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Follow Your Dream, Day #584: Daire Nolan at Wembley

For this week's #ThrowbackThursday, we're cracking open the vault and giving you a special treat: never-before-seen footage of the OG Dark Lord, Daire Nolan, performing Warriors at Wembley in 1998!

The Wembley '98 run set a record which stands to this day: 21 consecutive sold-out shows. It's a record so outrageous that it may never be beaten, and it speaks to the incredible power of Michael Flatley's #LordOfTheDance as a billion-dollar IP.

Imagine for a moment: you grow up as a competitive #IrishDance practitioner. It's an obscure folk dance no one's ever heard of, and it has no commercial value. Suddenly, in your mid to late twenties, Michael Flatley explodes onto the scene and invents a brand-new genre: the professional Irish dance show. In late '95 and early '96, he searches far and wide, handpicking the truly greatest Irish dancers in the world to be in his new show.

And you're one of them.

More than that: you're chosen as a lead dancer.

More than that: you have to hold your own onstage as the villain to Flatley's hero. There's never been an #IrishDancing villain before; what does that even *mean?*

That's the journey Daire Nolan took.

Because the show's legendary original run -- bookended by two wildly successful commercial video releases, Dublin 1996 and Hyde Park 1998 -- took place nearly a decade before social media existed and we didn't all have cameras in our pockets, there's very little footage currently out there from that amazing two-year crusade around the world.

But we have the vault. And in that mysterious vault are all sorts of hitherto-unseen treasures. Last year we began a slow drip-feed of grainy never-before-seen bootleg footage; now that we're in 2021, the 25th anniversary year of Lord of the Dance, we're taking it up a notch.

Because these VHS transfer files are so old, there's still quite a bit of image grain, and we've had to rebuild the audio from the 1996 video. But for those of you who have a massive hunger for more footage from that classic era -- a hunger basically unsatisfied for a quarter of a century -- this is pure gold. The show has evolved tremendously from the old days -- although the rhythm patterns are the same, the formations and choreography have grown increasingly intricate -- and by looking back upon where we came from, we can see just how far we've traveled.

Planet Ireland arises: 2021.


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