The lead dancer in a show coming to the the Lichfield Garrick says the years of hard work learning her art are all worthwhile when she takes to the stage.

Rhythm of the Dance

Amy Marie Prior will join the dancers of Rhythm of the Dance when it comes to the city on 8th and 9th of June.

After a career as a competitive Irish dancer which saw her win six world medals and five southern regional championships, Amy began her professional touring career in 2015 before joining the show the following year.

The Garrick will be the latest stop for a production that has played in venues across the globe – and Amy admits it’s been a brilliant opportunity for her.

“Touring is such a different way to explore and see the world,” she said. “I’m so grateful at 21 to have been to so many countries and given the opportunity to explore different parts of the world.

“I also love seeing all the different theatres and the reaction from the audience at the end of every show and I love meeting everyone after the show as well.

“But the final number and the reaction we receive after our last bow gives me an amazing feeling inside as it makes all the hours of rehearsals and years of learning how to dance worthwhile as the audience is so appreciative.”

“I love to watch the audience reaction”

Created in 1999, the show has played to more than seven million people in more than 50 countries.

Rhythm of the Dance

The 20th anniversary tour features a traditional Irish band and singers as well as a cast of leading dancers.

Former Riverdance performer Dane McKiernan is behind the show’s current choreography.

And he admits that the relationship between the cast and the crowd is key.

“I love to watch the audience reaction throughout the show,” he said. “Especially after the opening scene because for the first time you get to see if they are going to be a vocal or reserved crowd.

“Depending on the country or region, some audiences are especially vocal whereas others are quite reserved until the end of the show.

“The world tour we just completed had standing ovations after every single show and that’s just the best feeling after performing for two hours.

“When the audience are enjoying the show, it definitely lifts the cast on stage to perform at the highest level – it’s all about creating that energy every night.”

“Each year the show evolves”

The show is inspired by the journey of the Irish Celts throughout history and was created by Daniel O’Donnell’s manager Kieran Cavanagh, who continues to produce Rhythm of the Dance.

“Back in 1998 I got a call from the head of music at Ireland’s National TV & radio channels asking me to put a dance troupe together to accompany the National Concert Orchestra to America for a three-week tour.

Rhythm of the Dance

“The tour was such a success that we then toured Scandinavia in March and April of 1999 and now here we are all those years later still touring the world for 40 weeks of the year every year.

“Each year the show evolves. We change costumes, choreography and the music annually, so it stays fresh for our audiences around the world who come back year after year to see the show.

“We feel we owe it to them to produce some new pieces for them to see for the first time.

“In many countries, including the UK and Ireland, we have audiences who come back to see the show again and again and I know they delight in seeing new aspects of the show every time.”

Tickets for Rhythm of the Dance on 8th and 9th June are available from the Lichfield Garrick website or call 01543 412121.

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.