When I walked through the door on the Monday of the third week I knew that this was going to be another exciting time, full of new talent and learning. But I also had a sense of pressure to, in a way, live up to the first two weeks. However I knew we could do it when Padraic Moyles walked in the room, back from the start of the Heartbeat of Home tour in China, and all the instructors faces lit up. They looked so determined to make the week another great success, and I knew they would. I helped out registering on that Monday and was astounded by the fact that in my group everyone was under the age of 18. It just amazed me because I’d seen some of their dancing and the skill level was incredible, to be so young as well as so talented…incredible! Furthermore I had an interesting moment were I realised that, for this group of students, there had always been a Riverdance. Many of the students of all ages came up to me and told me that performing in Riverdance was a lifelong dream of theirs and for lots of them Riverdance had been a part of their childhood. It really highlighted the idea of ‘welcoming the next generation’ for me, because, that’s exactly what we were doing.
In the middle of a workout!
Working out first thing in the morning!
As the mornings work out started I could see that everyone felt in their element, with the instructors off to the side joining in on the workout. And then, as the dancing began, I feels every single person was taking the quote mentioned that morning to heart, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do” – Derek Jeter. Everyone was giving 110%. This was backed up when that evening I had a great moment, I was at the train station heading home and I saw two Riverdance Students practicing their hard shoe steps on the platform. Even after dancing and working out from 10:30am to 5:30pm they still wanted to keep going. That’s dedication!
On the Wednesday the students were treated to a talk from renowned Riverdance Composer Bill Whelan, as he explained how Riverdance came to be. He told us about his journey from beginner’s piano lessons all the way to composing the Riverdance orchestral pieces that swept the world. This again built on the theme of hard work always winning, as Bill Whelan had dedicated a lifetime to music, working on it since he was a kid. Later that evening the entire group began on the walk to the Gaiety theatre in order to see the show itself. Taking a shortcut through the grounds of trinity probably ended up making the journey take longer because everyone wanted photographs of them at the college.
A group of talented dancers pose for a picture.
Action shot mid-dance, kicking those legs up high.
When we arrived at the Gaiety everyone filed into their seats to watch the rotations for the show. It was almost spellbinding to see this behind the scenes look at Riverdance, it felt like we were in on some big secret. Then we were allowed to come up on the stage itself for pictures, it was a completely new perspective to the show which I loved. All of the students loved it too it seemed, with lots of happy chatter and exited shuffling. I thought back to those who, earlier that very week, had talked about how being in Riverdance and up on the very stage we currently stood on was their lifelong dream. And here we were. After the rotations finished we were able to file into our seats for the performance. As the lights dimmed you could feel the excitement buzzing off of the summer school dancers. The show was spectacular (of course), and I had fun when I noticed many of the students feet were subconsciously moving along to the music just like the dancers on stage. As we meandered out of the theatre the majority of students were practicing steps, I think even though it was nighttime they wanted to go to the Lir and do some dancing themselves!
Finishing positions after practicing.
Some of our young dancers.
Week three summer school students pointing their toes!
s the week came to a close the dancers reached an even higher level. That Thursday after watching the show, it was like they had been given supercharged batteries. Every single one of them was dancing as hard as they could and pushing themselves to their physical limits. And as Friday rolled around I could tell it had been worth it, every single dancer knew their routine to a T. Everyone was determined and elevated at the idea of the showcase on Saturday. And, as expected when Saturday came they all did themselves proud! It has been amazing to see such a long term dream of Riverdance’s come to fruition. The Summer Camp was an amazing success and I know that we are all so proud of what has been accomplished. So many people have put so much time into this, the instructors, the guest speakers, and those behind the scenes. And it’s been more than worth it, the dancers every week have been incredibly hardworking, talented and just spectacular. In my opinion we have been successful in welcoming the next generation, and I hope that we will be able to run the Summer School again next year to continue on generation Riverdance. Thanks for reading, #thisishowwedance
A long line of talented students.
A big group photo on the final day.