Riverdance star set for Backstage Theatre, Longford

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

ILOL-15-12-17 James Greenan

Riverdance star, James Greenan is set to take to the stage in Backstage Theatre, Longford this Friday, December 15

Riverdance star, James Greenan is set to take to the stage in Backstage Theatre, Longford this Friday, December 15, as part of an exciting project with artist in residence, choreographer and dancer, Catherine Young, in her highly acclaimed work 'Welcoming the Stranger'.

Welcoming the Stranger' is a moving and compelling dance piece inspired by the stories of migrants and refugees from Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Africa and more.


Catherine Young has been working with people from throughout Longford, locals to the area and those from overseas who have come to call Longford their home.


From Afghanistan, Africa, Pakistan, Poland and the USA these people all now reside in Longford and have been rehearsing since October.


“The show is about people who are from difference communites, different countries, different cultures who have made longford their home getting together and getting to know each other while going on a journey of performance,” said Longford performer, Margaret Walsh.


Ajaz Gul, who is from Afghanistan and now resides in the Direct Provision Centre, Longford said it's all a very new experience for him.


“This is my first time to dance, I really like it because it makes me feel better, it makes me feel happy. It also makes me happy because we get to work with people from the community in Longford and they are really nice people,” Ajaz told the Longford Leader last week.


The diversity of dance culture is what makes the show so appealing to Amir Malik who is from Pakistan, but also residing in the Longford Direct Provision Centre: “This is the first time we saw some new steps from African Dance, Arabic dance; it's a cool experience we enjoy.”


Also from Pakistan and living in the Direct Provision Centre is Vekash Manzoor, who said: “What I like about Irish dance is it’s all about the strength of your legs and it’s totally different with other countries; like my culutre is mostly with the hands and your hips.”


Polish lady, Maria Juliette McKenna adds: “Because we're all together, one big group, it doesn’t matter how old you are, where you're from and what your skin colour is; we are like a family.”


For Catherine Young, the choreographer, it's “not just about dancing; it's about meeting people and dancing is a tool to do that”.


This Friday, these local dancers will perform alongside a group of world-class professional dancers and musicians.


Backstage is thrilled to announce that one of these dancers is none other than Riverdance lead dancer James Greenan.


James will also be accompanied by renowned musicians who have performed with the likes of Kíla and The Chieftains including Brian Fleming, Cormac Breathnach, Martin Schaerer, Jon Sanders and Eoin Dillon.


'Welcoming the Stranger' is a moving and compelling dance piece inspired by the stories of migrants and refugees.


This is a very special project bringing communities together.
'Welcoming The Stranger' has been overwhelming for both the participants and the audiences alike.


It has moved people profoundly and is a real testament to social inclusion and the value and richness of cultural diversity, showing that we are more similar than different and we have a lot we can share and learn from each other.


Projects like this break down barriers, bring people together in a very close and real way and, through the creation of art, allow participants to form strong bonds of friendship and solidarity with each other, getting rid of preconceived notions and biases.


Tickets for this event are just €12/€8.


For your chance to see these world class musicians and dancers, join forces with new communities in Longford this Friday.
Call box office now on 043 33 47888 or www.backstage.ie.

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