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Yvonne Lynch is living her dream, performing in the Irish dance extravaganza Riverdance this semester.

Yvonne Lynch is living her dream, performing in the Irish dance extravaganza Riverdance this semester.

Student on tour with Riverdance

April 5, 2007

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By Stuart Colcleugh

Yvonne Lynch walked away from her third-year kinesiology studies at SFU this semester but she's not dragging her feet.               

Last week, she began high-stepping down the northeastern seaboard on a four-month gig with the North American touring company of Riverdance, the traditional Irish dance extravaganza that has been performing worldwide since 1995.

It's the culmination of 15 years of training and competition—and a lifelong dream—for the 20-year-old Coquitlam native, whose parents immigrated to Canada from Ireland in the early ‘80s.

"I always thought, wow, it would be so amazing to perform in Riverdance," says Lynch, who plans to complete her undergraduate degree when she returns and become a physiotherapist.

"So I sent them an audition tape. And although I didn't know it, they had a scout watching me at the Irish dance championships in California last summer." Soon after, the company invited her to join the tour.

Lynch is a seven-time Western Canadian Irish-dancing champion and is rated among the top dancers on the continent. But she still had to learn the Riverdance routines, with help from a Vancouver veteran of the show.

And that took some adjustment. "There's more arm movement in the show," she says. "Plus, performing for audiences is different than competing for judges. It's less about the technique and more about smiling and getting that story across."

The storyline is a semi-historical account of the mid-19th-century Irish diaspora, complete with music and song and a little Spanish flamenco, American tap and Russian folk-dancing tossed in for good foot-stomping measure.

The schedule is brutal. "It's a new city every week, eight shows a week, and then Mondays you travel to a new one," says Lynch.

Still, she's living the dream. And only one detail remains to make it perfect: "I'm hoping my parents can see me perform in Montreal."

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