Peta Anderson, a revered Irish-tap dancer and choreographer (and also a new mum), is set to launch the Australian tour of the world-class Irish production, Eireborne, as choreographer, co-producer and performer.
A celebration of all things Irish, Eireborne is a riveting rock production, showcasing an astonishing ensemble cast of Irish dancers rockin’ out to a soundtrack of the biggest hits from Irish sensations including U2, Snow Patrol, Van Morrison, Hozier, The Script, The Cranberries, and more.
The amazing cast features former Riverdance lead, Luke Chaumont and eight-time Victorian Irish Dance state champion Louise Hewitt complementing the eleven virtuosos of Irish tap. At 19 years of age, Liam Costello is the youngest and only Australian to win the Irish Dance World Championships three times consecutively. The performer pedigree is truly unparalleled and poised to deliver a breathtaking spectacle.
Peta Anderson co-created the concept for Eireborne and is also the lead female Irish dancer in the production. Dance Writer had an exclusive chat with Peta about the birth of Eireborne.
Can you describe your dance training growing up?
I started dancing at the age of four, doing jazz, tap and ballet. It wasn’t until Riverdance came out in 1994 that Irish dancing really took off all over the world, which was when the dance school I was at introduced Irish dancing. From then on, I absolutely loved Irish dancing and all the challenging steps that came with it. I realised my love for rhythm was the foundation for my passion of both Irish and tap dancing. I continued to study numerous styles of dance and completed a Diploma of Performing Arts at Dance World Studios in Melbourne. As soon as I finished my full time training I was asked to be in my first Irish dance show which went on to tour for nine months around Australia and New Zealand. I continued to tour around the world with different shows for about nine years before returning home and starting my career as a choreographer.
What are some of your career highlights? How have these experiences brought you to this production?
My career highlights include dancing as the lead in the show Noctu in New York off Broadway (Drama Desk Award nominated), touring with Riverdance for five years in countries such as China, USA, Europe and Ireland, original cast of Heart of Home, Ant and Dec arena tour of the UK and becoming a Capezio Athlete. I definitely think that every show I have had the opportunity to be in has influenced me in some way and has given me the confidence to create Eireborne. I always wanted to commercialise Irish dance and use my dance training to combine different styles with the phenomenal rhythms that Irish dancing provides. I also wanted Eireborne to be unique and have a female lead the show as there’s not been many opportunities where a female was front and centre.
What is it about the production Eireborne that you love so much?
I love that the whole show is live, which enables me to make better changes to the choreography all the time and gives me the chance to bring the best out the best in each dancer. It also feels amazing to be able to dance to a live band and be surrounded by so much talent.
How was the idea for Eireborne created?
About six years ago now, my Irish dance teacher turned very good friend and I were sitting down having lunch and we started talking about what we thought the ultimate Irish dance show would be and within a couple of hours the concept of Eireborne was “born”. From that moment onwards it was guns a blazing to make the show happen which meant putting on the producer hat but mainly being the lead performer and choreographer.
What is the rehearsal process like being the choreographer and performer? How do you separate each role?
When we’re in rehearsals I like to run the number with me in it a few times before stepping out and watching the dancers before cleaning. It definitely is hard work taking on the two roles but for me it’s a dream come true as I love both jobs equally as much. I also had to be a performer and choreographer in the recently created show called Drummer Queens, which was an amazing experience.
Tell me about the Irish component—how was the experience choreographing such a dynamic show with the best of the best Irish dancers?
As Irish dancers, we grew up competing in the same circuit so we all have an idea about each other before we’re in the room—there’s definitely a lot of respect there. Irish dancers each have their own style so coming into a show and learning something completely different is always such a fun and challenging experience.
Given Covid has knocked Eireborne back from the stage, how do you feeling knowing Australian audiences can finally see the show? What can audiences expect when watching Eireborne?
It’s so exciting that after two-and-a-half years of not knowing when we could show Australian audiences how amazing Eireborne is—after a phenomenal run over in Europe—we’re finally ready to rock! I work closely with the director Nigel Turner-Carroll in adapting the show to the cast members we have and working with their strengths and featuring them individually. Audiences can expect to see world-class Irish dancing to number hits by Irish-born musicians. We also have two amazing Ballroom/Commercial dancers that feature in the show and lead singers Peter Murphy and Reigan Derry. This line up is not to be missed. I’m so proud to have created an Aussie-grown production and I can’t wait to get back out on stage.
Eireborne is now back and ready to rock up a storm to Australian audiences, beginning with Melbourne at The Palais Theatre from July 29, 2022. Get your tickets HERE.