If you love an exciting, high energy evening of dance and music where your feet can’t stop tapping, then head to Houston’s Hobby Center March 9 – 11 for the Riverdance 20th Anniversary Tour.
Ahead of the Houston stop for this worldwide hit’s whistlestop tour, we chatted with Lead Dancer Gianna Petracia. Born in Australia, Gianna’s Riverdance journey began in 2014 and she has since travelled the world with the show, performing female lead on many of the tours.
What it’s like being part of the Riverdance 20th Anniversary World Tour?
For any Irish dancer, it’s a dream come true. Most work their whole life to get where I am and only some are lucky enough to succeed. I still pinch myself every day just to make sure that this is real. The people are lovely and I’m surrounded by so many inspiring and talented dancers, musicians and and crew members.
Tell us about your role as a lead dancer, and why you feel personally connected to it.
On a tour we have six leads: three male and three female, and we rotate the role on a day-to-day basis. Being able to perform the lead role means everything. When I first joined the show as a troupe member, I used to look up to the leads as role models. Now I’d like to think I can set the same example to new cast members joining the show.
What experience and training do you have that has lead you to touring with Riverdance?
I began dancing at the age of 3 and trained at the Halloran School of Dance in Sydney, Australia. I trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary dance as well as Irish dancing. Over the years I’ve obtained several State and Australian National titles and numerous North American Championship medals in Irish dance. I also continued my studies in ballet as I studied two years part-time at the Australian Ballet School.
When I was given the opportunity to audition professionally, I was halfway through my degree. I just couldn’t pass it up, so I dropped out of university. On my first international show, I performed in Dublin, China and North America. Soon after, I joined the cast of Riverdance and since then I have been touring the world doing what I love to do—and loving every movement of it.
Is there a special dance or particular scene that is your personal favorite?
The Riverdance number at the end of act one is a special one for me as it was the original number that captivated a worldwide audience at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Every time I get goosebumps!. Another favourite is “Anna Livia,” a new number added to the show for the 20th Anniversary tour. In it, you get to see the female lead and female troupe dancers represent themselves with strength and poise as they are accompanied by a repetitive percussive beat. I love that the girls get to show a stronger side.
Why should we NOT miss seeing Riverdance?
Well firstly it’s the first and original Irish dance show in the world. If you do attend the show you will be captivated immediately by the passionate and fast-paced performance accompanied by a world class cast. You’ll get to see a variety of dance styles including Flamenco, Russian folk and American tap. The show’s also got new lighting, costumes and visual effects. It combines creativity, athleticism, originality and passion and I believe it’s a show for anyone and everyone, and I guarantee you won’t want to miss it!