The beloved children’s music group The Wiggles are embarking on their North American tour this month and coming to NYCB Theatre in Westbury on Sept. 18, the second stop of the tour. The Wiggle Town tour with Simon, Anthony, Emma and Lachy will include new songs, new characters and new dance styles.
“The boys are learning to tap dance and are doing really good,” said Emma. “It’s one of our danciest and fanciest shows.”
Tap dancing and Highland dancing are two new styles audiences can expect on this tour—complete with kilts and bagpipes, played by Anthony.
“Anthony was part of the Pipes & Drums band while he was in the army. When Lachy and I got married last year, he wanted to play the bagpipes for us,” said Emma.
From there, they decided to incorporate it into their performances, an aspect that Emma said is exciting for young children to experience. So far, they’ve introduced the Scottish dancing on the tour in Australia and parts of New Zealand.
“Children are intrigued by both the size and the sound of the bagpipes,” she said. “It’s quite exciting to see them react to it. I see them position their hands and copying the moves.”
The Wiggles are an extremely busy group. They are on tour for eight to nine months a year and when they return home, they go straight to work filming the next DVD or TV show. The group began in 1991 in Sydney, Australia, and while Anthony is the only original member of the group, they have built up their audience base and their repertoire over the years. Emma, 26, grew up watching The Wiggles on television and even saw them for her first concert as a young child.
“It’s the first concert for a lot of children and it’s a really big deal at that age,” she said.
The Wiggles also seem to encourage audience participation: children dress up as their favorite Wiggle, bring roses to give to Dorothy the Dinosaur or bones for Wags the Dog and they make signs. When Emma was growing up, she said wearing a Dorothy the Dinosaur tail was popular. Now, kids and parents alike wear yellow bows to show their love for Emma, who joined the group in 2010 and became the first female Wiggle in 2012.
As for the gifts, she said the giving has extended to her and Lachy; they were showered with cards and gifts during the year of their engagement and are now being showered with more gifts since getting married in April.
Not that concert-goers are expected to bring anything. But, she said, children love the idea of giving a present and the concept of sharing is an important one for kids to learn. On Sept. 18, the group will play two shows at the NYCB Theatre, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. With its circular stage, it’s an ideal place for a young audience.
“It’s a very intimate style of show and is great for little ones because we have more of a connection with them,” she said. “It feels like you’re in a classroom and it really brings us back to how it used to be.”