By Phil Jarratt
Australia’s greatest ever Irish Dancing champion sells taps at his dad’s plumbing supplies shop in Sydney’s West Pennant Hills six days a week when he’s not performing or competing around the world, or doing hard training at home.
If it’s the latter, his old man might let him off with doing just six hours on a Saturday, but if anyone is going to keep you grounded, it’s the Irish. Except that Liam Rivers Costello’s parents are not Irish. Well, not exactly anyway.
“I believe it was my great, great, great-grandparents on my father’s side who came out to Australia around 1860 from County Cork, but that’s as much as I know about my ancestry,” he said a little uncertainly during a recent interview.
In fact his first encounter with Irish dance was at an end-of-year school concert when he was just six.
“I remember liking the music but what I really loved were the steps and how precise they were,” he told the Guardian Australia.
Young Liam taught himself the basic moves by watching videos over the summer holidays, and somehow the bloodlines must have kicked in after skipping more than half a dozen generations.
“Then, as soon as I could get into a class, I jumped at it”, he says.
Now 19, Liam Costello is the youngest and only Australian to win the Irish Dance World Championships three times consecutively, the last being in Belfast in April.
In addition to his world titles, he is a 10-times NSW state champion, seven-times Australian champion and has numerous other international titles to his credit. He now splits his time between London and Sydney training and competing, and presumably avoiding counterwork in plumbing shops whenever possible.
Liam’s passion is dance, attested to by his strict training regime of eight hours a day. But he says humbly that he still regards himself as “a working dancer”, albeit one proficient in all forms of dance. Including his specific skill sets in jazz, ballet and Irish dance, he also has an impressive performance CV including multiple tours with A Taste of Ireland, performing on the stage of Carols in the Domain, Disney’s West Side Story, and performing in London for Joshua Pilmore’s headliner performance at Move It.
Now your humble correspondent is no expert on Irish dancing – in fact the last time he recalls seeing it was in a dimly-lit joint in the Temple Bar and there may have been some poles involved – but he did see Riverdance a long time ago and loved it, and he did just watch two videos of Liam Costello winning a world title and loved them too.
And now Liam is one of the many headliners in the all-star cast of Eireborne, the Mellen Events Irish-Australian production which begin a 19-show national tour last weekend in Melbourne.
The extraordinary cast features the absolute cream of Irish dancers in Australia for a rebirth of Irish dance – an Irish-based rock and theatrical experience. Eireborne boasts one of the most impressive Irish dancing casts ever assembled in Australia with 15 of the best, along with a dazzling live six-piece band making this show one not to be missed. No mime – it’s all completely live and features the music of Van Morrison, U2, Snow Patrol, Van Morrison, Hozier, The Script, The Cranberries and many more.
Among the other headliners are vocal virtuoso Reigan Derry who notched up four number one songs in 2021, performed at festivals in Los Angeles and New York, and Pete Murphy, widely regarded as one of the nation’s premier vocalists, who has been performing in major shows and live concerts throughout Australia and the world for the past 20 years in productions such as Les Miserables, Rent and Shout! in Australia and London’s West End production of We Will Rock You.
Eirborne will be at The Events Centre Caloundra on Wednesday 10 August, tickets available at mellenevents.com