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Riverdance is an Irish dancing stage show first performed in 1995. It grew out of a 7-minute interval act performed in the 1994 Eurovision Contest and has become the most famous Irish dancing stage show, to the point where Irish dancing is now sometimes referred to as Riverdancing. The show has no clearly defined storyline, but broadly speaking the first part of the show deals with various themes from Irish mythology and the second half covers the Great Famine of the 1840s and the Irish diaspora. In keeping with the international themes of the second half of the show, other dance styles are incorporated, including flamenco, tap and Russian folk ballet.

Riverdance contains examples of:

  • Celtic Mythology: a major theme in the first half of the show, which includes references to Cu Chulainn, the Countess Cathleen and various other mythological characters and themes
  • Crowning Moment of Awesome: A small local dance troupe provides a short intermission filler act for the Eurovision Song Contest. The performance receives a standing ovation and becomes a worldwide phenomenon virtually overnight.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome / Ear Worm: the entire show
  • Elemental Embodiment: arguably both the flamenco dancer in 'Firedance' and the Riverwoman in the title number could be seen as this
  • Home, Sweet Home: 'Homecoming/Home and the Heartland' towards the end of the show
  • In Harmony with Nature: implied in the first half of the show, with several dances and songs about the elements and seasons
  • Mood Dissonance: The opening of the second half of the show, which starts with what appears to be a big festival or celebration. Then it's revealed that many of the people present are about to leave Ireland for good and may never see each other again. It's implied that this is because of the Great Irish Famine
  • Mother Nature: the Riverwoman may be this
  • The Power of Love: 'The Heart's Cry' is all about this
  • Protest Song: 'Heal Their Hearts/Freedom'
  • The Rival / Follow the Leader: Michael Flatley left the show and created Lords of the Dance.
  • Scenery Porn: some of the backdrops head into this territory
  • Tear Jerker: 'Lift the Wings'
  • Uncommon Time: Bill Whelan seems to like this. 'Marta's Dance' is in 15/16 and part of 'Riverdance' alternates between different time signatures almost every bar - which makes it interesting to dance to!
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