. until Sunday, January 24th at the Pantages Theatre located at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Tickets available by calling 1-800-982-ARTS (2787) or online at