Mark Twain once wrote, "History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."
Lord of the Dance has evolved considerably since it was created over 24 years ago. Some elements of the show, however, remain constant -- in particular, clearly-defined character archetypes engaged in a timeless battle of good versus evil.
Why do such stories -- what Joseph Campbell refers to as the monomyth -- hold such power over us? Why do we all instinctively recognize the major story beats of such a journey: the call to action, the trials, going into an underworld, and being reborn with new power or wisdom.
It is this "simple" story arc which all audiences recognize so intuitively that an entire drama can be told onstage through song and dance without a single word spoken.
For the #IrishDance professionals who make it into Team Lord, it's also a chance to play a character. Lord of the Dance, though a showcase for the most hardcore Irish dancing in the world, is not a technical exhibition; it's a dance drama, and that requires dancers who are capable of acting and embodying a role onstage.
Only the finest Irish dancers in the world can accomplish this. Performing show steps with flawless technical precision is hard enough; *acting* on top of that is a Herculean task.
The two groups of leads in this photo are decades apart, but they represent the same narrative thread. Just by looking at them, you can tell instantly who the good guys and the bad guys are.
Lord of the Dance will continue to evolve over time, but certain elements of its core identity will always be on full display as each new generation discovers Michael Flatley's timeless billion-dollar classic.
Planet Ireland arises: 2021.