March 17, 2022

Backstage at the Egyptian: Dane McKiernan & Amy Marie Prior of Rhythm of the Dance

Interview with Dane McKiernan and Amy Marie Prior of Rhythm of the Dance. Interview conducted by Erin Cronin.

ERIN: What has been your favorite place to perform?

Dane: Of the shows so far on this tour, Greenville, Tennessee was amazing! The audience were so uplifting. It was one of the most wonderful shows we’ve ever done.

Amy: I think my favorite place to perform over the past couple years would’ve been Toronto. We did St. Patrick’s Day there, I think it was the Sony Centre, and it was sold out. It was unbelievable. Obviously over here they do St. Patrick’s Day so much bigger than us, so the crowd was just amazing. I also think Ireland is a really special place for us to perform. Obviously it’s home turf, there’s a bit more pressure, and people know a lot more about what we’re doing!

E: How long have you and your fellow performers been preparing for this tour?

Amy: For this specific show, we did two solid weeks in September because it was a whole new show. Two solid weeks, flat-out rehearsals, ten ’til eight pretty much every single day. Intense! Then before we left on this tour we had a week to all rehearse together before we flew out to America.

Dane: Yes, usually we do two weeks of rehearsals before each tour. We’ll have any new dancers learning material for, say, a week, and then everyone comes together for another full week to put all the scenes together. And then we head off!

Amy: And before every single show we have a rundown of every step, every dance, so we always have a little rehearsal and prep before the show as well.

E: Do you or your fellow performers have any pre-show rituals that help you get ready?

Dane: Oh, everyone’s such a fitness freak. Usually making sure you’ve had your dinner at least two hours before the show, so that’s all well-digested, is high priority. And then a good warm-up and stretch. One of the dancers will always have the tunes going. They’ll get on the Spotify playlist and get everybody in the mood!

Amy: I have a few pre-show rituals. Before any dance I go on, I do the sign of the cross twice on side of stage – before any dance, I have to do it. I make sure my shoes are set up before the show as well. Everything has to be prepped. And of course, getting the good music on in the dressing room! 10 minutes before the show we really turn the music up and get ourselves pumped.

E: What are you most excited about in regard to performing at the Egyptian Theatre?

Dane: Oh, I cannot wait for this one because it got canceled in 2020, and we were really looking forward to it.

Amy: Yes, we were meant to perform on St. Patrick’s Day, but we flew home obviously because of the pandemic. I’m so excited to have everyone who was meant to come to the show in 2020 be there, it’s going to be such a celebratory atmosphere.

Dane: I spent a lot of time in Illinois growing up as a teenager, so I have lots of friends and family coming to the show. It’s like a homecoming. We can’t wait to be at the Egyptian Theatre!

E: What can audiences look forward to during this tour?

Amy: If you come to see this show, you’ll leave the theater dancing. There’s so much energy in the show; we really try to bring our personalities, have fun with it, and connect with the audience!

Dane: It’s all-around an energetic, uplifting, and mesmerizing performance of live music and dance, featuring the best of Irish culture!