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Follow Your Dream, Day #504: Battle Lines

How about a treat: an ultra-rare bootleg of Hell's Kitchen from Wembley, 1998? It's the classic duel of Michael Flatley versus Daire Nolan, with Helen Egan Maguire as the Little Spirit!

One of the great strengths of #LordOfTheDance, dramaturgically, is that it has very clearly-defined archetypal roles. The real world is often a confused mess of shades of gray, which is why we perpetually yearn as a species for storytelling that cuts through all of that with clearly-defined heroes and villains. In Lord of the Dance, you know exactly who's good and who's evil: Don Dorcha and the Warriors are #TeamBadGuy, and the Lord of the Dance and the Warlords are #TeamGoodGuy. Everyone's in on it, and as a result everyone can enjoy it.

There is real power in such "simple" storytelling. Roughly nine-hundred years ago, a French trouvère named Chrétien de Troyes told very simple stories about the legend of King Arthur -- work which laid the foundation for the format of the modern novel, via stories which we still read *today.*

In a radio interview circa 1997, Michael Flatley once said -- and this is paraphrased from the author's memory as best as possible -- "This is going to sound crazy, but this story has been in me for thousands of years."

Except it's not crazy at all. Whether consciously or subconsciously, Flatley translated the "Hero With A Thousand Faces" monomyth story structure into a dance drama, which is one of the major reasons it has been -- and continues to be -- so globally successful, having grossed over one-billion dollars.

Here's an interesting truth: nine-hundred years from now, not only will #IrishDance still exist, but Flatley-style #IrishDancing -- his art form overlaid atop the dance, which is the foundation for its commercial success -- will also still exist. It will still be performed in some form.

That's the level of cultural impact we're talking about here.

That's the power of a "simple" story, brought to life by the power of one person who followed their dream.

And that is the legacy of Michael Flatley.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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