Follow Your Dream, Day #276: Dramaturgy

Think back to the very first time you watched Lord of the Dance, either in person or on video. When did you realize what you were seeing was something very different from what you'd seen before?

One of the most dramatically intense moments in the show comes early in the second act, with Hell's Kitchen. The entire first act of the show is expository: you meet, in order, the Lord, Saoirse, Don Dorcha, and Morrighan. The only hint of conflict in the first act is during Breakout, when Saoirse and Morrighan briefly interact.

The second act changes all that.

The very end of Spirit's Cave, and the beginning of Hell's Kitchen, are when the fisticuffs start flying. There's actual physical contact in these scenes, as well as the Duel later on in the show; although everyone tries to be careful onstage, there's the occasional bruise or black eye.

It's a bit of a shock the first time you see it. We're used to it now, but back then, Hell's Kitchen was the moment when everyone realized that this really was a dance drama, like West Side Story, rather than merely a technical exhibition with no plot.

Drama requires conflict. And if you know Michael Flatley's backstory, then the show can easily be viewed as something of an allegory for his life. Dealing with street fights as a kid, becoming a boxer as well as a dancer and self-taught flautist, pursuing his dream for thirty-five years despite blue-collar poverty, and then *finally* getting to showcase his art form atop Irish dancing only to have it taken away from him, this is a man who's been knocked to the canvas more times than can be counted, yet got back up each time and answered the bell for another round.

This is an important lesson for all of us. In life, you'll encounter obstacles. Sometimes you'll get knocked down. But don't *stay* down.

Get. Back. Up.

Take the hits and keep moving forward.

Lord of the Dance is a message to all people, everywhere, that no matter how tough it gets, you *can* win. Just keep going.


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