By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Scott Doherty grew up high-stepping.
Doherty started learning Irish step dancing at age 6, following (with his twin sister) in the dance shoe-clad footsteps of their older cousin and their older brother and sister (also twins; a love of dancing isn't the only thing that runs in the Doherty family).
"We were always called the 'Dancing Dohertys," he said. "Pretty much ... my parents made me. ... I had no chance. I ended up falling in love with it, luckily."
Meanwhile, Chris Smith was growing up pounding out another kind of rhythm as a drummer. During college, he started working at Busch Gardens and was attracted to the sound of Irish drumming.
Doherty's and Smith's paths eventually crossed, and from their meeting, Rockin' Road to Dublin was born. The dance show comes to Amarillo on its first national tour for a 7:30 p.m. Saturday show in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Van Buren St. Tickets are $35 to $55, plus fees.
"We both started talking about shows that we would love to see and also shows that we would love to be in," Doherty recalled. "We realized we both had this dream to make a new show.
"Irish step shows are incredible," he continued. "But it's been 20 years since anything new and exciting was out there."
For Smith, that meant adding live music.
"That was my No. 1 priority," he said. "I wanted it to be upbeat and exciting. ... To me, that seemed like the most fun and most energetic way to get the audience involved."
He also gave the music a rock 'n' roll spin.
"That made sense," he said. "I can play the Irish music, but I can also make it more uptempo."
Doherty said the show doesn't mess with the fundamental appeal of Irish step dancing, traditionally performed with a stiff upper body and quickly moving feet.
"We're just updating it and making it modern," he said. "I like to say we're keeping it relevant. People love Irish step dancing and they want something new, so why not give them what they want?"
The cast features two singers, an eight-piece band and 14 dances, including Doherty as the lead.
"It's definitely a tough role, but it's spread out throughout the show," he said. "The band is out there driving everything, and the show bounces between dance and instrumentals.
"It's very balanced so we don't kill myself or any of the other dancers," he said.