|Michael Flatley, Photo: Brian Doherty for Rapa Investments|
Lord of the Dance: Don't Try This at Home....
By Lauren Yarger
If you haven't been able to catch Michael Flatley's last appearances with Lord of the Dance this fall on Broadway over at the Lyric Theatre, take heart. You might be ale to clog your feet over to your local box office for the pleasure as the show has recently announced a national tour.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games kicks off its US tour in Florida followed by stops in Washington DC, Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, among others (see schedule below).
Meanwhile, the Broadway engagement runs through Jan. 3. Flatley is the creator of Lord of the Dance which brought Irish Dance to the attention of theatergoers more than two decades ago. This version, "Dangerous Games" adds holographs, special effects lighting, dancing robots (giving the production a video-game feel) as well as world champion acrobats and Irish dancing to a score by Gerard Fahy.
The show reminds me a bit of Cirque du Soleil -- it's mostly visual, set to great music. There's a story in there -- basically good verses evil -- but it's not always easy to follow. Flatley proteges James Keegan, Morgan Comer and Fergal Keaney play the Lord of the Dance, who battles the evil Dark Lord (Tom Cunningham, Nial McNally and Zoltan Papp). A Little Spirit (Jess Judge) travels through time to help him. Also dancing through the story are Saoirse (Erin Kate McIlravey, Nikita Cassidy, Caroline Gray), Morrigham (Andrea Kren, Brea McGaffey), Erin the Goddess (Sophie Evans) and a fiddlers (Giada Costenaro Cunningham, Valerie Gleeson).
The dancing is amazing. The number of taps per second astounds. Many years ago, inspired by one of the first Irish Dance shows, Riverdance (created and choreographed by Flatley), I purchased a video to learn how to do some of the dance moves. I remember struggling quite a bit to get my legs and feet to go to exactly the position my instructor demonstrated, and with each new step, I questioned my commitment. Finally, having mastered the eight steps, my instructor explained that we were now ready to put them all together. He demonstrated and said, "and that's one" as in the dance count of one.
"One?" I yelled incredulously at the TV monitor. All of those steps, it turned out were what I was supposed to be doing with my body, legs and feet on just the first count. I could only imagine the heap I would be in if there were eight or 12 counts of steps to accomplish to actually move from the spot on which I was standing. I quickly packaged up the VHS tape and gave it to a choreographer friend who said she'd always wanted to learn Irish dancing and that was the end of dreams of clogging across the family-room floor.
So I enjoyed, with personal empathy, the amazing footwork involved on stage at the Lyric. The precision is impressive. It's entertaining, if a bit drawn out and hard to follow, and Flatley himself joins the cast at certain performances to show that he still is at the top of his game as well. In 1998, at the age of 39, he exceeded his first Guinness World Record of 28 taps per second set in 1989 with a phenomenal 35 taps per second. My feet are VERY happy I gave that dance instruction tape away.
Full schedule of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games’ U.S. Tour is as follows:
Friday, February 19th, 2016
Sunrise, FL (BB and T Center)
Sunday, February 21th, 2016
Atlanta, GA (Phillips Arena)
Wednesday, February 24th, 2016
Boston, MA (Citi Wang Theater)
Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Uncasville, CT (Mohegan Sun Arena)
Friday, February 26th, 2016
Washington D.C. (Eagle Bank Arena)
Sunday, February 28th, 2016
Philadelphia, PA (Wells Fargo Arena)
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
Detroit, MI (Palace of Auburn Hills)
Chicago, IL (Chicago Theater)
Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
Independence, MO (Silverstein Eye Centers Arena)
Saturday, March 5th, 2016
Dallas, TX (Verizon Wireless)
Sunday, March 6th, 2016
Houston, TX (Revention Music Center)
Cedar Park, TX (Cedar Park Center)
Wednesday, March 9th, 2016
Loveland, CO (Budweiser Events Center)
Friday, March 11th, 2016
San Diego, CA (San Diego Civic Theater)
Saturday, March 12th, 2016
Phoenix, AZ (Comerica Theatre)
Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Los Angeles, CA (Microsoft Theater)
Thursday, March 17th, 2015
Las Vegas, NV (Coliseum at Caesar’s)