The word "sexy" comes up a lot in the promotional materials for Heartbeat of Home, the new dance show from the producers of Riverdance.
The press release calls it "a brand-new, tantalizing, high octane, sexy music-and-dance extravaganza." The Irish Independent said it was a "sexy, electrifying dance show" and "a mix of foreplay, seduction and simulation."
"It's not the word I would use," said Moya Doherty, the producer of Heartbeat of Home, which comes to the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre from Wednesday, March 26, to Sunday, April 6. "I'd say 'passionate.' "
Doherty and her husband, director John McColgan, created Riverdance 20 years ago. It was a smashing success, and Doherty thinks it was responsible for a recent boom in Irish dance.
"Because of Riverdance, we've had kids from all different backgrounds end up doing Irish dance," said Doherty. "Those people are all in their 20s now, and they've all grown up with completely different perspectives that they've pushed into Irish dance."
The couple decided to start formulating a new show a couple years ago, one which would continue to honor the Irish tradition they've grown up with but which would also incorporate various other dance and musical styles, such as Afro-Cuban and Latin.
"What we wanted to do was to keep the Irish tradition as the show's spine, rhythmically and musically, and then take flamenco and other percussive rhythms and integrate them into the Irish framework," said Doherty.
For Heartbeat of Home, the creative team first formulated the concept of the show and then spent an intense three or four months finalizing the music with composer Brian Byrne and lyricist Joseph O'Connor. McColgan then worked with choreographers David Bolger and John Carey to intricately craft a massive show (38 excited performers, whom Doherty refers to as "thoroughbred horses straining at the leash") that reflects contemporary immigration.
In the first act, the separate ethnic traditions are on their own "dream journeys," as Doherty calls them. All the different traditions then come together in the second act in a new, united world.
"It's something about the times we're living in now versus 20 years ago," said Doherty. "The world is more of a global culture now, more about what unites us instead of what divides us. We wouldn't have created Heartbeat of Home 20 years ago, just like we probably wouldn't create Riverdance now.
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Doherty and McColgan's relationship is as strong as it's ever been, despite (or maybe because of) them working together for so many years. And Doherty doesn't think they'll stop working anytime soon.
"It's really what we love to do," said Doherty. "I know it may sound sappy, but both of us were performers and have empathy for performers. It's a tough industry and I think to be able to create work and employ a lot of people on this show is rewarding."
Heartbeat of Home will run for 16 performances between March 26 to April 6. Tickets range from $31.25 to $101.25. For information, visit citicenter.org. or call 800-982-ARTS.
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