Heartbeat of Home, the sequel to the much-loved Riverdance Irish dance phenomenon, is a new improved cultural wonder. That’s because this show includes the sexy, heart-pounding sounds of Latin, Flamenco and Afro-Cuban dance woven into the tight, stylized Irish dance numbers we all expect from John McColgan and Moya Doherty, the creators of Riverdance and Heartbeat of Home.
As an added bonus, the show includes original music performed by the multi-talented 10-piece band and songs belted out by vocalist Lucia Evans. Even the staging plays a role–expansive scenes of Irish countryside and angry seas play along the back wall of the stage like some live IMAX backdrop.
Heartbeat of Home Dancers Shine
But it is the dance that captivates. From the throbbing opening number to the couples dances in which the women are tossed around like rag dolls, there was so much to watch that it was tough to take it all in.
And that’s before the African, Latin and Spanish dancers wind their way into the mix for a combination that ranges from step dancing to hip hop without ever feeling like a mash-up.
At the risk of sounding shallow, it is the beauty of the 27 dancers as much as the beauty of the dancing that makes this worth the $30-$85 ticket fee. Teen girls will swoon over the James Dean-like look of principal Irish dancer Bobby Hodges while the boys can drool over the waif-like Ciara Sexton or the powerful Tenisha Bonner. Bonner’s breakdancing wonder with partners Kieran Donovan and Renako McDonald is a spectacle in itself.
The show, which made its U.S. premier at Chicago’s gorgeous Oriental Theater as part of the Broadway in Chicago series, continues through March 16. Then it moves on to Detroit, Boston, New York City and Los Angeles. Don’t miss it if the show is headed to a venue near you. Check out the video highlights here.