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Follow Your Dream, Day #354: Building the Future

Everything starts with the dream. You have to visualize what you want to achieve -- see it in as much detail as possible -- and work backwards from that endpoint.

Then comes the hard work. Nothing is achieved merely by wishing for something; nobody gets up in the morning and asks what they can do for you today except you. All the pretty pictures in your head still require you to lace up your shoes, roll up your sleeves, and *create* them.

To paraphrase Joe Straczynski, inspiration and perspiration are like the shoes on your feet; you can go further with both of them on than just one.

When it comes to Irish dance choreography, and creating a finished product that's commercially viable, literally no one on this planet is more successful than Michael Flatley. Thus, seeing excerpts of his creative process give us valuable insights.

For instance: notice how the rhythm patterns interlock and build atop each other? The audience has to have something to hold on to; it has to be a steady baseline. If you lose this, you can throw in all the trickery you want -- but it won't *stick* in the minds of the audience. Music is as much the space between the notes as the notes themselves. If you throw everything at the audience too fast and keep changing it up, the brain loses the rhythm and doesn't know where to look; it can still be a "wow" spectacle, but there's the risk of no emotional connection underneath that makes you want to *re*watch it.

The next element is cleanliness. Notice how *clean* everything looks and sounds? The military precision and uniformity provides the contrast necessary when the choreography calls for a unique flourish that you want to draw the eye to.

From there we get into costuming, music, lighting, and placement within the context of a show's narrative arc. However, as this video illustrates, the foundation has to be built first. And even that foundation, if done correctly, can (and should) be incredibly exciting just by itself.

The work that goes into creating a finished product takes months. In some cases, years. But the end product is a dream realized.

Next year is the 25th anniversary of Lord of the Dance. Who knows what that might mean?


P.S. -- You may recognize a lot of familiar faces in this video. If you can, please do support the Lord of the Dance OG Troupe's charity fundraiser, supporting three charities in Ireland, the UK, and the US:

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