Imagine we'd had internet livestreaming technology back in the 1996-98 era of Lord of the Dance. What sort of content would we be broadcasting and posting back then?
Chances are, it probably wouldn't be all that different from today.
As I write this, it's been by my rough calculation 8,642 days since Lord of the Dance made its debut in Dublin. (If you want to include the ten weeks of creating the show, then it's been just over 8,710 days since Lord of the Dance formally began production.)
And yet the journey is the same.
Look at this video snippet from 1998, as Troupe One headed to RAF Bassingbourn to rehearse the original Feet of Flames. A group of incredibly talented young men and women -- the greatest Irish dancers in the world -- on the Lordbus, making merriment, as the miles on the road tick away.
Today, it's virtually identical. I'm writing this entry from the Lordbus as we travel from Austria to Germany. Sitting behind me are the greatest Irish dancers in the world -- a group of incredibly talented young men and women -- making merriment as the miles on the road tick away.
How many hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of Irish dancers have traversed this road over the decades, touring the world as members of Team Lord? You have a strong emotional attachment to those who made the journey first because they were the trailblazers, and they were the ones who were featured in the first brace of commercial video releases that tens of millions of people purchased; we didn't have internet livestreaming back then, but we *do* have it today, and through it, you can actually chat with Team Lord, interacting with them on the road in real time, no matter where you are.
Truth be told, I love these journeys on the Lordbus. Arthur C. Clarke predicted, way back in the 1960's, that the invention of the internet and electronic communication would shrink the whole world to a point. Today, we can see that this has happened. But when you're actually traveling the landscape by bus, you're suddenly (and quite wonderfully) forced into a slower pace of life, taking in the scenery all around you while your thoughts drift along to the drone of the bus engine.
Vienna was amazing. I bumped into Team Lord OG legend Denise Flynn in Vienna; hanging out and having drinks a stone's throw from the Danube with one of the greats from the original journey was a special treat. Here was a remarkable woman with a successful professional career, and she had already made the journey that I was embarking upon. Perhaps, some day, decades from now, I'll be in Denise's position, listening to some new storyteller regaling me with stories from the road that sound exactly like what I'm doing right now, and what Denise already pioneered with the legendary OG troupe.
We had back-to-back sold-out shows in Vienna, and if you caught the live streams on Dancelord TV (twitch.tv/lordofthedance), you saw the new version of Robojig, met our new troupe members, saw a Zoltan power-hour workout with the girls, and enjoyed some pretty awesome up-close pyro. It was a great way to start the tour. And as we departed Vienna this morning, the buildings gave way to a sea of gentle rolling countryside hills and windmills. An utterly beautiful sight.
We just passed a medieval roadside village nestled in a teutonic forest. It's modern enough along the main artery we're using, but in the distance, atop the nearby hill, there are sheep grazing near a structure that looks like a monastery from nearly a millennium ago. All around us, dotted across the landscape, are these little hamlets where day-to-day life goes on here in these parts of continental Europe, largely unchanged from a century prior.
A slight pattern of raindrops is hitting the windshield. It's mesmerizing.
To traverse the world like this, enjoying the scenery and experiencing so much culture and history thrown at you in rapid succession, is an incredible privilege. This morning, I woke up in Vienna; tonight, I lay my head down in Zwickau.
Honestly, *is* there a better job than touring the world with Lord of the Dance? It's a product designed to do one thing: bring overwhelming joy to those who witness it. This sort of adventure is completely unlike what we've come to expect from the modern world, where all the maps have been drawn and all the boundaries which circumscribe our lives defined.
It's a big world out there. If you get in trouble for dreaming, as Michael Flatley often did when he was a child, remember his message: if you *follow* your dream, the things you got in trouble for as a child are the things you can do as an adult.
Written from the Lordbus, on the road somewhere between Austria and Germany, February 25th, 2020.