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Here Come the Hotsteppers

Ireland's smash dance troupe returns.


Ireland's smash dance troupe returns. Aislinn Ryan never thought she'd be headlining Riverdance. Growing up in New Zealand, she first saw the show on television. The dance extravaganza wasn't yet a phenomenon, and to Ryan — a young gymnast studying Irish dancing — the dazzling show seemed impossibly far away, both geographically and artistically. "It's quite surreal, actually," she says. "Sometimes I'll have these moments onstage where I can't believe what I'm doing."

Riverdance was originally conceived as a history lesson, telling the story of Ireland through music and dance. The historical aspects, however, are often lost these days among the fancy footwork, flashy costumes, and easy-on-the-eyes cast. Before joining the show two years ago, Ryan danced her way up the ranks by winning numerous dance competitions. "Almost everybody in [Riverdance] was in them," she says. "It's funny, because people who used to be my archenemies are now my friends."
Fri., June 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 17, 2, 7:30 & 8 p.m.

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