Lisa Woske/Courtesy Photo

The sound of feet hitting the stage floor could have been mistaken for a perfectly synced drumline. But the sound was lighter and more rhythmic as the feet of the Riverdancers flew impossibly fast across the stage.

The Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC) hosted Riverdance on Wednesday Nov. 19, bringing in an audience that filled every seat.

Riverdance is an Irish dance troupe featuring Irish, flamenco and Russian Folk dances as well as musicians, singers and international soloists.

The musicians consisted of a lively fiddler, a jazzy saxophone player and a traditional pipe and whistle player.

Vocals were also incorporated into the show with a Riverdance singer’s pristine voice filling the PAC, sounding like something off The Lord of the Rings soundtrack.

Within minutes of the show’s beginning, jaws dropped in awe of the precisely synced foot movements of each Riverdancer. The moves of both the men and women seemed to be ballet inspired, complete with high kicks and acrobatics.

Audience member Janet Ford, 64, from Los Osos was amazed with each act.

“It was awesome,” Ford said. “We need to see them again many times just to catch everything happening on stage.”

Each act told a different story inspired by Irish folklore. The clothing each dancer wore was also specific to each act.

San Luis Obispo resident Janet Phillips, 52, was also impressed by the dancers’ fancy footwork.

“This is the first time I’ve seen it live,” Phillips said. “Their foot and hand work is beautiful and the music is excellent.”

The flamenco routines resembled vibrant salsa dances, with the skirts of the women being swished around in deliberate movements.

“The flamenco dancers’ skirt work was excellent,” Phillips said. “Although the sound of their shoes against the floor was a little dull.”

According to Phillips, traditional Irish shoes resonate better on stage when they tap and stomp. The sound may have been a little dull because of the stage they were dancing on. However, fans like Brent Keast, 54, didn’t seem to notice.

“It’s brilliant,” Keast said, referring to the dancers’ precision. “It’s something you don’t see every day and the cultural tradition is amazing.”

Keast also admired the special effects on stage, which consisted of twinkling stars and fog effects that created an ethereal vibe throughout the performance. It added to the folklore aspect of the show and enhanced the storytelling.

The second half of the performance incorporated a few more modern pieces. A Riverdance-off between the male dancers had the whole crowd cheering and clapping.

By the final act, the entire Riverdance troupe was out on stage, perfectly in sync. They received a standing ovation by the end of the night, with the entire crowd cheering and clapping.

It’s a wonder the PAC stage is still in one piece from such a lively, foot-stomping show.

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