The 1% Podcast

Padraic Moyles

  • 01

    Padraic Moyles

    Riverdance and the art of Performance, Mentoring and Developing High Potential


Born in Dublin, Ireland, Padraic Moyles emigrated to New York when he was nine years old. Padraic has danced in Riverdance thousands of times to millions of people throughout the world over the last 15 years. He has danced at the biggest venues and in front of the world leaders in business, sport and politics.


Dancing under the tutelage of Donny Golden, he joined Riverdance in 1997, going on to become Dance Captain and Principal Dancer and also being nominated for an Ovation Award for his leading role in the show. 


In 2006 he joined the Broadway production of ‘The Pirate Queen’ as Dance Captain before returning to Riverdance in 2008. Later that year, Padraic was a member of the cultural delegation to Norway with President Mary McAleese.  


Padraic is also a performance consultant working with McNulty Performance over the last ten years providing top class performance workshops and talks to corporate audiences. Padraic’s mindset, energy, enthusiasm and leadership is world class.


Show Summary


3:34 Padraic’s experience of dancing from a young age 

  • Padraic didn’t enjoy dancing at first
  • On the positive influence of watching his parents and their friends dance
  • It was in his teenage years that he fell in love with dancing


8:22 Emigrating to New York aged nine

  • It was a tough experience for Padraic as it took a long time to settle
  • It felt unsafe in the Bronx compared to living in Dublin
  • His parents kept the family together and grounded through Irish culture
  • Appreciating culture is important when living abroad


15:14 How parents can instil or encourage passions in their kids

  • There is no definitive answer: “you can only do your best”
  • Experiment through a two-year commitment
  • Encourage the fun element of new things


20:01 Being inspired by his teacher Donny Golden

  • He switched teachers and had Donny Golden, at aged 14
  • Donny had a high level of emotional intelligence and empowered students to lead in class
  • Donny embraced the evolution of Irish dance


24:15 The career risks as a performer

  • Padraic initially wanted to be a professional football player growing up
  • His parents always encouraged him to follow his passions
  • On handling the pressures from society and the “peaking at aged 27”
  • “We are so much more than what we do”


29:45 Music therapy and autism

  • Padraic’s daughter has autism and music therapy helped her talk again, first off by singing
  • She has physical reactions to music
  • “Music helps movement”


33:10 Padraic’s teaching philosophy

  • He went into teaching and set up an Irish River Dance Academy
  • Bringing together all elements of dance into a family environment
  • “We’re no longer hiring the dancer, we’re hiring the person”
  • It’s important to get to know the student
  • Having a growth mindset
  • Students learn about all roles within a performance – from physiotherapists to technicians


41:51 The signs that a young person has the potential to be a professional dancer

  • “There are tell-tale signs, but it doesn’t mean those signs will be there in five years’ time”
  • The physically most demanding job in the US is dancing, so a lot of factors can stop people from excelling


43:34 How to cope with the physical demands of a dancing career

  • Experiment and find your recovery methods that work for you
  • The power of group warm-ups


49:12 Padraic’s first lead role in Riverdance, September 1999

  • It happened after watching closely what previous lead performers wear doing
  • Written goal on a piece of paper: ‘how do I stay here?’
  • He surprised his mum that he had a lead role


52:53 Advice on managing stage fright

  • Padraic would experience anxiety before every show
  • He was guided by great mentors and coaches
  • Learn how to channel the anxiety into energy
  • Seek help if the anxiety inhibits you from performing
  • Have an open environment to share your fears
  • Put yourself in a place where you can enjoy the moment


1:01:14 Keeping a Riverdance performance fresh night after night

  • No performance is ever the same 
  • Changing the position of the dancers each night


1:03:27 The change in dynamics when being a Dance Captain

  • It’s important to know when you’re “off” and not being a Dance Captain with your team
  • Lead by example
  • Be kind and follow up with feedback


1:09:52 The impact of audience participation and performance

  • The audience is the final piece to the puzzle
  • You get essential energy from the audience


1:15:42 The approach to performance management

  • Working with McNulty Performance for a while now
  • Having the great opportunity to learn


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