Dance sensation returns

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SPIRIT of the Dance – one of Ireland’s most successful exports – is on a 14th anniversary tour which stops off at the Futurist Theatre on Sunday, at 7pm.

Hundreds of tickets had been sold by the time we went to press, and the theatre is confident of shifting a lot more before the show.

When Spirit of the Dance was last at the Futurist, 18 months ago, Evening News reviewer Jenny Drewery was enthralled.

“A heavy drumbeat starts, the white spotlights pick out a straight row of Irish dancers moving forward like a battle-line, arms rigid by their sides, feet clicking and swivelling so fast their legs are a blur. Instantly your concentration is riveted,” Jenny wrote at the time.

“The cheering ends, the next number is a courtship ritual, the men in shirt sleeves and waistcoats like the gangs of New York, preening themselves, showing off their arrogant prowess, the girls answering back with their own fiery display, sensuality sparking like lightning-bolts. Then a slinky blue-lit number, done in bowler hats, evoking Liza Minelli’s Cabaret.

“There’s flamenco, jazz, tap – and lovely young men in kilts, singing the Skye boat song before hurling themselves into a sword-dance.

“The music is divine, the soaring of the pipes propels the dancers to athletic leaps, the primeval drumbeat sets the heels stamping. The violin soloist takes the Sailor’s Hornpipe faster and faster; in Danny Boy the instrument croons and weeps. Intensely effective. The show defies description; the Futurist now has enough feathers in its cap to stuff a mattress, ” Jenny wrote.