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Follow Your Dream, Day #277: War

Think back to a moment in your life when you stood your ground and fought.

At some point in your life, you will stand alone. No matter who or what your opponent is -- whether it's a physical enemy or an inner demon -- the reality is that you're in a fight, all alone, and you're either going to win or lose.

That simple truth puts things in sharp focus. There is no more debate; no more ambiguity; either you put your opponent on the mat or you get knocked out.

The Duel is not the climax of Lord of the Dance as a show, but it *is* the climax of Lord of the Dance as a story. And isn't it interesting that Michael Flatley chose a one-on-one fight as the climax? Given his history as a boxer it should come as no surprise, but the plot climaxes this way for a reason: because, like the great myths of old, it comes down to everything you've got versus your archnemesis. Winner take all.

In 1996, Michael bankrupted himself to prove a point as an artist: that *he* was the creative genius behind the invention of this new genre of entertainment, the professional Irish dance show. His first creation was in the hands of others -- his rhythm patterns and choreography, *his* art form, all taken from him -- and he had to get back up and fight the hardest battle of his life: outdoing his own work.

Twenty-four years later, the most outrageous gamble in show business has paid off. Michael is the de facto Stan Lee of the Irish dance world.

And the Duel? It still stands as one of the most edge-of-your-seat Irish dance experiences you'll ever see.

Consider the dancers performing it. They've already been on that stage for hours. They were warming up and working out for hours prior to that. And now they have to not only perform the steps, but make a lot of physical contact with each other in a scene that requires a heck of a lot of acting.

The strength of Lord of the Dance is its authenticity. This is a show that goes out there and physically does things that push the human body to its absolute limits. That's what makes it so amazing to witness. And on the last tour, we set out to capture on film that high-octane tension onstage, so that you can really get a feel for how insane it is.

In particular, look at the dancers featured in this video. Starring Matt Smith as the Lord of the Dance versus Zoltan Papp as the Dark Lord, this is a title fight for the ages. Matt moves with a combination of masculine swagger and avian grace, while Zoltan is frankly terrifying as an unstoppable force of nature -- a military tank moving with the inexorable force of a hurricane.

Over the last nine months, we've brought you a lot of onstage videos. It's a completely new way of seeing Lord of the Dance; our hope is that this unique visual identity helps you see the show from a new perspective, and appreciate the work of this new generation.

Click play and enjoy the video. This isn't just a title fight, ladies and gentlemen: this is a war.


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