The photo attached to today's production journal entry comes from #LordOfTheDance OG Troupe legends Bernadette Flynn and Damien O'Kane at the Flynn O'Kane Academy of Dance in Nenagh, with a message:
We’re very excited to announce that Cathal Doughan has been accepted to join the cast of Lord of the Dance for their Feet of Flames Show in Taiwan this December!! Cathal is our first student to follow in both our footsteps and be a part of this incredible show. We are so excited for you Cathal
It’ll be 25 years this year since we both packed our bags as young dancers to begin this whole journey so we are beyond proud to see our students now embark on their journey We will look forward to sharing some of Cathal’s show experiences and stories in the coming months
There's something very powerful about this image. For those of you reading this who grew up with the original 1996 Lord of the Dance and its subsequent video releases, you saw Bernadette and Damien arise and mature right in front of your eyes as two of the most high-profile OG #IrishDance professionals in the world. They were kids from rural Ireland who performed in stadiums, dazzled an audience of over one-billion people on TV at the Oscars, sold out Wembley for three weeks straight, and broke so many other records on that mad crusade around the world with Michael Flatley that we don't have room to go into them all here.
And now here they are, all grown up, teaching the next generation to follow in their (literal) footsteps.
Maybe Elton John was right: it's the circle of life.
In the last 24 hours, the #IrishDancing social media scene has been abuzz with excited announcements just like this. Team Lord is a beacon of hope right now: Ireland has gone back into full lockdown, the competition scene is dark, the pandemic feels like it'll never end -- but here's Lord of the Dance, more than doubling in size, gearing up for a massive #FeetOfFlames stadium tour. A wild adventure on the other side of the world.
Let this serve as encouragement to all Irish dance students reading this: keep practicing. Keep up with your classes. Keep putting in the work. The creator of this entire genre, Michael Flatley, literally dug ditches in his mid-thirties as an impoverished and obscure day laborer to make ends meet as the world's only professional Irish dancer while he followed his dream. You can handle a Zoom class.
And if you're an Irish dance school reading this, with a student who's just been invited to join Team Lord for this #FeetOfFlames tour? Tag us. Let's spread the message of hope -- because just as commercial Irish dance shows like ours encourage new students to join your schools, it is your schools which train and hone the next generation of dancers to join our shows. We all succeed together.
Feet of Flames Taiwan: December 2020.
Planet Ireland arises: 2021.