Don’t be surprised if your heart takes on a new rhythm, that of the hard-pounding Irish feet of some of the best Irish dancers in the world, as you leave the high-energy new show, Heartbeat of Dance.
If you go
Heartbeat of Home
Now through March 16
Tickets – available at Broadway in Chicago box offices,
800-775-2000, Ticketmaster and at broadwayinchicago.com
At its U.S. premiere Wednesday night at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre, the dancing and music brought the audience to its feet and left many bouncing in their shoes leaving the theater as the sound echoed in their ears.
It was, in the words of my 14-year-old Irish dancing daughter Arlee, “inspirational.”
My family had watched many of the audition videos of the talented dancers and singers who wanted to be part of the show so we knew we had to see the show. But the producers of Riverdance certainly exceeded expectations and threw in so many delightful surprises as they merged our beloved Irish dance with Afro-Cuban, Flamenco and Latin dancing. So, too, they merged a jazzy, rock band on one side of the stage with the spirited Irish musicians on the other side for a combination you’ll likely never hear anywhere else.
Standout performances came from Ciara Sexton, the lead Irish dancer, who has won five world and all-Ireland championships, as well as Bobby Hodges, who holds 10 world Irish dancing titles. We particularly loved Teneisha Bonner’s fun Afro-Cuban dancing, as well as Clare Craze’s standout performance in Latin dance (it was hard to take our eyes off her.) We also loved the purity in Lucia Evans’ voice as she slowed down the action on the stage, bridging the dancing.
The show, which includes a brief intermission, kept us all on the edge of our seats. As a parent, it thrilled me to see the girls entranced. Their eyes never left the stage and both of them asked to see it again before it leaves Chicago.
So forget the over-priced corned beef and cabbage and green beer and celebrate the Irish culture in what should be the only way, at the Oriental Theatre. Don’t wait to get tickets, though, it is here only for two weeks and if Wednesday night’s enthusiastic crowd is any indication, they are going to go quickly.