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Follow Your Dream, Day #487: Stolen Kiss -- the Supercut

How about another #LordOfTheDance supercut -- this time, Stolen Kiss?

This supercut features "classic" Stolen Kiss, as seen in the 1996, 1998, 2009, and 2011 video releases, featuring Michael Flatley as the Lord, Bernadette Flynn as Saoirse, and a trio of outstanding performers -- Gillian Norris, Ciara Sexton, and Aisling McCabe -- as Morrighan.

We need to make a point here: Bernadette Flynn is underrated.

We know that sounds ridiculous, but consider: Bernadette Flynn has been featured in *four* massively successful commercial #IrishDance videos over a span of fifteen years. If you combine live performances plus TV and film appearances (to say nothing of the internet), she almost certainly holds the world record as the most-viewed female Irish dancer in history. And let's not forget that Lord of the Dance is a very masculine show; to command an audience's attention as a lead dancer, both as a soloist and as Michael Flatley's dance partner, is an astonishing achievement.

Look at this supercut carefully. You're literally watching Bernadette grow up in front of your eyes. The role of Saoirse is incredibly difficult to portray, because it's understated. It's beauty, elegance, vulnerability, strength, and grace all in one package. To maintain all of that as an authentic performance, especially as you yourself grow and mature as a human being as well as a dancer, is an incredibly tall order.

Put simply: if your list of the greatest female Irish dancers of all time doesn't include Bernadette Flynn, then change your list.

Shifting over to Morrighan, what's fascinating about Stolen Kiss is that here you see three wildly different interpretations of Morrighan. Is she a supernatural creature? A mythical gatekeeper whose trials only a true hero can pass? A coquettish flirt? A wild seductress, unbound by anyone's rules? Is she truly evil or simply misunderstood? Of the six lead characters in the show -- the Lord, Don Dorcha, Saoirse, Morrighan, the Little Spirit, and Erin the Goddess -- Morrighan is open to the broadest interpretation. This is also important because traditional pre-Flatley #IrishDancing was a rigidly sexless art form; Lord of the Dance was the atomic bomb that truly blew away that repression, allowing and encouraging the natural interplay between the sexes as a way of building dramatic tension. The show's two primary themes are good versus evil and love versus lust, and that latter theme is crystallized in Stolen Kiss. It takes *confidence* to play a role such as Morrighan onstage -- a certain innate fire as a performer -- and what you see in this supercut is a trio of truly superlative female dancers bringing the role to life in very different ways.

Stolen Kiss has been through some dramatic changes in the last 24 years. The version from the Feet of Flames World Tour (as seen on the Gold video release) has a wildly different final section with Morrighan, whereas the Dangerous Games version inverts the opening section by starting with the backline dance and then transitioning into Saoirse's solo, plus it ends with Morrighan literally stealing the kiss. As with everything else in the show, the number may continue to evolve and change, but it will always have certain key beats which harken back all the way to that opening night in Dublin, 1996 -- when a threadbare show on a wing and a prayer blew the roof off the building and never looked back.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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