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Follow Your Dream, Day #429: Tribute to Daire Nolan

In the world of #IrishDance, few names are as prominent as Daire Nolan. This video is a tribute to him: the OG villain of the dance.

Consider: in 1996, you make it through the most notoriously difficult audition in the history of commercial #IrishDancing. You are then selected to play Don Dorcha, the show's evil villain.

But what exactly does it mean to be the "bad guy" in an Irish dance show?

They don't teach Evil Hornpipe at school. Today we take it for granted when we see Irish dancers playing a variety of character archetypes and infusing the dance with different moods; all of this, however, is Michael Flatley's art form, and up until Lord of the Dance was created, the concept of using the dance as a narrative foundation to build characters and tell a cohesive story simply didn't exist.

This means that all Daire had to go on, when the show was first created, was Michael's direction and his own intuition as a performer. Making the challenge even greater: Daire had to hold his own onstage with Michael himself. No great story is complete without a villain -- what is Star Wars without Darth Vader? -- and suddenly Daire had to be the world's first Irish dance villain, sell that concept as well as his performance to the audience, and make the drama believable onstage with Michael.

He succeeded.

Every Irish dancer who has ever played the role of Don Dorcha interprets it differently. It's a role that has a surprising amount of versatility. But there is no escaping the fact that when you see Daire Nolan, the OG Dark Lord, you are seeing a force to be reckoned with.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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