Riverdance youngsters take to the stage

VIDEO Four young Suffolk dancers are feeling as light as air today after being given the chance to have one of their dreams come true.When the Evening Star ran a competition last week offering readers the opportunity to take part in a dancing workshop with some of the cast of an internationally famous show, we knew it would be popular.

FOUR young Suffolk dancers are feeling as light as air today after being given the chance to have one of their dreams come true.

When the Evening Star ran a competition last week offering readers the opportunity to take part in a dancing workshop with some of the cast of an internationally famous show, we knew it would be popular.

Riverdance has been on stage at the Regent Theatre throughout the last week and we teamed up with some of the dancers to offer the competition for a workshop masterclass in the Irish dancing the show is famous for.

Entries came flooding in and after pulling the winners names from a hat, they were invited to the Regent for the workshop with dancers Carla O'Brien and Benedict Devlin.


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All our winners attend Irish dancing classes in Ipswich and were over the moon to be able to dance with two of the best in the world.

Lucy Collins, 16, Natalie Wright, 13, Charley-ann Musselwhite, eight and Aoife Treacy, seven, all took their first steps on the Regent stage as they learnt one of the key dances of the show.

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By chance, when they arrived at the theatre, the girls discovered they all attended the same dance school - run by Christy Fenelon at Holy Trinity Church in Back Hamlet.

After a warm-up, Carla and Benedict started to take them through some steps and quickly realised the girls all knew the basics and were keen to add to their experience.

With their proud parents and dance teacher Mr Fenelon watching, the girls learnt sections of one of the dances and began to put them together before the famous Riverdance music was added and the group all danced together, moving across the stage using the same steps as the real cast.

As his pupils danced, Mr Fenelon admitted he was delighted that members of his school had all become winners.

“We brought the paper to class to encourage them to enter the competition and hoped that one of them would get in, but for all four to come from the class is amazing,” he said.

“It's really good to see them doing this, we do displays at Christmas and Saint Patrick's Day but normally they do more simple dances than this - although I have a feeling now all they are going to want to do Riverdance!”

By the time the workshop finished, the girls had gone from taking a few nervous steps to confidently dancing to the music. And after their tutors had heaped praise on them, they all said they had been overjoyed by the experience.

Charley-ann, from Stowmarket, said: “I thought it would be quite fast and it was! It was really good, I really enjoyed it. I want to be in the show now!”

Natalie, who lives in Colchester, was equally as enthusiastic.

“It was an amazing experience, I like that we did it with the music so we got the speed and how they have to do it. I'd love to do this professionally one day.”

At 16, Lucy was the most experienced of the group and admitted that she had her sights set on being a professional dancer.

“I really enjoy the music and being able to dance to it and getting the buzz from doing it,” she said.

“I'd like to go on to do more competitions and when I've just done one dance it feels amazing inside, especially when you've put a lot of practice into it.”

At just seven, Aoife, from Bradfield, was the youngest of the group but she more than held her own when it came to learning the moves.

“It was really good fun and very fast and it tires you out,” she said.

“I liked following what they were saying and I like the music as well.”

Riverdance is based on traditional Irish dancing, although the show also now features flamenco, ballet and tap.

To be a part of the Riverdance cast, the dancers will all have spent several years working the way to the top of their profession and all are expected to have reached championship level in international competitions.

The name Riverdance comes from one of the sections of the show that has been choreographed to represent the moving of water.

Since it was first performed as a full length show in 1995, Riverdance has been seen by more than 19 million people around the world.

There has been more than 9,000 performances in more than 260 venues, throughout 32 countries.

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