Riverdance Sparkles in Nashville

Riverdance, the Original International Phenomenon, flooded TPAC with joyful music, song and dance this week. Composed by Bill Whelan, produced by Moya Doherty, and directed by John McColgan, Riverdance  features an international company of brilliant performers who have captivated millions around the world and tonight captured Nashville. 
Led by the exquisite Irish female lead Melissa Convery and the exuberantly talented lead Irish male dancer Sean Beglan, the show sparkled with synchronized movements, graceful choreography and ethereal singing. Celtic in nature, Riverdance overflowed it’s Celtic origins and incorporated Flamenco, tap and Russian motifs relatively seamlessly. Still, it was the Celtic steps and music that made the show, and while the entire troup moved as one breathtaking whole, it was the two leads that shone the brightest. What a pleasure it was to watch Convery and Beglan effortlessly float across the stage. More on the two leads below.
Another favorite Riverdance moment was the dancing duel where two tap dancers and three Celtic dancers threw down their best steps and then incorporated each other’s moved.
Riverdance is a celebration of Irish history through music, song and dance, which focuses on the evolution of Irish dance, as well as its similarities with, and influences on, other cultures.  While the show begins with sun-worshipping Celtic pagans, the second half of the show, which runs in a chronological order, incorporates a spiritual number.
Mr. Whelan won the 1997 Grammy Award for “Best Musical Show Album” for his original music and lyrics for Riverdance.
Riverdance had its world premiere at the Point Theatre, Dublin, in February 1995, where it opened to unanimous critical acclaim.  There are presently two productions of Riverdance touring the world. To date, over 18 million people worldwide have seen Riverdance, in addition to some 9 million people who have purchased the video versions of the show.  Riverdance–The Album, on Celtic Heartbeat/Universal Records, has sold more than two million CDs worldwide and is certified Platinum in the United States.
Tickets for Riverdance range from $19-68, depending upon performance times and seat locations.  For tickets, visit the TPAC Box Office (Downtown or at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills), online at www.tpac.org, or any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets may also be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 615/255-ARTS (2787).  For information on offers for groups of 20 or more, call TPAC Group Sales at 615/782-4060.
Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC), 505 Deaderick Street, Nashville, presents Riverdance February 15-20, 2005 in Andrew Jackson Hall. Times are 7:30 p.m. Tuesday; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8:00 p.m. Friday; 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Saturday; 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $19-68, available at www.tpac.org, TPAC Box Office (Downtown or at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in Green Hills), all Ticketmaster outlets; or by calling Ticketmaster, 615/255-ARTS (2787)
Sean Beglan (principal Irish dancer)
Sean Beglan, raised in the small farming town of Cavan, Ireland, was always interested in sports ranging from Gaelic football and hurling to soccer and basketball.  While nurturing his competitive streak, his parents decided that he should follow in his sister’s footsteps and learn how to Irish Dance, sending him to dance school at age four.  By age ten he had successfully competed in local and national competitions and appeared on national television. Sean then started to compete at the top world level competitions, placing in the top ten dancers in the world. At fifteen years old he started touring with traditional Irish Ceoil groups.  In the summer of 2000 Sean joined Riverdance, fulfilling an ambition of his for some time.  After three years of performing in the Irish dance troupe, he is now dancing the principal male lead role in the show.
Melissa Convery (principal Irish dancer)
From Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland, Melissa showed promise in athletics, winning many All-Ireland and Ulster championships for her school and county. Irish dancing took precedence and Melissa earned many provincial, All-Ireland, British National and World Championship awards. This past summer she toured with The Chieftains. Melissa joined Riverdance in 1997 and has toured Europe, Australia, Japan and South-East Asia with the show. She also performed the principal role in Riverdance-ON BROADWAY.

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