INTERVIEW: Rhythm of the Dance cast thrilled to be first show as Derry’s Millennium Forum reopens next week
THE principal cast of a brand new production of global hit Rhythm of the Dance have said they are absolutely thrilled to be making their European tour premiere in Derry and to be performing in the first production at the Millennium Forum in 18 months.
Dane McKiernan and Amy Prior and the rest of the cast from Rhythm of the Dance will perform live at the Forum to a sold-out, socially distanced audience on Friday next, with tickets still available for the following two shows on Saturday, September 25, at 2pm and 7.30pm.
County Meath native Dane is the Creative Director/ Choreographer and Male Lead in the show, while Amy is the Female Lead and the duo have previously danced their way across the world together on various international tours with Rhythm of the Dance - a show which has brought Irish dance, history and culture to an audience of almost eight million people over its 22 year run.
Dane recreated the show during lockdown last year and the cast have been rehearsing at the Millennium Forum for the past two weeks. “We have gotten used to being home and social distancing so even having the whole group back in one studio space, everything feels so new and fresh and it’s just great to have all the energy of different people around and everybody is really excited,” Dane said. “There’s a great buzz. Even seeing a theatre reopening it’s like, ‘wow, there really is light at the end of the tunnel’. It’s great to get the troupe back together now and see all these ideas we have been working on for months with music, and dance and song really coming together and breathing new life into the show.”
London native Amy, who has been dancing since she was three years old, concurs that it is amazing to be back on stage. “It’s been a long old 18 months and to be back on stage now is so surreal, and on Friday I think it’s going to be emotional. Everyone wants to perform. The audenice haven’t seen a production over that time and we feel we need to make it special for everyone.”
“We want to blow them away and that transfer of emotions, of how grateful we are back on stage, we want to see that reciprocated with an audience that is just enjoying theatre again. It’s such an amazing job for us to have to be able to perform,” Dane adds.
Both Dane and Amy said that getting together and working together in person again with the rest of the cast and crew and the staff at the Forum has been incredible and has renewed their love for performing.
Rhythm of the Dance features world champion dancers and world class musicians who play live on stage, star vocalists singing live and captivates with its pulsating rhythms performed at lightning speed. It takes the audience on a journey through Ireland’s history from the ancient, rich in legend and myth, to the modern, urban Ireland of today, with Sean Nos through to the modern style very much at the heart of that journey. Dane said: “The whole way through the show you get to dip into that raw human nature of how people interact, love, loss, happiness, having to leave your country. All over the world people identify with the plight of the Irish. We have been through it and we try to capture all the pain and joy the country has been through in history and we try to represent that. It does take us through to the ancient Celtic Ireland right up to the modern Ireland we know. The show is teaching about our culture.”
And as the day of their first public performance in 18 months draws near, they say they cannot wait to perform in Derry. Amy said: “We are so, so lucky to be the first opening here. For our show to be the first it is very special for us and even the staff at the Millennium Forum here are very excited. It’s sore on the old legs, but we’ll be used to it by the next one!
“To know that we are going out to a sold out audience, I can’t even imagine the feeling we are going to get on Friday.”
David McLaughlin, Chief Executive of the Millennium Forum, said: “I am thrilled to re-open the Millennium Forum on September 24 to this wonderful, brand new, version of Rhythm Of The Dance. It has been an exceptionally long period of enforced closure for us due to the pandemic and there have been many dark times for our theatre and industry. When the house lights go down, the main auditorium quiets in anticipation and the curtain rises on Friday evening for this show, I will breathe a huge sigh of relief.
“We have always been a theatre for the people of this city and beyond and we thank our loyal customers profusely for staying with us during this truly difficult period. We promise you many nights of wonder and excitement once again – the Millennium Forum is back in business!”
After Derry, the cast will be flying to Scandanavia on September 28 and performing in Copenhagen and if you want to witness what is sure to be a special series of world-class performances, tickets for the two Saturday shows are on sale online at www.millenniumforum.co.uk or telephone Box Office on +44(0) 28 7126 4455.