CULTURE

Celtic rhythm at the Herod Atticus

As the Celts are about to embark on a long journey, Aisling becomes their guiding force and the «Rhythm of the Dance» story begins. The rest of the action is scheduled to unfold this Saturday at the Herod Atticus Theater, where the National Dance Company of Ireland will present its spectacular dance extravaganza. Part of this year’s Athens Festival events, the globetrotting production offers two hours of authentic Irish music and dance. The National Dance Company of Ireland performed «Rhythm of the Dance» for the first time in 1990. Since then, the show has drawn more than 2 million spectators in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, while in 2001, a world tour included visits to cities in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. A fresh concept in Irish entertainment, the performance is based on national dances and storytelling but also uses Irish dance, music and singing soloists, while the rich costumes add color and flair to the action on stage. And though genuinely Irish, the show is also inspired and influenced by other musical cultures, including beat, jazz and Latin. Part of the show’s success lies with leading promoter Kieran Cavanagh, who, after promoting artists such Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, James Brown, Van Morrison, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson among others, turned his experience and efforts to «Rhythm of the Dance,» thus fulfilling his old dream of producing a dance spectacular. The troupe’s lead dancer Aisling Holly took her first artistic steps at the age of 3 and won her first championship three years later. Following those early achievements, she then attended the Performing School of Arts in Dublin, becoming a teacher and a choreographer while dancing her way to the top position in her National Dance Company. The production’s extra charm lies in the fact that the show’s dynamic original score is performed live by a group of gifted musicians. With their accordions, two fiddles, bodhran, saxophone, whistle and African drums, among other instruments, the musicians complement the voices of the singers. The orchestra’s musical director is prominent composer and arranger Carl Hession. The National Dance Company of Ireland at the Herod Atticus Theater on Saturday, June 28. Herod Atticus Theater, Dionysiou Areopagitou, Acropolis, tel 210.323.2771. For tickets, Athens Festival Box Office, 39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.322.1459.