Life has completely changed for a group of Irish dancers after their unique take on a traditional artform made them the winners of Sky talent show Got To Dance last year.
Prodijig dance group was created in Belfast by its leader and choreographer Alan Kenefic. The group’s exciting fusion of the traditional Irish style and modern street dance caught the imagination of the show’s TV audience and two million people watched the live final, when Prodijig won the public vote.
Alan said: “It’s been incredible since we won. It’s been a roller coaster. We danced in Croke Park, Dublin, in front of 86,000 people for the Irish president and we’ve been to Abu Dhabi.”
The group – between them the dancers have won every major Irish dance title – have been busy rehearsing for their debut tour with a new show, called Footstorm, which is coming to Sheffield City Hall this weekend.
Judges for Got To Dance include Ashley Banjo, whose own dance group Diversity shot to fame when they won Britain’s Got Talent.
Alan said: “After we won, Diversity did a show in Belfast and we met up with Ashley backstage. He’s always been extremely positive about us.
“It was great to see their show and see how you do put on a show like that with high-impact dance. That’s the reason we have a storyline in our show to keep everything grouping and everyone moving along with us.”
Alan said that about Footstorm: “It lasts one and a half hours and it’s pretty big.
“We started creating our own style, a mixture of everything – ballet, flamingo, tap and my own contemporary style. I’ve written a storyline that pulls it all together.”
The futuristic show is about the collision of two worlds, intertwined with a love story, and it features fantastical characters and costumes. “People will have a theatrical experience,” promises Alan.
He said that the group had a boot camp, where they created some of the creatures that appear in the show and the different types of moves they will make.
“I wanted to create a show that can stand the test of time. It’s all original music and we’ve really got into these characters,” said Alan.
He added: “The movement’s quite flowing and suits the characters.”
Footstorm involves around 20 dancers and Alan is looking to teach his style of choreography to more. He added: “I have a whole new ambition for Irish dancing.”
He continued: “A few people seem to be comparing us to Michael Flatley. It’s fair of anyone to say that but the whole point of our show is not about the person, it’s about a bunch of people.
“Although we have lead characters, it’s not just about one guy. To show off our style we dance always as a group.
“We look for the big picture – big shapes with a bunch of people, not just one guy running around the stage.”
Alan added: “I think it’s time for a new form of Irish dancing.
“We’re not doing the Riverdance, we’re doing our own style. The choreography is all new material. We’re using the whole body, plus we have all the rhythms in there.”
His ambitions for Prodijig extend far beyond Ireland: “We’re hoping to do everything – we’d love to go to Broadway and the West End. We really want to make our stamp.”
They’re sure to go down a Footstorm.
The show is at Sheffield City Hall this Sunday (May 5). Box office: 01142 789 789 or go to www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk