WEEKEND: 'Rhythm of the Dance' troupe brings history, culture of Ireland to Port Angeles on Sunday
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Dane McKiernan and Megan Kirk, foreground, will appear in Port Angeles this Sunday with a flock of other members of the National Dance Company of Ireland.
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Christopher Anglim and Emma O'Sullivan do some drumming and dancing with a broom in "Rhythm of the Dance."

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — As it travels from Las Vegas to Port Angeles, the National Dance Company of Ireland isn't just doing the “Riverdance” routine.

No, this troupe — dancers, three tenors, live band — has a dark and smoldery tango, the Charleston, a pan dance and a broom dance in its repertoire.

“It's a major production with about 30 real, live Irish singers, dancers and musicians up on that stage,” said Dan Maguire, the guy bringing “Rhythm of the Dance,” the company's latest show, to Port Angeles High School on Sunday.

As executive director of the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts, Maguire recently added “Rhythm” to the lineup of Juan de Fuca season concerts.

“I don't know if Port Angeles has ever seen a show of this scale before,” he said of the concert, to start at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the high school's auditorium, 304 E. Park Ave.

Tickets range from $15 to $35 for adults and $10 for youth 14 and younger at the door.

“We have everything — a great mix of traditional Irish dancing and more modern stuff,” performer Marty McKay said in a telephone interview last Saturday. McKay, who is from Glasgow, Scotland, was in Las Vegas, where “Rhythm of the Dance” did a three-night stand.

“Vegas is up there,” said McKay, 24, when asked to name a highlight from this five-month world tour. Oh, and it was also nice to perform in Moscow.

“I was one of the 'Riverdance' children,” added McKay.

He saw that famed step-dancing show when he was just 7, and made up his mind to pursue the performing life.

Now the “Rhythm” dance captain, he's been with the National Dance Company of Ireland since he auditioned three years ago.

Despite its name, the company has performers from Canada and the United States as well as Ireland, Scotland and England, McKay said.

The “Rhythm” extravaganza travels through Irish history, telling a romantic tale with songs such as “The Hill of Tara,” “Afro Celt,” “The Mountains of Mourne” and “A New Dawn.” There's also “Danny Boy” and “Swing Time.”

McKay, for his part, has no fewer than 12 costume changes.

The show's props include a pan, into which a dancer jumps with both feet, and a plain old broom. It's traditional, McKay said, for the Irish to dance with things they have around the house.

So far this year, the company has danced, sung and played in China, Switzerland, Germany, New Hampshire, Kentucky and California, among other tour stops.

And after Port Angeles, “Rhythm” will move on to Abbotsford, B.C., and Brooklyn, N.Y., before the tour wraps up in North Tonawanda, N.Y., on March 30.

“We get around,” said McKay.

To find out more about the show and the company, visit www.Rhythmofthedance.com.

Last modified: March 22. 2014 9:46PM
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