Friday 23 March 2018

WATCH: Behind the scenes at Riverdance on 20th anniversary

Principal dancers on the Gaeity Dublin tour tell us about sore muscles, ice baths, and the thrill of performing to a full house every night

It has been 20 years since Riverdance first enraptured the nation with a stunning seven minute Eurovision interval act performance, and it's still going strong.

In fact, the current 20th Anniversary World Tour is the biggest for Riverdance so far with tours of Germany, Japan, Cork, Dublin, and a 60 city tour of North America kicking off in September.

Since the show began in Dublin in 1995 it has played over 11,000 performances and been seen live by 25 million people across 6 continents.

Brendan Dorris and Chloey Turner have been with Riverdance for eight years and are currently principal dancers in the show at Dublin's Gaeity theatre, performing to a full house every night.

Brendan, who hails from Belfast, says the iconic show was the "first time Irish dancers had a professional outlet and something to aspire to - it just has that reputation and that quality about it that only comes around once in a lifetime and I think that's why it has stood the test of time."

Although they have performed all over the world, Brendan says there's something special about performing to the home crowd at the Gaiety.

"It's amazing, there's a real national appreciation for Riverdance in Ireland, and here in Dublin," he says.

"You can just tell the home audiences are just so proud of what it represents and what it does for Ireland."

He adds, "What's nice about Dublin is we get to be in one place for an extended period of time. We're used to travelling every week so it does feel a wee bit different, a change in atmosphere.  People who are from Ireland get to see a lot mroe of their families than they would otherwise and Chloey's family can travel across to see her from the UK. "

After eight years touring with the show, Chloey says they're well used to the physical challenge of performing up to eight shows a week.  However, there have been times when it has been gruelling, necessitating treating aching muscles in ice buckets.

"I remember when I was training for principal it wasn't just ice buckets, I had to physically get into a bath of ice up to the waist because I was in so much pain," reveals Brendan.

"The ice just helps kind of reset your muscles because they well up so much with the physical exertion, so the ice is a very good thing!"

Chloey, who is also a qualified personal trainer, says she prefers a hot bath after performing.

Both admit they've fallen during performances on occasion.

"It happens, but you just get straight back up and off you go!" laughs Chloey.

"If you had a bad number you just have to move on," says Brendan, "You've the rest of the show to get through so it's a mentality you have to train yourself in - put that in the bin and go forward!"

Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre Dublin until August 30.  Tickets via

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