Less than 60 days from now: Feet of Flames Taiwan.
This stadium tour is a wonderful light during a dark time. The performing arts in general are hurting right now due to the pandemic, so to be able to tour *this year* is a huge deal. Yes, there will be all sorts of quarantine, testing, safety regulations, and everything else imaginable to make sure it's safe; but the bottom line is that Taiwan has done a brilliant job of containing the virus, and thus is one of the safest places in the world right now. At a time when the arts are struggling, Team Lord is incredibly fortunate to be in a position where it has to scale *up.*
Another major benefit is that for the vast majority of #LordOfTheDance fans, they've never seen Michael Flatley's legendary #FeetOfFlames solo performed onstage by anyone other than Michael. (Dance For Hope IV, in part, was to prepare everyone for this.) They've also never seen -- unless they have a rare DVD from 2009 -- the Feet Of Flames stage set pictured here.
This is important. One of the primary differences to the show's visual identity are the updated stage sets from 2010 and 2014 for the Return Tour and Dangerous Games, respectively. These sets are absolutely brilliant feats of engineering, using massive onstage screens -- but the biggest challenge they face is overcoming the nostalgia of the commercial video releases from 1996 and 1998. Because those home videos came out at a time when social media didn't exist and the entire genre of commercial Irish dancing was brand new, the visual identity of the LOTD brand became indelibly linked to the costumes, lighting scheme and set design seen in those two videos. One need only look through the comments section of nearly any LOTD video to see the usual smattering of, "I like the classic show the best" reactions; saluting that nostalgia while getting everyone to accept a new visual identity on its own merits is a herculean task, because you have to build the same sort of emotional connection that those original iterations have while still guiding everyone into new territory. If you do it wrong, people say, "That's not Lord of the Dance," and tune out; if you do it *right,* you give fans permission to embrace the new side-by-side with the classic and enjoy both equally.
(A good analogy to this would be how Paramount updated the original Star Trek when creating The Next Generation twenty years later: it's still the Starship Enterprise, and it's still familiar enough to be instantly recognizable, but it's a whole new generation with its own visual identity and its own adventures to enjoy. And it became a massive success.)
The benefit, then, to Feet of Flames Taiwan is that you get to see the current generation -- whom we've been heavily featuring for the last 16 months, so that you've gotten to know them and form emotional connections to them -- performing onstage in a more classic set design. This blurring of the lines between old and new should help build excitement for things to come as we approach the show's 25th anniversary year, because as you've seen we've made a very focused effort to reenergize you with the classic magic *and* make you comfortable with the new magic.
In less than two months, Team Lord is back on the road, touring stadiums with Feet of Flames.
And in 2021? Planet Ireland arises.