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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian
  Extras
  • Animated menus
  • 1 Documentaries
  • Multiple angle - 2 angles on 5 excerpts
  • Web access
Dancing on Dangerous Ground
NVC Arts/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 74 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Irish dancing. You either get it, or you don’t. While the traditional folk dancing styles of that country have been practised over many, many years, it’s only recently that the genre has become Big Business, thanks mostly to a showcase performance at the infamous Eurovision Song Contest some time ago. That act was called Riverdance, and it spawned a long-running show of the same name and then, as various members of the cast left to pursue their own endeavours, a few spin-off productions.

The most recent of these was conceived and executed by former Riverdancers Jean Butler and Colin Dunne; billed as an “Irish Dance Sensation” (but premiered in England), Dancing On Dangerous Ground takes an old Irish folk story - a fairly standard tragic legend known as The Hunt for Diarmuid and Grania - and sets it to music and dance in the expected Riverdance style.

For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon, that style basically involves a set of dance steps that is best described as a combination of the Charleston, traditional tap dancing, boot-scooting, the high kicks of traditional ballet and a hell of a lot of schoolgirl-like skipping. This is usually done by a group of a couple of dozen people in unison - and to those unconvinced about the whole thing, it all looks rather, well, generic. But to the faithful - like the enthusiastic audience for this production, recorded at the Royal Theatre in Drury Lane - it’s a vital and exciting expression of Celtic tradition and celebration.

Butler and Dunne lead their dancers in telling the story (which also involves a man with the unlikely name of Finn McCool!) with the aid of some suitably tradition-meets-the-sequencer music (by Seamus Egan) on an almost bare stage where the lighting does most of the scene setting. The 74-minute production is as energetic as you’d expect, but there are also wistful, sad moments as the story plays out.

As far as these productions go, this is one of the better ones, and there’s no denying the commitment of the dancers involved. But really, this is only going to appeal to those who connected with Riverdance (a large amount of people, to be fair); everyone else, this reviewer included, will more likely find it all a little, well, silly.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

NVC Arts has been doing excellent work with DVD, and this disc is no exception. Presented full frame, the videotaped production is of the absolute highest standard in terms of image quality, and there are no problems at all with the MPEG compression of this high-quality master tape. Both the introductory titles and the titles of the various scenes are displayed using a subtitle stream, so as to allow viewers in five languages to understand the action.

Audio is provided both in Dolby Digital 5.0 surround and Dolby Digital stereo. Both audio tracks are terrifically vibrant, presenting the music with wonderful fidelity and reproducing every on-stage tap-dancing moment with vivid clarity. The 5.0 track is, of course, substantially more involving, with the audience surrounding the viewer; it’s a very lifelike, well-judged soundtrack. The stereo track is also very good, but since the 5.0 track has just that little bit of extra “bite”, many may prefer to listen to this track downmixed to stereo or Dolby Surround.

Along with some stylish animated menus, a rather nice extra is provided here in the form of a 52 minute documentary feature called Dare To Dance, which chronicles the creation of the show from the very first rehearsals, through the firing of the original director, to the nerve-wracking premiere. Very much in the style of the Popstars television series, this documentary is very watchable (in fact it’s better watched before you tackle the show itself) but does have a tendency to come across as a gigantic ego boost for the two stars.

Also provided are five isolated segments of the show with multi-angle features encoded; with only two angles on offer, though - and both of them heavily edited and very similar - this is more of a confusing experience than it is a rewarding one. Maybe an angle showing the audience’s reactions would have been a good choice here. A fairly chunky booklet is provided as well, but it basically just contains a chapter list and synopsis in multiple languages.

If Riverdance got your blood racing, you’ll no doubt be thrilled both with this production and with this high-quality DVD.


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  •   And I quote...
    "If Riverdance got your blood racing, you’ll be thrilled both with this production and with this high-quality DVD."
    - Anthony Horan
      Review Equipment
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          Sony DVP-NS300
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    • Speakers:
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    • Audio Cables:
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    • Video Cables:
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