This is how it begins.
This photograph, courtesy of Team Lord OG Troupe member Kerrie Connolly Mcateer, was taken in 1996, before the opening night of Lord of the Dance. This was the first real glimpse the general public had of Michael Flatley's mysterious new dance show, and the all-star troupe assembled to bring it to life.
Remember as well the context of this photo. This new show dared to go up against Michael's first show, opening in exactly the same venue. Michael himself, having been unceremoniously removed from his first show, had literally bet every penny to his name on this new show. What you see in this photograph is a group of people staring against the longest odds in this history of show business. Smart money was that it wouldn't work.
"Smart" money was wrong.
It's Lord of the Dance, with Michael Flatley's art form atop Irish dancing fully unleashed, that played arenas and stadiums, creatively growing the nascent genre from technical exhibition into drama and storytelling.
It started with the people in this photograph, who had nothing but the drive, determination, and brash confidence to get in the ring -- and emerge as champions.
This is the power of following a dream, and putting in the endless work to bring it to life.
And next year is the dream's 25th year.
Planet Ireland arises: 2021.