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Follow Your Dream, Day #506: Gypsy -- From Rehearsal to Stage

The video attached to today's production journal entry is pure candy: the legendary Gillian Norris rehearsing Gypsy at the SFX in 1996, creating Morrighan the Temptress right in front of your eyes.

Remember the context of this video: in 1996, no one had seen, heard, or even *thought* of #IrishDancing performed like this. It broke every rule you could think of. Traditional #IrishDance was a sexless, joyless affair; Michael Flatley set the dance free for all the world to see in 1994, but it was not until 1996 with #LordOfTheDance that he could fully implement his art form atop Irish dancing with other performers, showcasing his brilliance as a choreographer and dramatist as well as a dancer.

Today, commercial Irish dancing is much more free and open to artistic interpretation. That's due to the commercial success of Michael Flatley's first two shows -- in particular Lord of the Dance, which pushed (and continues to push) the envelope *much* further. But it still takes superlative performers to bring this art form to life, and this is where Gillian Norris takes center stage.

If you've watched previous OG Stories episodes with James Devine, Denise Flynn, and Michael Donnellan, then you already know much of the backstory behind this video, and how respected Gillian is by her peers for inventing something completely original, based only on Flatley's directorial notes and her own imagination as a performer. She *became* Morrighan on that stage, and if you go back and watch the original 1996 video, that Irish audience goes nuts because they'd just never seen anything like it. Lord of the Dance was -- and is -- the future of Irish dancing, constantly pushing forward, breaking new ground, smashing every record imaginable, and serving as the ultimate playground for the best Irish dancers in the world to showcase themselves.

And here, in this ultra-rare rehearsal video, you see the foundation of that magic being created in front of your eyes.

For the Irish dancers reading this at home: use this as inspiration to keep practicing at home. So much of the Irish dance world has gone back into lockdown that staying motivated can be a challenge. Meet that challenge head-on and don't even slow down. Greatness is on the other side.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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