The Irish dance phenomenon Riverdance will return in 2005, its tenth anniversary year, for what are being billed as its last-ever UK dates. The two-month tour opens in Edinburgh on 14 February 2005 before continuing, until 17 April, to eight further UK cities, including a penultimate stop back at London’s Apollo Hammersmith for one week only from 4 to 9 April.

Composed by Bill Whelan and directed by John McColgan, Riverdance is the creation of Moya Doherty, who originally developed it as a seven-minute interval for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest.

The full-length stage show opened in Dublin in February 1995 and has since been experienced live by over 18 million people worldwide. There have been over 8,000 performances in over 250 venues worldwide, throughout 30 countries across four continents. In February 1997 the album won a Grammy Award as “Best Musical Show Album”. The worldwide television audience to date is in excess of 1.5 billion people.

Still one of the biggest dance shows 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.

London’s Apollo Hammersmith - where Riverdance entertained a record-breaking one million ticket holders when it first ran there ten years ago - is often regarded within the company as the production's second spiritual home, after the Point Theatre in Dublin.

On this final UK tour, following Edinburgh, the production will visit Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Cardiff, Blackpool, London and Birmingham. The UK dates are presented by Clear Channel Entertainment.

- by Terri Paddock