BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Get your dancing shoes on because Riverdance is making its return to Shea’s Performing Arts Center this weekend, featuring three Western New York natives, who began their dance careers in South Buffalo.
“Riverdance is a world-renowned show. The fact that the three of us are from Williamsville, New York from, the same dance school — it’s just crazy, there’s nothing to compare to it,” Fiona Dargan of Williamsville said.
This show brought Irish Dance to the world stage in 1994 at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, and since then, it has captivated audiences around the world. For Kevinah and Fiona Dargan, as well as Erin Lynch, their earliest Irish Dance memories are watching the Riverdance tape in their living rooms.
“I distinctly remember when I would watch the video, there was this girl who would be turning on her toes, and she was looking at the camera in the video,” Erin Lynch added. “I was like, ‘That is what I want to be when I grow up.'”
Lynch went on to realize that dream, performing that exact dance move at a show in Beijing a few years ago. Her mom was even in the audience for that show, and Lynch said that is her favorite Irish Dance memory.
For Kevinah Dargan, she remembers going to Shea’s when she was four years old, and seeing Riverdance live with her family. That performance sparked a passion for the art that still exists today.
“We were sitting at the first row of the balcony and I literally was reaching over the balcony the whole time. My grandpa had to hold me,” she said. “I was just so excited.”
Fiona Dargan, Kevinah’s sister, recalled watching the video in her living room instead of watching cable television, and being inspired by the dancers.
“I was that little girl. I would sit there in awe of Jean Butler and everyone in the original cast. Here I am dancing in front of people we teach,” Fiona Dargan said.
The show inspired a generation of dancers, including the three Williamsville natives, who now serve as role models for the next generation. The performances this weekend are extra special because they will dance for their friends, families and dance school, Rince Na Tiarna.
“Buffalo has such a strong Irish heritage,” Fiona Dargan said. “We are one close family that has that support.”
The show is celebrating its 25th Anniversary Tour, which started in 2020. Riverdance was less than two weeks away from returning to Buffalo when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the show was postponed.
“We were 12 days away from performing at Shea’s two years ago when the pandemic hit,” Lynch said. “We’re just so excited and trying to stay calm. [We are] trying not to be emotional.”
The Dargan sisters and Lynch have performed together since they were little girls, even attending the same schools in Williamsville. Lynch remembers performing at their elementary school talent show. They said performing on this stage together is a dream come true.
“It really is a full circle moment. We are so proud to represent Buffalo,” Lynch concluded.
Kevinah, Fiona and Erin began dancing when they were four years old at Rince Na Tiarna. They competed at the local, regional, national and international levels, winning several titles in the competitive circuit.
At 19 years old, Lynch began dancing professionally with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance-Dangerous Games, performing on Broadway, London’s West End and on Britain’s Got Talent. Since then, she also performed at Disney’s Raglan Road Irish Restaurant and with Titanic Dance for their North American tour.
Kevinah Dargan also started her professional career at 19 years old, and toured with Riverdance in 2017 in China. She has performed across the globe on Broadway, at Radio City Music Hall, and in London’s West End. In 2020, Fiona Dargan toured with Riverdance, performing alongside her older sister.
Riverdance will perform April 8-10 at Shea’s.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.