The Story Behind The Magic
An Authentic Irish Cultural Experience
Long before the 7 minute TV exposure that Riverdance performed at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1996, Irish Dancing has been a tradition as long as there has been music to perform to.
This art form has now become recognized due to the commercial exposure, and performances can now found regularity included in most theatrical venue programming.
The precision of the dance and the percussion of the steps fuels the exciting pulse of the music and its ancient compelling rhythms. These traditional arts endure today in much the same way.
Evoking a time and place steeped in legend, folk-lore and enchantment, The Magic of Ireland offers a truly authentic Irish cultural experience. The show is all live, featuring an example of some of the finest competition award-winning dancers accompanied by superb traditional musicians.
Experience a spectacular evening of traditional Irish dance, music and song enhanced by stunning costumes, lighting and sound. This is indeed, the Magic of Ireland.
"Legend, folklore and enchantment are interwoven in a voyage of discovery without falling into the trap of sentimentality. That's not to deny that some passages make the hairs on the nape of the neck rise … The Magic of Ireland troupe's adaptation echoes the past as the dancers seem to fly across the stage to the beat of the bodhron and the soaring notes of the fiddle. Great music, dancing and singing by performers of zipping quality and enthusiasm make you want to clap in time - which a full house soon cottoned on to... Magic exports happily over the Irish Sea."
This musical production has toured extensively throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, performing over 400 shows. Following the Spring 2006 tour in Europe, most venues have rebooked for Fall 2007! The troupe cast consist of 10 to 12 regular members all of whom are champion lrish dancers, accompanied by up to 5 multi-instrumentalists singing and playing the accordion, fiddle, guitar, Bahrain, pipes, whistles and flutes. The show runs nearly two hours and includes 16 costume changes
Depending on routing and scheduling, a dance workshop is available in conjunction with Magic of Ireland’s spectacular evening production.
It was ten years ago when the idea behind The Magic of Ireland first came into being. This was an exciting time for Irish culture as Irish dance productions were seeing unparalleled budgets and were playing previously unimagined locations. At this time, Peter Jacobs was busy promoting one of the most successful Irish dance shows of all time - Gael Force. He was not surprised by the audience's overwhelming response to the production for he was familiar with the appeal of Irish music, having promoted the infamous Daniel O'Donnell for years already. Yet, his intuition told him that these large-scale productions lacked something that would endure past the initial craze. He felt that the very thing that was attracting audiences was being glazed over in order to meet the requirements of larger venues and higher ticket prices. To his mind, these shows were ignoring the most important elements of Irish dance and music cherished by audiences worldwide. In fact, the haunting sound of the pipes, the energizing sound of the taps, the deep rhythms of the bodhrán and the shrill cry of the fiddle – the best of the Irish experience - were unfortunately being over-produced, and pre-recorded. Thus, began the germination of an idea to create a fresh and authentic show – eventually to become The Magic of Ireland.
In years to come, Jacobs would continue to promote other acts as he refined his concept of offering an authentic and all-live Irish dance show. In 2001, Jacobs decided to step into the role of producer and began hiring dancers and musicians for his own Irish production. Despite a series of false starts, Jacobs persevered and finally fell upon two people who were to become instrumental to creating The Magic of Ireland – musical director October Browne, and Dance Director Catherine Couperus. Both women shared Jacobs' vision of creating an intimate production that would showcase the best of Irish culture in an atmosphere that suited the energy and spirit of the tradition.
A multitalented musician, Browne had performed for years both in North America and across the water where she was born. Her extensive repertoire was put to good use as she developed intricate musical arrangements for the production. She quickly found the best musicians from around the globe and put together a band that was up to the challenge of performing a broad range of Celtic tempos and styles, all absolutely live. The result is an exciting and widely acclaimed group of four musicians – on 11 instruments, and featuring the fiddle player from the movie The Titanic - who continue to impress and keep audiences clapping night after night.
Catherine Couperus was originally hired as a lead dancer in the production but Jacobs soon discovered that her vision and talents extended much further. A Champion Irish dancer, Couperus was also an experienced performer having danced for renowned acts such as The Chieftains and having toured extensively in the past. Her experience had also taught her that audiences deserved a show that demonstrated a high standard of dance while at the same time respecting the traditions that had inspired audiences for centuries. As Dance Director, Couperus' goal was to find dancers with the ability to convey, from the stage, their enthusiasm and love for Irish dance. An exhaustive search resulted in a cast of 10 award-winning, champion dancers from around the world. Since the show began, these dancers have been instrumental in developing an intimacy with the audience and creating an atmosphere similar to a genuine Irish Ceili. The dancers' enthusiasm, energy and precision on stage have been highly acclaimed both by audiences and reviewers.
The most exciting thing that The Magic of Ireland offers is its sense of
spontaneity. It is a true group effort and all the members of the
troupe collaborate together both on and off the stage. The beauty
of the show is that it is impossible to guess exactly what the
evening has in store; perhaps an unexpected seisiún amongst the
musicians, or a dancer might suddenly be motivated to jump up on
stage unannounced. Always evolving, The Magic of Ireland
reflects the spirit of Irish tradition and has brought into being
what began as a simple idea. It is exactly what an Irish dance show
is meant to be – authentic, live, and a sheer delight.