Making dance 'Magic'

Karla Hayward
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Local Irish dancer to direct international tour

Shawn Silver is where he wants to be smack in the middle of an international Irish dance production. Photo by Paul Daly

When you hear the words "Irish dancing," you think "Riverdance," don't you? Well, it's time to expand your horizons, friend. There's a whole lot more to the world of Irish dancing than Michael Flatley.
There's Shawn Silver for one. Local Irish dancer extraordinaire, Silver is the brains and brawn (along with partner Colleen Dunn Pickard) behind iDance, a dance school offering lessons in St. John's, Grand Falls and Iceland. (Check out www.idance.ca)
Silver's latest venture is equally international. He's joining with touring dance show "The Magic of Ireland," as both director and dancer. Created by Peter Jacobs of Independent Concert Productions, "Magic" is Canada's only touring Irish dance production, having wowed crowds across Germany, France, Belgium, Holland and the U.S. Plans are set to take the show to Iceland, Australia and Asia in the near future.
Silver is excited about joining the tour.
"It's what I've worked for. My whole goal all along was to provide opportunities for young people and emerging artists to participate in the exciting world of Irish music, dance and competition. Now that I'm directing this show, we've got these brilliant dancers - these world champion dancers - from all over the world, the U.K., Ireland, Canada and the States to work with. It's just amazing."

On stage
He said "Magic" is really geared towards families, at smaller venues missed by giant shows like "Riverdance." They aim to touch 1,000-3,000 seat theatres, and feature 10 to 12 dancers on stage (as opposed to "Riverdance's" 60).
Likening it in spirit to the kitchen parties we're familiar with, Silver says "Magic" is meant to be a shared experience, one that gets the audience involved, inviting them to clap and cheer. He notes it's also similar to the traditional "ceili" - social gatherings that have been happening in town halls across Ireland for time immemorial.
"It is exactly what an Irish dance show is meant to be - authentic, live and a sheer delight," he added.

Newfoundland connection
In keeping with our own Celtic roots, "Magic" has many local connections. There's Silver of course, dancing and directing. There's a local female dancer on stage, Erica MacAulay. There are the costumes made by local designers, and even the stage artwork is Newfoundland-born.
Plus, Silver says, there's potential for even more contact points in future.
"We can now use our dance centre like a farm team; we can create a pool of talent and stream it directly into the show. We're really going to wave that Newfoundland banner."

Beyond the border
Of course, there's much more to the stage show than Newfoundland's contributions. "Magic" is also home to the incredible talent that is Andrew Vickers of Galway, Ireland. Touring since he was 15, Vickers is world-renowned in both the competitive and performing dance worlds. He leads the troupe of Irish dancers from all over the globe who make up the cast of "Magic."
Then there are the musicians. Toronto's Michael O'Grady encourages the audience to "really get into the show" with a joke as well as a song. It's this combination of music and dance that creates that true ceili atmosphere, says Silver.
Silver anticipates a Newfoundland show in the fall, or shortly after Christmas. Check out www.TheMagicOfIreland.ca for more information.

Organizations: U.S. Plans

Geographic location: Ireland, Iceland, Newfoundland Canada St. John's Grand Falls Germany France Belgium Holland Australia Asia Galway Toronto

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  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Booooooooorrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg!!!

  • scott
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    wow!!! I am so happy for shawn! After that terrible accident that he had awhile back...came through with flyying colors....and...parbon the pun...landed on his feet again! Dancing is his life! You can tell that the first time that you meet him! I am very excited to hear about this new venture that he has achieved in hs life and career!! keep on dancing Mr. Silver...you just go and dance to your hearts content! BRAVOOOOO I SAY......BRAVOOOOO!!!

  • Frances
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    As a fellow Newfoundlander I am very, very proud of Shawn Silver and his talent and dedication to Irish dance! Way to go Shawn!! Congrats!!
    Don, sometimes it's good to see a positive news story - sorry if that bores you!!

  • Mark
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Congrats to Shawn and everyone else involved. His passion for his art is a pleasure to witness. Take in the show if you can. You won't be disappointed.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Booooooooorrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnngggggggggggg!!!

  • scott
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    wow!!! I am so happy for shawn! After that terrible accident that he had awhile back...came through with flyying colors....and...parbon the pun...landed on his feet again! Dancing is his life! You can tell that the first time that you meet him! I am very excited to hear about this new venture that he has achieved in hs life and career!! keep on dancing Mr. Silver...you just go and dance to your hearts content! BRAVOOOOO I SAY......BRAVOOOOO!!!

  • Frances
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    As a fellow Newfoundlander I am very, very proud of Shawn Silver and his talent and dedication to Irish dance! Way to go Shawn!! Congrats!!
    Don, sometimes it's good to see a positive news story - sorry if that bores you!!

  • Mark
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    Congrats to Shawn and everyone else involved. His passion for his art is a pleasure to witness. Take in the show if you can. You won't be disappointed.