If you were about to go onstage in Lord of the Dance, what would be going through your mind?
You can hear the audience roaring. They're *right there,* just on the other side of that curtain. Your legs are warmed up. Your heart's racing. You are seconds away from crossing the barrier into another world: the world of the stage. The world of being a professional entertainer.
Earlier today, you and the troupe stopped at a petrol station on the road between cities. To any bystanders, it just looked like a whole bunch of college kids on some sort of field trip. They had no idea that they were in line to buy snacks with the greatest Irish dancers in the world.
Perhaps some of them are in the audience tonight.
When they go home, they have no idea that you're dunking your lower body in ice. Grabbing a takeout box from catering. Perhaps going out to the local Irish pub with the lads.
Perhaps you'll overhear some of them at the pub tonight, talking about the show they just saw -- the show *you* performed.
Out there is the world. Big, scary, uncaring, oblique. In here, though -- in this arena -- is the world of Planet Ireland. For a couple of hours, the audience can escape the worries and fears of daily life and escape into a bright, fun, dramatic adventure where good always wins and love triumphs over all.
Planet Ireland is the world *you* help create. Every night.
Before we as a species could communicate with written language -- perhaps even before oral communication -- there was dance. It is the most ancient method of conveying emotion and storytelling we have. It touches something deep inside us.
When you step onto that stage, you immerse into the moment. There is nothing else but the world created second by second in sound, light, and heat. What happens there, live, is *real.*
That's what it's like to be free. That's what it means to *dance.*