Michael Flatley changed the face of dance across the world when he became “Lord of the Dance” twenty years ago. Flatley adapted Irish dancing and tap to create something new that captured the imagination of hundreds of thousands.
His latest show, Dangerous Games, opened at the Teatro at Monte Casinos this week. Some of my colleagues sighed – surely people have had enough of the Celtic music and the same moves? Not so. Dangerous Games features backdrops on a high definition screen that appears almost holographic, creating mythical scene: a waterfall, a forest in which a unicorn grazes, an evil lair of fire and brimstone. The costumes are elaborate, and beautiful.
The story is a universal one of good and evil. The Lord of the Dance must fight his counterpart, The Dark Lord and his army of Dark Disciples. At the same time, Morrighan, the Seductress tries to come between The Lord and his true love, Saoirse.
The show is so much more than just simple fantasy, however. It also has a science fiction undertone. In one scene, an army of robots come together, ready to fight off the evil army, who look like they’ve stepped out of a scene from Mortal Kombat.
The dances are choreographed with military precision – not a single step is out of line. The perfection and synchronicity of it are mesmerising.
The music is a mix of traditional Celtic strings, pipes, and whistles, combined with electric and bass guitars to give the soundtrack an Irish, electric rock feel. The tap steps often form the percussion, adding another layer to the sound.
Flatley himself doesn’t dance much anymore, now directing and choreographing the shows of his company. Dangerous Games is therefore performed by a cast of young, fresh dancers. However, the original Lord of the Dance does make an appearance at the end of the show for a few short tap dances, proving he still has the moves. Flatley is only performing for the first two weeks of the South African tour so if you want to see the legend on stage, you’d better hurry. It will be the last time he’ll dance in this country.
Dangerous Games uses dance to tell stories of seduction, love, good and evil in a dreamy, whimsical, and sometimes nightmarish world, using the body as a spellbinding conduit. It is Lord of the Dance on steroids.
Lord of the Dance – Dangerous Games is on at the Teatro at Monte Casino from 14 July 2015 to 09 August 2015.