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14 Jun 2016

Riverdance Taps its Way to The Academy of Music

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June 14, 2016 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  Michael Everett (insert.)

 

By Kharisma McIlwaine

Riverdance has been a popular dance show since its inception. The show that introduced many to traditional Irish music and dancing, has kept “Riverdance” on stages worldwide for two decades. The production, which stars baritone and tapper Michael Everett, celebrates this year with “Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary World Tour.” The production is in Philadelphia at The Academy of Music now through June 19.

Everett shared his enthusiasm regarding the show and the journey that brought him to the stage.

Everett was a late bloomer in the dance world. He didn’t begin formal dance training until college. His natural ability allowed him to go from an amateur to a profession level in just four years. He shared his formal experience with dance in the beginning.

“My first year of college was very intimidating. I went to Oklahoma City University, which is a great dance school.  I was surrounded people who have been dancing since they were 4 or 5, and all of them are phenomenal. I think that is also what helped me really focus and ignore the distractions of college life, because no one wants to be the worst person!”

Everett continued to excel in dance throughout his college years. With a plethora of dance genres to choose from, he explained why he chose tap.

“While I was learning tap, I was also learning about the roots of tap.  I learned that tap originated not only from African dances but also dances that were created during slavery. . Being African-American, knowing that history and those roots is something that really connected me with tap.”

“Tap just kind of came more naturally than other styles of dance. It connects with me on so many more levels than just, it’s fun and this is what I’m supposed to do. Tap really allows me to express myself, my personality and all of my quirks,” he continued.

After graduating Everett, performed as a dancer and singer for two years. Though dancing was part of his performance aboard the crew ships, tap was not. He eventually left in search of a career that would allow him to tap and sing. After going to New York, he found himself at the right place at the right time.

“I got to New York and Riverdance was looking for an African-American tap dancer who sings baritone. I assumed that all of New York would be at that audition, but they weren’t. Apparently African American baritone, tap dancers is a very small niche.”

Everett found his niche, and has been performing with Riverdance on and off for the past four to five years. He expressed his gratitude for being part of Riverdance.

Riverdance has honestly been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It has allowed me to visit all 50 states, and to travel the world. I’ve been everywhere with this show and I’ve been able to interact with hundreds of thousands of people. They all love this show… everyone just goes nuts,” said Everett.

“To also be in one of the most iconic numbers and the show, it’s hard to actually put into words. Being apart that of what makes Riverdance as spectacular of a show as it is, is humbling.”

“Riverdance: The 20th Anniversary World Tour” at The Academy of Music now through June 19. Tickets are available at www.kimmelcenter.org/events

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