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Published: Friday, March 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Irish dancers to step lively in Everett

  • "Rhythm of the Dance" includes Irish musicians and tenors in addition to the Irish step dancers.

    The National Dance Company of Ireland.

    "Rhythm of the Dance" includes Irish musicians and tenors in addition to the Irish step dancers.

It's a figure that has yet to be measured, but even Nicola Kennedy would like to know how fast her feet really do move.
Kennedy performs the lead role in "Rhythm of the Dance," which will make a stop Tuesday at Comcast Arena on its current tour.
Kennedy's feet and those of the other dancers in "Rhythm of the Dance" fly at a mesmerizing pace throughout this two-part show, which includes a gifted cast of dancers, musicians and three Irish tenors. They all produce a revamped choreography along with pulsating Irish music that makes the audience feel like they are on the Emerald Isle.
Images from Ireland are projected on a screen during the performance, adding to the audience's virtual journey.
"After shows people from the audience come up and say, 'We feel we have just been to Ireland,' and that's what we really want to hear," Kennedy said in a phone interview.
Each three-minute dance tells a story and there are a variety of stories told throughout the "Rhythm of the Dance." Kennedy said the first part of the show is geared to the more serious stories and the second half of the show is more fun stories with upbeat dances.
Some audience favorites include a brush dance where the dancers use brooms as props. Then there's the dance with just Kennedy dancing to the beat of a drum with no other music.
Another favorite is an a cappella number with nine boy dancers, starting off really slow, then picking up the pace and getting faster and faster until their feet are moving so fast that the audience is just screaming its approval.
"That one always goes down well," Kennedy said. "People like a bit of a cappella."
There's also a swing number that Kennedy said the audience enjoys so much they clap along.
"It's a bubbly dance," she said, adding that the audience "will like everything in different ways."
"Rhythm of the Dance" includes top-notch musicians playing drum, fiddle, accordion, flute, harp, guitar and a version of the Irish bagpipes.
"The live musicians are fantastic and the singers, the three Irish tenors, have amazing voices and do well together," Kennedy said.
The singers do renditions of "Danny Boy," "The Blarney Rose" and "Carrickfergus."
The dancers are at the pinnacle of their careers, dancing with such precision and grace and discipline that the audience often remarks that they "make it look easy."
Kennedy's response to that is that it's taken her years of training and rehearsing, so much so that the untold number of steps she's had to memorize for each dance just come naturally to her when she's on stage.
"I think I will remember the steps the rest of my life," Kennedy said. "They have been drummed into me, so now I don't even think of my steps, my feet just do it, so I'm concentrating on performing."
Performing means making that connection with the audience while she's on stage, using her expressions and eyes to include as many people as she can.
Kennedy said her responsibility as lead performer is mainly to make sure that every night, every audience gets the same performance.
"It's always being at your best because obviously I'm in the spotlight," Kennedy said.
Kennedy, who just turned 27, has been dancing since she was 4. She's from Belfast and was a member of the Maura McGowan school of Irish Dance. She joined "Rhythm of the Dance" in 2005 and has toured throughout America, Canada, Asia, Australia and Europe.
Kennedy recently became a qualified Irish Dancing Teacher and wants one day t open her own dancing school, according to her biography.
For now, she loves her time with "Rhythm of the Dance."
"I'm living the dream," she said.
"Rhythm of the Dance" begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Comcast Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett.
Tickets are $19, $29 and $39. Call 866-332-8499 or go to www.comcastarenaeverett.com/.
Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com
Story tags » DanceCulture (general)EverettFamily fun

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