Riverdance makes a welcome return to London on May 16, opening at the London Apollo Hammersmith.
While its roots are in Irish dancing, the show incorporates a wide variety of dance styles, including Russian folk, American tap and Spanish flamenco.
It is possible to have an entertaining evening of just one style of dance as Flamenco shows at the Aldwych and the recent Russian State Cossack dancers at the Peacock Theatre have shown, but variety is the spice of theatre as well as of life, so the decision to mix a number of national dance traditions in the course of the evening is understandable.
The Irish dancing that Riverdance celebrates came to prominence with a seven-minute exposure at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest and has grown from there into a spectacular and spectacularly successful stage show that has been seen around the world.
The popularity of dance in West End theatres is a reflection not only of the growing interest in, and accessibility of, dance as an art form, but a blurring of the traditional lines between dance and theatre. Riverdance, which is at the Apollo Hammersmith for a short run until June 22, is a good example of this trend, and hopefully some of those who go to the theatre for the first time will be tempted to see a dance show: if past seasons are anything to go by, this show will be spectacular.