Bill Whelan delights in bringing Riverdance 'home' to Limerick

Dancers Chloey Turner and James Grennan at the announcement that 'Riverdance' will be the flagship January event for the year-long Limerick National City of Culture 2014 celebrations. Included are Laura Minogue and Shona Cobb. Pic: Sean Curtin

Irish people don’t celebrate success enough and give each other a well-earned boost, Riverdance composer Bill Whelan said yesterday as he heralded the show’s “homecoming” to his native Limerick.

Mr Whelan said the recognition he has received in Limerick was very important to him.

He said: “Receiving the Freedom of Limerick was very important to me, as important as any other event including [winning] the Grammy.”

Mr Whelan said we don’t do success like Americans and celebrate each other’s achievements.

“When I was growing up in Limerick I used to dream of making music my life. I could never have imagined one day I would be bringing a show which has spent 20 years touring the world back to my own birthplace. I am delighted to see Riverdance finally on stage on the banks of the Shannon and I am proud as a Limerick man to have been part of its creation.”

He announced the details of the 20th anniversary world tour of Riverdance, which will begin in Limerick on Jan 16.

The six-show stint will run to Jan 19 at the University of Limerick Arena.

Mr Whelan said the Arena was chosen as it can accommodate the full, 40-performer presentation of Riverdance to an audience of 2,400.

Riverdance is part of Limerick’s City of Culture 2014 programme and it will be the only performance of the show in the Republic during the anniversary world tour.

Whelan was joined by producer Moya Doherty, who said Limerick was an appropriate stage from which to launch the milestone tour.

She said: “When Bill and I started to work on the Eurovision interval act in 1994, little did either of us think that 20 years later, not only would Riverdance have grown into a worldwide phenomenon that has been seen by over 23m people, but that we would be mounting a six-show run in a specially-created 2,400 seat theatre in Bill’s hometown.”

After Limerick, Riverdance will move on to nine European countries in the first half of 2014.

The US visit will commence at New York’s Radio City Music Hall next October.

To date, 23m people have attended Riverdance performances in over 350 venues throughout 45 countries.

It has played to global TV audiences of 2bn viewers.

More than 1,500 dancers have performed in the show and there have been 59 marriages between members of the touring company.


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