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Follow Your Dream, Day #470: Victory -- Extreme Close-Up

The story of Matt Smith's journey to become the Lord of the Dance is simply amazing. As a small child, he saw the original #LordOfTheDance video on VHS and said to his mother, "I want to be that."

Note the specific language here: not "I want to *do* that," but "I want to *be* that."

As small children, we've all had moments where we saw something cool and wanted to do it ourselves. Social media to this day is full of good-natured stories and videos of people trying to be Michael Flatley

The difference with Matt? He *meant* it.

Today, Matt Smith is 28 years old. He's been practicing #IrishDance for 23 of those years. Let's assume he averaged, between classes and practice, three hours per day of drilling. (In reality it's far more than that, but we'll keep the numbers low.) That means he's spent over 25,000 hours of his life -- literally more than a tenth of his entire existence on this planet -- doing ONE thing: training to become the Lord of the Dance.

Irish dancing is an incredibly difficult art form. The level of technical precision required to win at championship-level competition dancing is unbelievably hard to attain. And *that's* just the foundation for the next step, which is learning Michael Flatley's art form atop #IrishDancing.

The simple truth is this: it's virtually impossible to become a successful professional Irish dancer without passing through the Michael Flatley gateway. It is his art form atop Irish dancing -- the arm movements, rhythm patterns, etc. -- which makes it so commercially lucrative, and the most commercially successful Irish dance shows use his choreography and art form to this day.

Now we go to the next level: training to become the Lord of the Dance himself.

The Lord of the Dance is the most high-profile role in professional Irish dancing. You're literally stepping into the role that Michael Flatley himself pioneered: the role which sells out *stadiums.* When you set foot on that stage, you have to *be* the Lord of the Dance. The audience didn't pay good money to see Sort Of The Dance; they paid good money to see the LORD of the Dance. And when the show reaches Victory, the final number before the Planet Ireland encore, you've got a phalanx of the greatest Irish dancers on the planet flanking you -- literally a dream team of champion performers -- and you've got to lead them to a standing ovation from tens of thousands of people.

It takes *confidence* to do this. It takes *swagger.* It takes literally a lifetime of hard work to reach this summit: to go out there and BE the moment.

And this is what it looks like.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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