Dancer works his legs in 'Riverdance'

Irish-born Padraic Moyles stars in acclaimed dance show, which has been performing around the world since 1995. He married a fellow company member.

October 27, 2011|By Candice Baker, Special to the Daily Pilot

Some of us relax at the end of the work day with a glass of iced tea.

Padraic Moyles prefers a bucket of ice.

Moyles stars in "Riverdance," the original Irish dance phenomenon that first swept through the world in the mid-1990s and sparked many copycat productions. The show is now on "The Riverdance Farewell Tour" of the region before making entrées in new regions like India, Moyles said. It's making a stop at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts this weekend.

"We're trying to hit all the cities we've ever been to, and lots that we've never been to," he said.

The show's management has opted to eschew the increasingly common practice of creating multiple companies for a production in order to have a simultaneous presence on several different continents.


"'Riverdance' could have pumped out four or five different shows, but that would dilute the talent," Moyles said. "They decided they would rather keep the integrity. Rather than have five companies, the most we'll ever have is three companies. It also helps the dancers to know that; it helps us in the job that we're doing."


'Sharper, stronger and thinner'

Moyles said the show's technology, lighting and costumes have evolved since 1995, although certain core numbers have always stayed the same. The quality of dancers also has improved, he said.

"They're sharper, stronger and thinner than they've ever been before, because there's a lot more demand from them," he said. "We're bringing in new talent all the time, and it keeps the people who are there that much longer."

Moyles said the new talent also forces more experienced dancers to focus on continuous improvement, for fear of going "down the ladder."

"That wasn't a factor in the beginning of the show," Moyles said, but the company now strives to be the world-class dancers that the entire world expects to see with their purchase of an admission ticket.


Making waves

Moyles said the first half of the show is based on myth and legend, while the second half is about travel and discovery, evoking the idea of Ireland leaving British rule for a better life — appropriate, perhaps, for a company that now travels to former British colonies and protectorates, among other former colonial states.

The show has become an unofficial cultural ambassador for Ireland around the world, and still has vast territories to delve into.

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