Game of dance

Padraic Moyles looks back on his years as one of the iconic show’s dancers and the impact it has had worldwide. By Kevin Palmer
Padraic Moyles

Padraic Moyles

Padraic Moyles and Melissa Convery show off their skills during the show

Padraic Moyles and Melissa Convery show off their skills during the show

HE has been on a Riverdance adventure that has spanned almost a quarter of a century, yet Padraic Moyles admits his dance dream nearly died before it even began.

As a principal dancer on the show for many years, Dubliner Padraic appeared in over 5,500 Riverdance shows.

Now he is calling the shots off the stage as the Executive Producer and Associate Director of the dance phenomenon that has just completed 25th Anniversary show to sell-out crowds.

Yet when Moyles looks back to the start of his Riverdance story, he admits it could have ended before it began.

“My Mam put me into Irish dance classes when I was a kid, but I was at a stage in my life when I wanted to quit when Riverdance came along,” begins Padraic, speaking exclusively to Magazine+.

Padraic Moyles and Melissa Convery show off their skills during the show

Padraic Moyles and Melissa Convery show off their skills during the show

“For a lot of the performers in our show now, they have always had the dream of getting into Riverdance, but when I was a kid, this route never existed.

“Then I went to see the show for the first time in New York in 1996 and as the lights when down and the excitement went through the crowd, I just knew I wanted to be part of this before they had even danced a step. I was completely in awe of it all and needed to be up on that stage.

“I had a great teacher in Donny Golden and Jean Butler as well, who was a great mentor for me and this show has become such a massive part of my lives and so many lives around the world.

“We have been around the globe with this show and everyone knows Riverdance and associates it with Ireland. Along with U2 and Guinness, this show represents our nation.

“So much of our show is rooted in Ireland and it is terrific is we now also have dancers from Japan, Israel, South Africa, the UK and all over mainland Europe. They are all part of the Riverdance family.

“It has pushed the boundaries of what dancing is and especially Irish dancing and we are very proud of the impact we have had in countries around the world.”

If Padraic’s working life has been devoted to Riverdance, the show also allowed him to meet his wife, Niamh O’Connor.

“I met my wife in Riverdance and it is one of many marriages we have had from the cast of the show,” adds the performer who has two children with Niamh, Juliette-May and her little brother Harrison completing their family.

“There have also been over 100 babies from couples who met on Riverdance and this story continued last month.

“We had a wonderful moment at the end of our show in London in December when Meadhbh Kennedy, our principal dancer, was proposed to by her partner Owen (Jones). The cast were as shocked as Meadhbh as they didn’t know what was about to happen, so it was a moment everyone involved in our show that day will remember from their Riverdance journey.”

Tickets are available now for Riverdance at Gaiety Theatre from June to September 2022

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