Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Lord of the Dance’ steps into the Mullins Center

By Alissa Mesibov

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cityshake/Flickr

cityshake/Flickr

The mega-hit Irish dance show “Lord of the Dance” will come to the Mullins Center tomorrow night for its only scheduled Amherst performance.

Choreographer Michael Flatley fuses traditional Irish dance with elements of modern jazz and tap dance, as well as live instrumentalists and a vocalist, to tell the story of the titular Lord of the Dance who rules over his peaceful kingdom and its people. Meanwhile, there is an evil group, ruled by their Dark Lord – as a reminder, this came before “Harry Potter,” so no, Flatley did not steal the term from J.K. Rowling. Saoirse and Morrigan, two women from the pure and evil groups, respectively, battle for the Lord of the Dance’s attention while he must face the Dark Lord in a classic battle of good and evil. The story is based on traditional Irish folklore.

In July of 1996, “Lord of the Dance” had its first performance in Dublin, Ireland. It was Irish-American dancer and choreographer Michael Flatley’s first show as choreographer. Little did he know, the show would come to receive international acclaim. By the end of the year, a video and soundtrack was produced that have since sold more than 10 million copies, and over time, “Lord of the Dance” has been seen by millions. Flatley has been awarded with honors from countries ranging from the United Kingdom to Russia to South Africa to the United States for his work on the show. Las Vegas and Chicago have even held official Michael Flatley Days after “Lord of the Dance” played and sold out in those cities.

Though the show is almost 16 years old, it has not stagnated over its long run of performances. On the contrary, it has developed far beyond what played in Dublin on opening night, which he conceived of and staged in just 16 weeks, according to a press release. Flatley said in the same press release that “fans can expect 21 scenes of precision dancing, dramatic music, new colorful wardrobes and state-of-the-art staging and lighting.”

Irish composer Ronan Hardiman wrote all of the music, both instrumental and vocal, for the show. The music itself won the 1997 Irish Recorded Music Association’s Best Traditional Album award. The album has gone gold in multiple countries.

More than 40 dancers, in addition to the musicians, make up the cast of the show. They come from countries all over the world, including the United Kingdom, Hungary, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and, of course, Ireland.

There are currently two tours of “Lord of the Dance” running, one European and one worldwide, the latter of which is coming to Amherst. The tour will visit town for one night only at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$61, and can be purchased at the Mullins Center Box Office, online through Ticketmaster or by phone.

Alissa Mesibov can be reached at [email protected]

 

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