Tuesday 16 July 2019

WATCH: Riverdanceathon in full swing as dancers jig for a whopping 12 hours non-stop

The cast of Riverdance along with Irish dancing schools from across the country will dance for 12 hours straight today to raise funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association

Áine Kenny

Irish dancers from all over the country will perform in a dance marathon outside the Gaiety theatre today from 10am-10pm.

The danceathon will raise much needed funds for the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA).

Each summer, Riverdance selects an Irish charity to support for the danceathon. At the event, people will get to see the cast perform iconic dances, as well performances from Irish dancers of all ages. Volunteers with card readers and collection buckets will try to raise as much funds as possible.

Over 400 dancers from over 20 dance schools are taking part.

There was a large crowd gathered outside the theatre today with many whoops, cheers and claps for the talented acts.

Maura McHugh, who has motor neurone disease, spoke at the event and thanked Riverdance and the IMNDA for all their support. "I was diagnosed six years ago. I am one of the lucky ones because its not progressive."

She also spoke about the importance of finding a cure.

"I'm just asking you please to donate as much as you can so we can find a cure for this horrible, horrible, disease. It's 24 years since the tablets we are on [were invented], so dip into your pockets,  just nobody can imagine what it's like."

Róisín Duffy, Chief Executive of the IMNDA, said that she was grateful that the IMNDA were chosen by Riverdance.

"We are here today to raise much-need funds for our association. The money raised will go to our core essential services, like our outreach nurses who visit families in their homes, counselling services, topping up home care grants, and equipment.

"Our main aim is to keep people in their homes. They should get the care they deserve and need, at home." 

Ms Duffy added that there were many IMNDA volunteers, as well as families and friends of people with motor neuron disease, in attendance today.

"It's been a real affirmation," she added.

Paudriac Moyles, Associate Director of Riverdance, said it is always an amazing event and he is in awe of the dancers. "The attention and care that they give, they way they donate their time, energy, skill and talents... its a donation essentially, there's nothing in it for them bar helping out a great cause."

"Nobody complains, [instead] they say 'how much can I do?'. It's one of the most uplifting things to see."

Mr Moyles added that Riverdanceathon used to be for 24 hours, and on the first year performers were dancing in the lashing rain at 2am, trying to avoid puddles.

"12 hours is a lot more manageable, especially for the younger children who take part," he said.

He also believes the IMNDA is a very worthy cause. "When you get a better understanding of what they do, and the fact that 83 pc of their funds come from charitable donations, we really wanted to get behind them, donate as much as we can, and build awareness."

To donate to the IMNDA, visit https://imnda.ie/get-involved/donate/.

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