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The Breathtaking Spirit of the Dance

Spirit of the Dancer performed at Warwick Arts Centre on 9 February.

Review by Ann Evans

From the haunting start of this show as it mystically introduces us to the spirit of the dance, the audience at Warwick Arts Centre were brought under the spell of these superb dancers. Although Irish Dancing is at the heart of this production, each routine which blended seamlessly into the next, brought something breathtakingly new and equally spectacular.

Along with the power and precision of these world class Irish dancers, they delivered the exciting rhythms of Flamenco, Tango and Salsa. Colourful costumes sparkled in every routine as they danced such dances as the riotous Parisian can-can; then thumbs in belts came a lively cowboy hoedown; chiffon-clad dancers gave us some Turkish belly dancing; there was Hollywood glamour and – showing my age here, even a glimpse of high-kicking Tiller Girls.

A particularly dramatic Scottish sword dance complete with piper and dancers in full Scottish regalia, thrilled the audience with their kilt-swinging Scottish reels. The modern street dancing routines were bang up to date with their mood and angst coupled at times in Westside Story type of challenges. As for their Vaudeville/Cabaret-style dance, I could have watched that again and again.

Every routine was perfection, their dancing in total sync so that the power and sounds of dancing feet became another element of the music. Understandably, they have been likened to a runaway express train as the speed, noise and excitement builds to a crescendo.

Yet contrasting with the power, the mesmerising hand clapping, feet tapping and heart-pounding rhythmic beats of some dances, came the gentleness and serenity of other routines and the melodic singing of their solo artists. Throughout the show the music was evocative whether it was the simple sound of a single flute to a full orchestra. And as the smiling audience filed out of the auditorium I think that many were leaving with a lively skip to their step.

The multi-award-winning Spirit of the Dance is produced by David King and is one of the biggest dance shows in the world having been seen by over 20 million people! After performing at Warwick Arts Centre, the show moves on to other venues around the country providing an awe-inspiring evening of amazing Irish dancing.

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