Three months ago, I saw my favorite dancer Michael Flatley perform for the first and last time. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him dance in person and therefore wanted to wait before sharing my mixed thoughts about the show. I’ve put this off long enough so here we go. I have watched the Feet of Flames version of Lord of the Dance on VHS more times than I can count, and the original soundtrack is ingrained in my brain. I danced for eleven 1/2 years because of Michael Flatley, Jean Butler, and Riverdance. Why am I telling you all of this information? I want to make it clear that my opinions are based on my art and dance background.
Even though Lord of the Dance is constantly being tweaked to stay relevant, the basic story is the same. I don’t mind that it has evolved into a modern Irish dance show, but I think some of the substance has been lost along the way. The 3D backgrounds were cool in certain places such as the opening of the show, but there were other times when they came across as cheesy and a bit nauseating (e.g. the nature scene with a unicorn). The male dancers did not disappoint; they were impressive and entertaining number after number. The “robot” soldier routine was cool and a nice touch of humor. Unfortunately, much of my disappointment is aimed towards the female dancers. Their costumes were either reminiscent of drill team or (basically) nonexistent. I realize that costuming is subjective, but I strongly believe females don’t have to wear less to be entertaining or further a story. The women would not have been cast if they weren’t talented dancers, but I wasn’t satisfied by any of their choreography; it fell flat more often than not, especially during the soft shoe routines. Sometimes their purpose was little more than standing onstage and looking pretty. I felt like I was watching a sports halftime show more than once. The only time they shined and impressed me was during the group numbers because it was more about the dancing and less about appearance. The female vocalist had a beautiful voice, but her segments felt disconnected; I wish her performances were better intertwined with the rest of the show. Overall, I think the production is overdone. Too many ideas! The creators need to take a step back and make some changes. The modern touches don’t need to be removed, but they shouldn’t be forced to the point of dragging the substance and spirit of the show down.
I think the biggest problem going into this show was my expectations. The version in my head and heart is from the original soundtrack and Feet of Flames VHS. I expected one thing and got another because the show has evolved, which isn’t a bad thing. I set myself up to be disappointed. I’m glad I saw it at least once, and I had the privilege of watching Michael Flatley take the stage before retiring. However, I would be lying if I said I will see this show again. I am perfectly content listening to my old Lord of the Dance CD and watching footage from the original show.
Other Lord of the Dance-Related Blog Posts:
• Dream Come True – https://laurenmichelepoetry.wordpress.com/2016/03/12/dream-come-true/
• What’s Happened to the Theatre – https://laurenmichelepoetry.wordpress.com/2016/06/08/whats-happened-to-the-theatre/
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– Lauren Michele ❤
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