What is it about the Little Spirit's dream -- Planet Ireland -- that captivates us so? Why does it speak to all of us so powerfully, regardless of language, culture, gender, age, or ethnicity?
Lord of the Dance is Joseph Campbell's "monomyth" -- the Hero's Journey -- structured as an #IrishDance drama. The Hero's Journey cycle exists in all cultural myths; a Greek hero may be different from a Nordic hero, but the story structure they both follow is remarkably similar. It's a story that seems to live inside all of us as human beings, and thus the symbology of that story -- heroes and villains, temptation and romance, the call to action, trials to overcome, going into an underworld and being reborn with new strength -- speaks to us subconsciously. It's why everyone instinctively "gets" the show, all over the world, without a single word spoken.
How that journey is staged differs with each iteration of Lord of the Dance. From the portcullis-and-stonegate set design of the original show which overtly evoked a vaguely medieval Celtic fantasy setting, to the more modern sets of 2010 and 2014 which push the imagery much further, the dream evolves as we evolve as people. And it makes you wonder: what will 2021, the 25th anniversary year of #LordOfTheDance, reveal?
The opening lyrics of the Spirit's Dream, from Dangerous Games:
Éireoimid beó is béimíd ullamh
Laochra Éireann ré ar ghach taobh
Suan ís séan a bheidh ár dtreoir
Béimid saor go deo más fíor
We will rise up quickly and we will be ready
Heroes of Ireland ready on all sides
Sleeping and happiness on our journey
We will be free forever
Planet Ireland arises: 2021.