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Follow Your Dream, Day #461: Warriors -- the Supercut

How about another #LordOfTheDance supercut? This time, we're going to the dark side with Warriors!

Warriors is actually a major turning point, not only for the show but for commercial #IrishDance shows as a genre. Recall the very first time you saw Lord of the Dance: the first three numbers of the show are all feel-good, with a rousing opening, a gentle song, and a beautiful slip jig. So far, everything is nice and happy.

And then Don Dorcha shows up.

For the first time in a commercial Irish dance show, you're seeing *negative* emotions portrayed via Irish dancing. It is as much of a shock as the first time you see Darth Vader in Star Wars. As the number progresses, you're introduced first to the villain, and then to his clan: the Warriors. The realization hits you that this is *very* different from Michael's first show -- something far more wild and intense.

Warriors is where the genius of Michael Flatley as a dramatist and choreographer really shines through. It's so easy to focus on Michael's dancing that we forget his art form atop #IrishDancing applies to more than just him. Just as the good guy has certain rhythm patterns and arm movements, so too does the bad guy -- and they are distinctly different, as unique as fingerprints.

If you've ever seen a commercial Irish dance show that plays with character archetypes -- heroes, villains, sirens, etc. -- the genesis of all of that in this genre comes from Lord of the Dance.

This supercut features *five* commercial video releases: LOTD '96, FOF '98, FOF Taiwan, LOTD 2010, and -- in a new twist -- Dangerous Games 2014. This is done deliberately; Warriors has evolved *so* much since its original iteration that it's shocking to see just how far it's come. And while the nostalgia for the classic iterations of the show runs deep, we daresay the latest iteration of Warriors -- if you look at it with unbiased eyes -- is just freaking *amazing.*

This is also a showcase for two truly superlative performers: OG Dark Lord Daire Nolan, and Dark Lord Emeritus Tom Cunningham. For Daire, the '96 and '98 videos are bookends on the amazing original journey of the show, and seeing his evolution as a performer -- a true #IrishDance pioneer, inventing what an Irish dance villain could be and evolving it every single night -- is amazing to witness. Tom, meanwhile, holds the record for appearing as the villain in the most number of commercial video releases, and it's astonishing to see his development of the Dark Lord character over 22 out of the show's 24 years. We're fairly certain Tom holds the record as the longest continuously-performing professional Irish dancer in history, and statistically speaking, if you've seen the show live, the chances are very high that you've seen Tom in the role.

Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen: it's time to say hello to the bad guy.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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