The Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance opens a new UK schedule this week in Edinburgh. It opens on 30 January 2002 at the Edinburgh Playhouse, where it will until 23 March, before touring to six other UK cities and concluding back at the London Apollo Hammersmith, from 15 May to 22 June 2002.

Composed by Bill Whelan and directed by John McColgan, the show has been completely re-costumed by Joan Bergin and features of mixture of new and original numbers. Still the biggest dance show in the world, Riverdance features over 80 performers, including Russian folk dancers, American tappers and Spanish flamenco artists, along with the core Irish dancers, singers and musicians.

Riverdance is the creation of Moya Doherty, who originally developed it as a seven-minute interval for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Since then, three troupes have performed across four continents, releasing best-selling videos and CDs along the way. To date, more than 12.5 million people have seen the show at over 4,500 live performances in more than 100 venues in 21 countries.

The Apollo Hammersmith, where Riverdance first ran in 1995, is regarded within the company as the production's second spiritual home, after the Point Theatre in Dublin. On the present UK tour, following Edinburgh, the production will visit Newcastle, Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield before returning to the London venue. The production will then continue to tour internationally.

- by Terri Paddock