Follow Your Dream, Day #559: Cathal Keaney's Feet of Flames

Michael Flatley's legendary #FeetOfFlames solo is the most high-profile #IrishDance solo in the world. Aside from Michael himself, only four Lords know the secret of the dance: Damien O'Kane, James Keegan, Matt Smith -- and Cathal Keaney.

For an Irish dancer, Feet of Flames is the ultimate highwire act: it's just you by yourself onstage -- no backline dancers, no music, minimal lights -- in front of a stadium.

Let's up the ante further: this is after you've already danced for two hours onstage (to say nothing of the two-plus hours of pre-show warmups and workouts) -- and you've had to *be* the LORD of the Dance that whole time.

Make no mistake: it *means* something to be the Lord of the Dance. It's Muhammad Ali saying he's the greatest and then going out and *being* the greatest. The reason why this show has grossed over one-billion dollars is because it dares to be great, going harder and faster for longer than anyone else. When you buy a ticket to see #LordOfTheDance, you're paying a premium to see THE GREATEST, in all capital letters, and it's the thrill of seeing THE GREATEST play out *live* right in front of you.

Which brings us back to the titular solo. This is the moment when you step onto that stage and you *own* that stage. This is the moment when you make it absolutely crystal clear to every person in the world that *you* are THE GREATEST. Because this is not #IrishDancing as interpretive jazz, skittering about with rhythms no one can follow: this is Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven.

The anticipation is electric; the audience knows what they're about to witness; and there is a collective holding of breath as the lights reveal you onstage: that moment when they see you and realize, oh my God, it's *happening.*

Cathal Keaney is the boy next door. He's a slightly geeky bespectacled mechanical engineer. He's the nice guy you want your daughter to bring home for Christmas dinner.

But then you look more closely. You notice the unbelievably toned physique. The spectacles come off, and suddenly Clark Kent has become Superman, a pillar of muscle in leather trousers, with a look of intense concentration that flickers like lightning at the thunderhead of an approaching storm. And you suddenly realize: there's way, *way* more under the surface than you initially thought.

The boy next door is a *man.* And that man is about to straighten everybody out and show everyone how it's done.

You're rooting for him. You're cheering for him. How could you not? This is *exactly* what you've paid to see, what you've waited *years* to see: the Lord of the Dance performing Michael Flatley's art form at its absolute zenith, the trance-like perfection of those immortal rhythm patterns brought to life *now,* right in front of your eyes, by the best dancer in the world, who's getting an entire stadium up on its feet.

*Everything* that is Lord of the Dance is summed up in that moment.

And then -- BANG.

It's why this show will always be the most commercially successful Irish dance show in the world, and why it perpetually attracts the greatest dancers to its ranks.

Enjoy, ladies and gentlemen: this is Lord of the Dance Cathal Keaney. And this is the Feet of Flames solo, performed to a stadium during The Impossible Tour.


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