Local Irish dance studio McWilliams Academy of Dance is adding an international flavour to its upcoming show, Planet Ireland, scheduled for early next month.
The annual concert is now in its fourth year and will see members of the academy present a mixture of various Irish dance pieces, both well-known and new.
The concert will be staged at the Savoy Theatre in three separate shows of more than two hours each.
International dance act and member of the highly acclaimed Lord of the Dance production Nuno Farinha will be joining the students as a guest performer.
The 28-year-old Portuguese-born Farinha started dancing at the age of 14 and has been touring and performing with Lord of the Dance for just over a year.
He says this is his first visit to South Africa and the experience has been good so far.
“My stay in Port Elizabeth has been fantastic. People have been really friendly and I have been exposed to a little bit of the South African culture. I’m really enjoying it.”
Farinha’s appearance at the show was facilitated by London’s Aaron Crosbie Irish Dance Academy, where he was a pupil.
Academy owner Crosbie regularly comes to the McWilliams Dance Academy for workshops and it was through this relationship that Farinha was able perform in Port Elizabeth.
“I have been touring with Lord of the Dance for over a year now and I am currently taking a brief break. I found out about the invitation, to perform in Port Elizabeth, through a mutual acquaintance and I took the opportunity.”
He said dance lovers could expect a lively, vibrant and well-choreographed performance in the upcoming show.
This year’s concert, sponsored by Greyvensteins Incorporated, Algoa Toyota, the SA Academy of Culinary Arts and DD van Schalkwyk, is aimed at raising funds for the six dancers in the studio who have qualified to compete in the World Irish Dance championships next year in Dublin, Ireland.
This follows their successful performance in the South African Championships that took place in Johannesburg last month.
The dancers are Courtney Pearce, Siobhan Moore, Mia Jansen van Rensburg Michaela Flood, Lisa Ward and Jenna Hayes.
Dance mom and chairwoman of the McWilliams dance academy committee, Vanessa Pearce, says: “Having a dancer of Nuno’s calibre taking part in this year’s event will up the standard of the showcase, so Port Elizabeth should prepare themselves for a good show.”