Irish stepdancing is a tradition that dates back more than 200 years, but one group is making it so modern.
International Irish dance group Fusion Fighters released their annual St. Patrick's Day video packed with stunning visuals and, yes, backflips.
That's right. The group of five sharply-dressed male dancers are expert Irish steppers and are perfectly in sync — with each other and the music by Sean Horsman.
But along with their intricate footwork, stepping and drumming on cajons, they can also nail handstands and backflips, which is choreography you don't traditional see in Irish stepdancing. Chris Naish, the artistic director and choreographer of Fusion Fighters, said after long stints performing in "Riverdance" and "Lord of the Dance," he wanted to modernize the tradition.
"After spending many years in Irish dance shows, I felt as if there had been very little progression from the initial boom of 'Riverdance' in Irish dancing performance," Naish told Dance.com. "So I wanted to create an alternative and progressive project to include modern concepts, themes and collaborations."
The Fusion Fighters performance crew is made up of 25 professional dancers around the world, mostly based in England and Ireland. Dancers are extensively trained in Irish dance, but are often skilled in many other dance forms, Naish noted, like tap, contemporary and body percussion.
In addition to the Fusion Fighters performers, Naish started an online community for Irish dancing where other dancers are encouraged to participate in camps, workshops or simply share their best videos. There's also an annual "Fusion Dance Fest" in Limerick, Ireland attracting dancers from all over the world to learn a "fusion of dance styles" slated for the summer.
But St. Patrick's Day, of course, holds a dear place in the group's heart. The group first launched with a special performance on March 17, 2013 at the "Mayor of London St Patrick's Day Festival" in Trafalgar Square in London.
"March 17th has special meaning to us," Naish said.
And since they're modern Irish dancers, they're using social media to their advantage. One video, entitled "Fusion Orchestra" created for BBC Documentary, went viral, leading the group to the tradition of sharing a performance for each St. Patrick's Day.
The group will perform their 2017 routine, "Phantom," on the "Late Late Show" in Ireland for St. Patrick's Day.
Check out their video on Facebook!