“So you love Irish dancing?” asked an older man in the queue. “Not really, I said. My parents really wanted to come. But I’m not dreading it.”
I may not have been a fan upon entering the Wolverhampton Grand last night, but the stunning Irish spectacular, Rhythm of the Dance, certainly converted me.
Performed by The National Dance Company of Ireland, this incredible, highly-professional show saw fans gasping and shouting out in awe - while clapping and stomping their feet along to the music in true Celtic style throughout the two-hour performance.
I have been to many a Spanish dance show while abroad, but what the Rhythm of the Dance portrays is something far closer to home - just across the Irish Sea - and is arguably far more impressive.
The dancers, though accompanied by excellent musicians and singers, were without doubt the stars of the show - and just how they moved their feet so quickly, yet remained in formation and perfectly choreographed throughout each and every dance was beyond me. They were simply phenomenal.
From start to end, I was sat on the edge of my seat watching the 20-odd incredibly talented male and female dancers - with my jaw open in awe.
Their performance, telling the tale of the Irish Celts throughout history - from gaining independence from the English, to migrating to America - combined traditional step dance and music with contemporary sets, presenting the show in a modern and compelling fashion, with excellent lighting and stunning costumes adding to the atmosphere.
A live band, featuring an array of instruments, from flutes to piccolos, guitar and drums, accompanied the dancers perfectly.
Sometimes they would play alongside the dancers, but at certain points in the show the musicians truly came into their own, with stunning vocals from a trio of male and female singers, and a few thrilling solos from their highly talented drummer playing the traditional Irish Bodhrán. Even the very best of drum solos can be boring and largely self-indulgent - but this display of incredible skill was anything but.
A lively, engaging show with tremendous music, wonderful scenery and thrilling, awe-inspiring dance - Rhythm of the Dance is not a show to be missed. Even if you’re not a fan of dance (I know I’m certainly not), if you like Irish music, get yourself to this show.
The tour arrives at Oakengates Theatre in Telford this Thursday - miss it, miss out.
By Kirsten Rawlins