Riverdance is a musical composed mainly of traditional Irish songs and dances. The theatrical show emerged as an interval performance act in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. At the time, it featured Irish dancing champion Michael Flatley and Jean Buttler and their vocal ensemble Anuna.
Not so long after that, John McColgan and Moya Doherty (a husband and wife production) made the show a stage-show. That opened on February 9, 1995, in Dublin. Ever since the show has been hosted across 450 venues across the world and seen by more than 25 million people, it is by all measures, the most successful musical production in history.
The theatrical show is based on a three-part suite of baroque-influenced traditional Irish song called Timedance. The music was composed, recorded, and performed at the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest hosted in Ireland.
Bill Whelan and Donal Lunny composed the music and picked the Irish folk band Planxty to augment rock rhythm to sections of the song that needed electric bass and drums. The group also infused a four-piece horn into the song. Later on, Planxty released the song as their single.
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