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‘Riverdance’: One last time, with feeling

Ah, “Riverdance.” After its debut in 1996, the show inspired the Irish dance craze among red-ringlet-bewigged little girls and a bevy of Irish dance and singing groups familiar to PBS watchers. The show also spawned Cormac O’Shea, one of the show’s original dancers and director of the O’Shea Irish School of Dance in the Twin Cities, as well as (most unfortunately) the fatuous Michael Flatley (i.e, the self-anointed Lord of the Dance).

Well, all things must come to an end, and “Riverdance,” in all of its touring iterations, is no exception. This weekend marks the show’s farewell performances in the Twin Cities. And what a ride it’s been. I still recall the first time I saw the show, with its riveting percussive choreography, New Age/pagan mysticism, and songs swollen with pathos and pierced with atmospheric high notes. I was wowed. By the second viewing, however, I was over it.

“Riverdance” began as a seven-minute dance segment on the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest (it was televised to more than 300 million people in Europe).

Composer Bill Whelan, producer Moya Doherty and director John McColgan built a full-length show from that segment that’s (according to press data) been performed more than 10,000 times, and been experienced live by more than 21 million people in more than 300 venues throughout 32 countries across four continents. Whew.

Friday, May 8, at 8 p.m.;Saturday, May 9, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, May 10, at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Historic State Theater, 805 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis; $43-$63 , 800-982-2787.

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