Irish dance company Up & Over It put a fresh spin on the Riverdance template for Fringe 2012
Appeals to both Riverdance lovers and haters
This article is from 2012.
They learned the steps, won the medals, and stood in line with all the other good Riverdance boys and girls. Then one day, Suzanne Cleary and Peter Harding decided to break out from that line and do it their way, and Up & Over It was born.
Taking an off-kilter look at that all conquering phenomenon known as the Irish dance show, Cleary and Harding are enjoying thinking for themselves. ‘Having creative freedom is amazing,’ says Cleary. ‘Once you allow yourself to think outside the box, you realise anything is possible artistically.’ And, as Harding points out, once you reach a certain age, Lord of the Dance stops calling.
‘There aren’t many career options for professional Irish dancers in their 30s,’ he says. ‘You either carry on in the big touring shows dressed up like a Jersey Shore version of an Irish peasant or you teach. Working for yourself and making creative decisions is scary, but very rewarding when it goes right.’
Which it has been. Over the past three years, the duo has performed at cabarets and festivals in New York and across Europe. While their online videos have amassed over 10 million views. Key to their success, has been the ability to appeal to both Riverdance lovers and haters – their talent appealing to the former, their humour appealing to the latter.
‘I think ardent Irish dance fans appreciate what we’re doing and that there’s now something new they can go and see,’ says Cleary. ‘When we premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2009 we were just dipping our toe into the possibility of what Irish dance could be. Now we’re a lot more confident in what we do and so the music, choreography and videos have developed to reflect this. I think we’re about waist deep into it now. ‘
Assembly George Square, 623 3030, until 26 Aug (not 21), 6.05pm, £10.50–£12.50.