When it came to show biz, Anthony Street couldn’t quite decide whether to go for magic or dance.
So, the Australian-born Street decided to do both.
Celtic Illusion was born in 2011 and has grown in leaps and bounds ever since with its awe-inspiring fusion of fantasy, dance and music.
For the first time in the show’s history, it has made its way to Canada with a stop at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) scheduled for Saturday night.
“I started doing magic when I was eight years old and when I turned 14, I took up Irish dancing,” said Street in a telephone interview from Calgary where the troupe was rehearsing.
“I just thought to myself, I may not get to perform both of these productions in my lifetime. I thought I might as well combine the two together to live both dreams.”
One of Street’s idols when he took up dancing was Irish-American Michael Flatley of River Dance and Lord of the Dance fame, the man who single-handedly brought Irish dance into the mainstream, entertainment world.
“I never dreamed that seven years after starting my first Irish dance class I would be performing the leading role that Flatley performed, the role that inspired me to take it up in the first place,” said Street. “I was the first Australian to perform both leading roles, including the role he performed himself. It was an amazing experience.”
The show, which he changes up regularly, features a stellar cast of champion and internationally-acclaimed dancers, including performers from both Lord of the Dance and Riverdance and some dancers Street has recruited from across Canada, the furthest distance they travelled since it began in 2011.
“It’s really quite a challenging show, there’s a lot of upper body choreography and different influences, like, there’s jazz and contemporary and fusion so people really need pre-show experiences,” he said. “They need to have a solid experience of performance to do one of these shows.”
While Street has done shows with other dance troupes over the years, for him there’s nothing better than being his own boss.
“Being creative is the best part of the job and luckily because it is my production, I can change things whenever I like whereas when I was touring with other productions I didn’t have any say,” said Street. “I was never happy and that’s what really drove me to do my own production. I’m always changing the show here and there, swapping an illusion around, taking this out and putting things back in, that way I never get bored and it makes it exciting for the performers.”
How does he feel at the end of the show?
“Exhausted. But the adrenaline doesn’t stop until much later. After the show, we do a meet and greet with the audience and after that, I collapse, he said.
“But I have a passion for it,” he said. “It’s a tough job but at the end of the day it’s a rewarding job.”
There are still tickets available for the Penticton show which starts at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in person at the Valley First Box Office (at the SOEC), over the phone at 1-877-763-2849 or online ValleyFirstTix.com.