To play this video you need to agree to Facebook's use of cookies. This may include analytics, personalization and ads. Learn more.


Follow Your Dream, Day #499: Underworld

As an evil Halloween treat, we placed a camera on dancer Sean Michael McHugh and had him film Dark Lord Declan Durning executing #LordOfTheDance James Keegan during a live performance of the show. Now you can see what it looks like *onstage* from the dancer's perspective!

In every great Hero's Journey, the hero must die or enter an underworld and be reborn, emerging with new wisdom or powers. This is exactly what happens in Lord of the Dance: as the second act shifts from rising action to complication, the Lord is captured by the Warriors and executed by Don Dorcha, only to be brought back to life via supernatural aid from the Little Spirit.

A big part of the reason for the success of the show is that it's Joseph Campbell's monomyth translated as a dance drama; as a result, it's a "simple" story that everyone instinctively understands, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or language.

As we approach Halloween at the time of this writing, it's worth noting that Halloween has its roots in a fusion of All Souls' Day and Samhain, the latter being a Celtic pagan festival. Samhain has any number of Gaelic myths surrounding it, but of particular note according to Irish mythology, Samhain was a time when doorways to an Otherworld opened, allowing supernatural beings and the souls of the dead to enter our world. Thus, it seems rather apropos that we bring our focus today to Don Dorcha, the Warriors, and the death of the Lord of the Dance.

The execution scene is not an easy scene to watch. Drama is the process of chasing your character up a tree and throwing rocks at him (or her). In order to build drama, your hero has to be in jeopardy -- and in order to have the uplifting feel-good ending, it has to be *earned* via a perilous journey. This is the Dark Lord's moment of triumph; for a few seconds, Planet Ireland has fallen and Don Dorcha reigns supreme.

The darkness will never achieve lasting success -- but here we can see its moment of victory, up close and personal.


We use cookies so that we can remember you and ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.