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Irish dance is raising the temperature of a chilly Joburg, with Dance of Desire making its Joburg Theatre Complex debut.
FROM the land of leprechauns, pots of gold and good old Guinness, comes another phenomenon to take the world by storm. Dance of Desire is in South Africa for the first time and is on at the Joburg Theatre Complex’s Mandela Theatre until 22 May.


Dance od DesireDancers mesmerise with Irish traditional dancingA tour-de-force in the same vein as Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Spirit of the Dance, Dance of Desire differentiates itself by incorporating singing, as well as a more relaxed approach to traditional Irish dancing. Usually, the performers’ upper bodies are kept still while their legs do all the work. Dance of Desire, however, gives the genre a fresh twist by veering off that path.

It is a ground-breaking production that challenges the boundaries of other Irish dance shows, says Claire Pacariz, the complex’s marketing manager.

“Complete with entirely original music and choreography, Dance of Desire is undoubtedly unique in its imaginative design.”

It is also one of a select few Irish resident and touring dance productions that was produced in Ireland, she adds. It has not only received critical acclaim in its home country, but also across the board.

It is a story of passion, greed and love following King Lir, his four daughters and their evil stepmother, Queen Aoife, who wants to take over the kingdom. Tagging along are a goblin who also happens to be a prince, and the beautiful Princess Anu.

King Lir is played by Christopher McSorley, while the evil stepmother is played by Marie Lynch. The four daughters are known only by the colour of their dresses – Katrina O’Donnell plays the daughter in yellow; Victoria Pullen is in purple; Amy Tyndall is in green; and Therese Tuohey is the lady in red.

The story unfolds as Aoife tries her utmost to clear her way to the top by getting rid of her stepdaughters. She enlists the help of a light-footed goblin, played by Andras Kren, but her scheme goes awry as the goblin falls in love with Anu, played by Kelly Stephens.

As in all timeless fairytales, the two fall in love and evil is overcome. They get married, and as the saying goes, live happily ever after. But the production does more than just reconstitute the tale of good overcoming evil. It uses original music and choreography to tell the tale, and the cast make it seem like no other story like it has existed before.


Good music infuses Dance of DesireGood music infuses Dance of DesireIt is the goblin who steals the show. In the opening acts, he slinks around the stage like a cat thief, but as his role develops, he begins to take centre stage. He provides comedy, as well as jaw-dropping moves.

The cast of 25 performers includes Irish and world champion dancers, and some of Ireland’s finest musical and vocal virtuosos. The show has previously been staged to sell-out audiences from Beijing to Berlin, Chicago to the Czech Republic, Kuala Lumpur to Paris and has just completed a nine-month residency at Jupiter’s Casino on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Dance of Desire was established and lives in a post-Riverdance world, says Pacariz. At once a show and a national dance company, it is the company where Riverdance was born.

Riverdance is possibly the most famous Irish dance show of all, and consists of traditional Irish step-dancing.

About Dance of Desire, Pacariz says: “The accumulative skills and talents of the costume, set and lighting designers have insured … that the power and passion of the show’s storyline, devised by Sean Quinlan, is conveyed to the audience in a realistic and all encapsulating manner.

“While the choreography, described as ‘outstanding and extremely innovative’, speaks for itself in terms of the heights it reaches and the boundaries that it crosses.”

It runs until 22 May. Tickets are priced from R171 and can be bought on the Joburg Theatre Complex website or phoning the theatre’s direct ticketing line on 0861 670 670.

The Joburg Theatre Complex can be found on Loveday Street in Braamfontein.

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