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Lord of the Dance weaves Irish magic on 25th anniversary tour

It broke all known box office records in Mexico, Israel, and the Middle and Far East.

Lord of the Dance. Photo: Brian Doherty.
Lord of the Dance. Photo: Brian Doherty.

It was the first show ever to complete 1,000 performances in Germany.

And it's been seen by over 60 million people in more than 60 different countries, playing to audiences across every continent in the world.

There's no denying that Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance is a cultural phenomenon.

The Irish dance show has smashed record after record for a quarter of a century, seducing audiences worldwide with 150,000 taps per show.

It might be easy to think the Riverdance star is a stalwart product of the 90s, fixed in time alongside the Spice Girls and Cool Britannia, but the whooping and hollering from the crowds at The Alexandra prove that Flatley has a loyal fanbase that transcends time and place.

Clearly, Irish dancing is still popular.

While Flatley himself retired in 2016 due to physical ailments, Lord of the Dance is firmly rooted in his story and how he propelled Irish dancing - and himself - to global stardom.

The production starts and ends with video footage of Flatley reflecting on his career and the adversity he faced when he first found himself in the glare of the spotlight.

The Irish-American dancer reinvented traditional Irish dance by incorporating new rhythms, syncopation, and upper body movements into the genre.

That these features are seen as inherent to the dance form now proves how successful Flatley was in his innovation.

After pulling on avid fans' heartstrings with Flatley's journey to stardom, the show launches full-throttle into an allegorical tale of good versus evil.

The Christ-like Lord of the Dance (Cathal Keaney) battles against the Satanic Don Dorcha and his wicked henchmen to protect the good of Planet Ireland.

A story of ambiguity and nuance, this is not, but you'll be loathed to find a more dazzling visual spectacle.

The dancing is immaculate, with high kicks that could knock your eyes out.

The costumes are a visual feast and the projections immerse the audience in the mythical heavenly and hellish landscapes that reinforce the battle between good and evil.

Unsurprisingly, as the show is the most successful touring show in entertainment history and one of the most successful dance productions in the world, you can sense the love people have for Irish dancing in the audience members around you, as they cheer, clap, and rush to their feet to give a standing ovation.

Flatley catapulted Irish dancing to the world stage, and a quarter of a century after he debuted Lord of the Dance, its hold over people's hearts and imaginations shows no signs of slowing down.

Lord of the Dance is at The Alexandra until Sunday.

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