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Here Come the Hotsteppers 

Ireland's smash dance troupe returns.

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Ireland's smash dance troupe returns. Aislinn Ryan never thought she'd be headlining Riverdance. Growing up in New Zealand, she first saw the show on television. The dance extravaganza wasn't yet a phenomenon, and to Ryan — a young gymnast studying Irish dancing — the dazzling show seemed impossibly far away, both geographically and artistically. "It's quite surreal, actually," she says. "Sometimes I'll have these moments onstage where I can't believe what I'm doing."

Riverdance was originally conceived as a history lesson, telling the story of Ireland through music and dance. The historical aspects, however, are often lost these days among the fancy footwork, flashy costumes, and easy-on-the-eyes cast. Before joining the show two years ago, Ryan danced her way up the ranks by winning numerous dance competitions. "Almost everybody in [Riverdance] was in them," she says. "It's funny, because people who used to be my archenemies are now my friends."
Fri., June 16, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 17, 2, 7:30 & 8 p.m.

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