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Follow Your Dream, Day #480: Lord of the Dance -- the Supercut

Here it is. The supercut of the show's title number itself: #LordOfTheDance.

This video features:

* Michael Flatley and James Keegan as the Lord of the Dance
* Bernadette Flynn and Caroline Gray as Saoirse
* Gillian Norris, Ciara Sexton, Aisling Mc Cabe, and Aimee Black as Morrighan
* Helen Egan Maguire, Kate Pomfret, and Alice Upcott as the Little Spirit

This is a story that starts over half a century ago.

You are Michael Flatley. You grew up on the wrong side of Chicago. You’re in more fistfights than you can remember. You work as a day laborer. You’re told you’re too old to start dancing. You’re shouted at by your teachers for daydreaming. You grudgingly follow the rules just long enough to become the first American world champion of Irish dancing, then abandon the rules to focus on building your art form: how YOU see Irish dance.

From the time you start dancing, it takes nearly twenty-five years for you to become an “overnight” success. Twenty-five *years.* You never gave up. You never settled. You can’t; to do that would break you as a man. And so you keep going: the skinny thirtysomething construction worker with a ridiculous dream of selling out stadiums with an obscure folk dance no one’s ever heard of.

By the time you’re training the Eurovision troupe in 1994, you’ve already been dancing longer than most of the other dancers in that troupe have been alive. Suddenly, you’re the star and principal choreographer of a new genre that you’ve invented with your art form: the professional Irish dance show. A quarter of a century of work to create something massively commercially lucrative, which plays a significant role in reinventing an entire country’s cultural image.

Then the producers try to take it from you.

You refuse.

They drop you – and go on with your choreography, *your* art form. There isn’t a thing you can do about it.

…Except there is.

The only way to prove you built the first show is to build another one.

You face the greatest challenge of your life: you have to beat your own work. And this time, it’s going to be all your own money in the show. It takes every penny you have; you literally bankrupt yourself just to prove a point as an artist.

It’s like pushing an elephant uphill. To some, you’ll always just be an “effin’ Yank”. To some, with ulterior motives, your confidence and work ethic are twisted and painted as arrogance and “difficult to work with.”

You learn to take that negativity and use it as rocket fuel. You handpick a troupe of the greatest Irish dancers in the world and drill them on Irish dance choreography that’s light years beyond anything anyone’s seen before, even in your first show. You assemble a team to build the most outrageous #IrishDance show you can imagine. You’ve got barely enough money for ten weeks of rehearsals and production. It’s raw. It’s rough around the edges. But it’s got *heart.* This isn’t some polite evening of austere theatre; this is a full-throttle rock concert. This is a title fight.

The show: Lord of the Dance.

It explodes. It goes way bigger than anyone imagined possible. It shows up on the Oscars. It sells out stadiums. It's seen by over sixty-million people. It grosses over one *billion* dollars.

You are vindicated.

You followed your dream, and *worked* -- worked harder than anyone will ever know -- to bring that dream to life.

That was a quarter of a century ago. Thirty-five years of backbreaking poverty and toil in obscurity to produce twenty-five years of standing ovations. Your show, Lord of the Dance, lives on; a beacon of high energy and positivity, the saga continues with your handpicked successors on that stage, featuring only the finest Irish dance professionals in the world.

With the 25th anniversary year of Lord of the Dance coming up, the story is only beginning.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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