Ever since Prodijig’s first Got To Dance audition clip went viral, we’ve been eagerly awaiting their live show. When Footstorm was first announced, Prodijig could have been described as a cross between Riverdance and dance crew ‘Diversity’. The dancing was unmistakably Irish but the choreography, formations and music had a modern, raw ‘street’ feel.
Ahead of the show, it was expected that a sequence of stand-alone, high-energy performances from dancers in futuristic armour-style costumes to recognisable dance tunes would be tonights playbook, and that would have most likely blown us away. Instead, what Prodijig delivered was above and beyond those expectations. Sitting through another dance drama, with cliché themes of good versus evil, boy meets girl, boy saves girl and even time travel, there was the potential to lose the crowd with an overdone concept, especially one that did not reflect what fans saw on Sky One’s dance competition. While Footstorm undoubtedly ticked all of those boxes, it worked! And then some! Prodijig bounded through these predictable, simple themes with a fresh, energetic and contemporary style that had the audience whooping and cheering from the opening sequence.
In many ways, the original Prodijig seven-piece who took Ireland and the UK by storm and went on to take home the top prize of £250,000 on ‘Got To Dance’ was unrecognisable on the Olympia’s stage. The former members of Riverdance, led by Cork man Alan Kenefick (who also wrote the storyline and choreographed the show) have been joined by eleven new cast members, bringing their new take on Irish dancing to the next level. Gone are the repetitious straight lines of Riverdance, modern yet simplistic Irish dancing costumes, the ‘dance-off’ style battles between the good guys in white and the bad guys in black. Instead, the dance steps are original and fierce, with elements of contemporary dance, ballet, tap and free-style woven in for good measure. The costumes are theatrical and vibrant. And the battle scenes are choreographed, full-body movie set style fist fights, so effective that there are moments you forget the dancers’ feet are moving even faster than the incredible lighting effects that surround them on stage. It’s fair to say Footstorm would feel right at home in the theatrical environs of the West End and Broadway.
If you’re expecting to recognise chart-topping dance tunes, you won’t as it’s an original score, but you won’t be disappointed. There are welcome elements of celtic rock with Irish tones throughout the show, but during some scenes, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the score as one from a Hollywood epic. Add to that the on-going, vigorous percussion from the dancers and before long, you’ll have forgotten Prodijig’s numbers were originally set to 90-second dance snippets.
Predictably, the dancing itself is phenomenal and completely flawless, making it look so damn effortless. How on earth they get that many taps into a five second burst and how after an intense, two-hour, high-octane spectacle, they are only slightly breathless is astounding. What really made this show pop, was the pure passion that emanated from each and every performer. On the one hand, they seemed to relish the opportunity to be on stage, as if for the first time, but on the other, the ease of the performance screamed seasoned professionalism. The production demanded our attention from the first minute and the energy levels only heightened as the show went on, so much so, the audience was on it’s feet long before the bowing even commenced.
Prodijig have re-energised Irish dancing for a new generation, the way Riverdance did for the 90s’. It’s fresh, it’s original and it represents the perfect blend of theatre and Irish dance. If you’re a hard core traditional Irish dancing fan who found the free-style, swinging arms in Riverdance and Lord of the Dance offensive or even blasphemous, this show is not for you. If however you love watching our dance heritage evolve; if you beam with pride when you hear the incredible success stories of Irish dancing shows around the world and if you are consistently blown away by the synchronisation, emotion and percussive energy of a troop of some of the best dancers in the world, you CANNOT miss Footstorm.
Prodijig Photo Gallery
Photos: Michelle Geraghty