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Follow Your Dream, Day #467: Gypsy -- the Supercut

How about another #LordOfTheDance supercut -- this time, Gypsy?

When Gypsy made its debut in 1996 in the original Lord of the Dance, it was an atomic bomb in the world of #IrishDance. For the first time -- ever -- female #IrishDancing was *sexy.*

That's not an exaggeration. Irish dancing was sterile and sexless until Michael Flatley overlaid his personal art form atop it. And his art form applies to male and female performers. The slip jig -- the soft-shoe dance predominantly performed by women -- was transformed into something wildly sensual.

This transformation was necessary for the plot of Lord of the Dance. The character of Morrighan is a temptress, and as such her dancing requires a level of seductiveness which was hitherto absent from Irish dancing. The pioneer for this new form of slip jig, revolutionizing female Irish dancing, was Gillian Norris -- the OG Morrighan.

Fellow OG Troupe member Denise Flynn describes it best: "We were told to just dance whatever came to mind as the music played -- to use our arms, our bodies -- and for all of us it was just so awkward. We had no training or experience with it at all. And then came Gillian, flicking the hair, looking at herself in the mirror, and we were all like, 'Oh my GOD, are you SEEING this?'"

Gillian to this day is somewhat surprised at the impact she had on the world of Irish dancing. "I just moved to the music and danced whatever came into my head," she said. "It used to annoy the follow-spot operators, because every night I was dancing a different routine onstage!"

What's interesting about the character of Morrighan -- and it's exemplified in this supercut -- is that she's open to wildly different interpretations. Is she a supernatural creature? A coquettish flirt? Is she truly evil, or just misunderstood? This video contains *four* different performers -- Gillian Norris, Ciara Sexton, Aisling Murphy, and Aimee Black -- all of whom have very different interpretations of the role.

(This interpretive trend continues with the current troupe as well; dance captain Andrea Papp-Kren's interpretation of Morrighan, for instance, is pure fire and steel, completely different from anyone else who has ever performed the role.)

As we approach the 25th anniversary year of Lord of the Dance, it begs the question: what might be next for the character of Morrighan?

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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