Prodijig, stars of Sky One's Got To Dance, return with Footstorm
Group founder Alan Kenefick promises 'a new form of magic for Irish dance'
Once upon a time, Irish dance was all big wigs, glued arms and tough judges. Then, in 1994, Riverdance came along and turned this competitive dance form into a bona fide performance style. But time stands still for no dance, and the latest incarnation of Irish movement took flight last year, when Prodijig won series three of Sky One’s Got To Dance. According to the group’s founder, Alan Kenefick, the time is ripe for something new.
‘Everything has to move on,’ he says, ‘and we’re in an amazing era for Irish dance just now. Because of social media and YouTube, people are able to express themselves and learn from each other, so everything is evolving much quicker.’
Kenefick was lead dancer with Riverdance for five years, and between them, Prodijig has won every major Irish dancing competition. But that’s all in the past – Footstorm is the future, the first full-length production the group has produced since its television success.
For Kenefick, taking part in the Sky One programme proved he had something to offer as a choreographer. ‘The audition on Sky One was one of the greatest moments of my life, because we hadn’t shown anybody our work at that point, or gauged a reaction,’ he says. ‘So to get a standing ovation was surreal. We were used to them on Riverdance, but that was somebody else’s choreography. For me to have made it up myself and get a similar reaction was an amazing feeling.’
Blending Irish dance with a variety of other forms, Prodijig also stands out by liberating the dancers’ arms. ‘Usually in Irish dance shows, people look at legs and feet a lot, whereas I want people to look at the full picture. When you synchronise the upper body and lower body, and everybody’s doing it in unison, that’s a new form of magic for Irish dance.’
Alhambra, Dunfermline, Tue 30 Apr; Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Wed 1 May.