Rhythm of the Dance stomps into town

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“Rhythm of the Dance,” a two-hour dance and music extravaganza that marries the traditional with the contemporary, is coming to New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5.

Submitted photo: Rhythm of the Dance performers practice their iconic steps in preparation for Tuesday’s live show.

The Performing Arts Series event, which is being billed as “an inspiring epic, reliving the journey of the Irish Celts throughout history,” is an early St. Patrick’s Day offering, courtesy of PAS.

“‘Rhythm of the Dance’ is the complete package,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish. “The show features a live band, three tenors and some 22 dancers, including a ‘sean-nós’ performer,” she said, explaining that the term sean-nós refers to an older style of traditional solo Irish dance.

Tech Club – Club Macey, open to adults age 21 and over, will offer corned beef and cabbage starting at 5:30 p.m., and will remain open during intermission. Non-members will be assessed a $5 cover charge.

Initially, the show was set up for a three-week tour of the United States, but was so popular, that, 13 years later, it continues to achieve greater critical acclaim year after year.

Since its debut performance in 1999 on a stage in Norway, “Rhythm of the Dance” has played to over five million fans in 33 countries worldwide; and, along with “River Dance,” with which it is often compared, has heralded a new era in Irish entertainment.

What Michael Flatley did for “River Dance,” director/producer Kieran Cavanagh, choreographer Doireann Carney and composer Carl Hession are doing for “Rhythm of the Dance,” as the show continues to evolve. Audiences who attend performances regularly will always find some new and exciting elements.

Combining the traditional and modern arts of dance (ballet, modern dance, jazz) with music and the most up-to-date stage technology, the show is a thousand-year-old story executed with all the advantages of contemporary theater.

“Basically, through dance and music, ‘Rhythm of the Dance’ relives the journey of the Irish Celts throughout history, from their struggle for independence from England, to the potato famine of the late 19th century – which brought thousands of immigrants to America’s eastern shores – to modern times,” Kalish said.

The stage show unfolds in two acts with an intermission in between. “Storybook” opens the performance, followed by an opening dance, then a medley of Irish songs and dances. Act two features the iconic Irish ballad, “Danny Boy.”

“The ‘Rhythm of the Dance’ performers are a young and enthusiastic troupe of touring professionals, and I know Socorro is going to give them a warm welcome,” Kalish said. “And with a live band on stage – well, let me just say that anyone with even a hint of Irish blood in them is going to enjoy this show!”

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and $10 for youth 17 and under, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.