Shawn Silver and his dance partner, Erica MacAulay, will be among the iDance performers who travel to China later this year to launch the St. John’s-based dance organization there. — Photo by Tara Bradbury/The Telegram
“Riverdance,” Chinese-style — it does exist, says Shawn Silver of iDance, and, in fact, the music in the wildly-popular Irish dance show has been reworked to be more appealing to audiences in China.
Silver hopes his dancers will be equally as appealing to the same audiences once iDance China launches later this year.
Having first seen traditional Irish dancing on TV as a small child, Silver has been offering, since 1998, classes in the dance form, with a Newfoundland twist.
He’s had hundreds of students come through his doors and has performed around the world, and iDance is recognized globally as a premier source for accomplished dancers.
In the past 10 years or so, Silver has launched iDance Ireland, iDance Iceland, iDance Portugal and, most recently, iDance Australia, through partnerships with dance schools there.
Soon, he’ll branch out into China, where he says audiences are “thirsty” for traditional Irish dance.
“We’re very excited. We’re working with two dance schools there to open up some classes,” Silver explained.
Silver and his longtime dance partner, Erica MacAulay, will be among the iDance team that will head to China to give masterclasses with dance teachers there.
When they return home, the Chinese teachers will instruct the students, and Silver will offer regular classes via YouTube and Skype.
“We’ve taught dance classes in other languages before, and it’s a mental mindset you have to put yourself into,” Silver said. “I would liken dancing to the language of rhythm. Basically, it’s foot movements, technique and positions, and really it’s mechanics and repetitions. You can correct people’s footwork and placement and I think repeating steps is really what it comes down to. Hopefully, I’ll work with a good translator who can share that.”
What he will teach will be the same as what he’s taught in other countries: dance steps that have the same root as what one might see at an outport kitchen party.
“What we’re teaching are the basics of Irish dancing, and we certainly incorporate the element of Newfoundland dancing,” he said.
“I think we’ve all seen our uncles and grandpas and aunts dancing in the kitchen, and that’s certainly a version of Irish dancing. Really, I’d like to be able to showcase what my grandfather did, and graduate that to a very advanced level.”
What’s next for Silver, after iDance China?
“iDance intergalactic,” he said, laughing.