Riverdance traces the life a river. The invocation sung at the start is called “Cloud song.” It is the rain falling, feeding the river, which springs to life and flows through the land and out to sea. There, the cloud reforms and returns to the land, nourishing, renewing, and refreshing it. The constant refrain “uisce beatha” translates as “water of life.” The number builds form the gentle song to the dancer’s feet rhythmically recalling a river gathering force and rushing to the sea. The choreography reflects the cycle.
The river woman dances alone, her soft-shoe dance evoking the flow of the river. As she crosses the land, the earth, represented by the male dancer, awakens, and bursts forth onto the stage. As the strength of the river builds, so dancers gather, signifying new life and energy, until the full Riverdance line swells to fill the stage as the river meets the sea. Then the earth and the river dance in harmony, as the water of life renews the land.
Riverdance as a whole builds on this concept, also exploring the way immigrants bringing along to enrich Ireland with their own culture, music, and dance. Accordingly, culture debunks territory.