Last week I was lucky enough to attend the launch of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance – Dangerous Games at the London Palladium. With a background in dance, I was thrilled to get a taste of the show prior to its launch, and the short preview I saw certainly did not disappoint.
The energy and buzz had me craving for more and I am extremely excited that the show opens its curtains next week for the official opening of the show. The special effects, incredible footwork of the dancers and the uplifting music added to this excitement along with the enthusiasm from Michael Flatley about the show opening in the UK.
A question and answer session followed with Michael Flatley and guest star Nadine Coyle who is also starring in the show, which highlights how thrilled they are about the show opening in the West End:
Q: Tell us about the history of the show
A: I am delighted and honoured with the show. It doesn’t get any bigger than the London Palladium. The two last numbers are relatively unchanged but the rest of the show has been completely changed – it’s in a different place if I’m honest.
Q: I read in the press release that these are going to be your final West End performances, is it really your final West End appearance?
A: Yes it is, we’re sad too, but what a great place for me. This is the top of the world for me. Since I was a little boy I’ve always loved the West End. I’ve had a place in London since 1996, so I am just honoured to be here. My whole dream is to have young Nadine Coyle in our show, what a star she is and to bring these new young people to the show. I am proud to unleash them to the world now as they deserve the credit that they get. They have unbelievable talent and the world needs to see this talent. I’m so delighted to be able to bring them to London. I cannot say enough about the music and I hope you got a buzz from the last number, I certainly did. When that music starts and they come flying out, it makes you want to dance. Gerard Fahy is the top of the world in my eyes.
Q: Michael Flatley asks Nadine Coyle about starring in Lord of the Dance
A: Nadine – I am delighted as I have been a fan of Michael and Lord of the Dance for the last 20 years. When we first met and Michael asked me to be in the show I was on Cloud 9 and still am. To be here in the London Palladium, to be singing Gerard Fahy’s songs and to be with such an amazing cast and crew makes me delighted.
Q: You don’t see much stuff like this here in London. Do you think it is important to bring this to a new generation and introduce it to new people? Is that something you are aiming to do?
A: Yes, it definitely is. It’s a new version of Irish music that Gerard Fahy has brought us with a little bit of rock’n’roll and a little twist of everything. I think it’s nice for young people to hear this as well. I think anybody that hears Nadine singing Dangerous Games will be amazed by the way she delivers the song. Her voice is amazing, she is a stunning and her voice delivers. Yes, we want to bring this to London with its high energy and high octane.
Q: You obviously have quite a faithful fan base from earlier Lord of the Dance performances, how will this technical bonanza with flames appeal to the older/faithful generation?
A: Yes we are reaching out and doing something new, but we’ve been known for 20 years for trying new things. It’s new and exciting and it’s going to take a while to get used to. It’s what we see as the way forward. You’ll see the show in a different light as it’s multi-dimensional and is set in a new space. It’s as if they are dancing in a movie. But I want to go further, what’s the point in doing the same thing again, let’s try something new whatever that is.
Q: When the lights go up at the Palladium and you think back across the last 20 years, what will be the most magical moment that you will treasure the most?
A: The night that my wife said yes and when my son was born are the 2 biggest moments, after that its show business. When the lights go down, and I come out, it’s going to be all about that night. It’s going to be about that moment. We’ve been very blessed. I used to dream about performing at Madison Square Gardens in New York, to perform at football stadiums and Wembley Arena. I am delighted that we’ve managed to do most of that. Now my new dream is to bring out these new stars and my happiness is watching them dance. For me, when those lads came out tapping at the end there, it just sends me; it has done for 20 years and it always will. I hope we can bring some of that energy across to all of you.
Q: Michael you mentioned Wembley, so I was wondering if we could talk about your future plans for this show? A limited season at the Palladium then what happens?
A: We’d like to be invited back! We’d love to stay in the West End if it was possible. We are doing a night at Wembley Arena to celebrate their 80th anniversary. We have a history with this venue and have performed many times at this fabulous and iconic venue. We’re booked for the majority of 2015 and the show will be touring in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. We are also touring North and South America as it has been for 20 years. Then if any luck we will be in the West End again.
Q: Michael do you think shows like Lord of the Dance have helped popularise dance into main stream shows such as BBC 1’s Strictly. Do you think it has helped its rise to popularity and do you think now it should be left to the professionals?
A: I think we have a hand in lighting the fire and if you rewind the tape you’ll see that there wasn’t an awful lot of dance television shows in 95 and 96 when we kicked off, so I think we might have played a little part. The show has managed to outsell most of the big rock bands at one time or another. It’s a family show for ages 5-95 and is for all races, all religions and all colours, there are no barriers, and we are so proud of that.
Q: To the cast – We know Michael is quite a perfectionist so what is he like as a boss?
A: Dancer – I have to be careful what I say here. Michael is exactly what people would think he is. He is one of those guys that when you work for him you have to get your head down and work hard but it’s all worth it in the end. He is a friend to everyone in the cast as well. We work hard every morning, noon and night but Michael is always the first person here in the morning and last person here at night, so we lead by example. We get to learn from him and it’s a smashing experience. The best thing is that he throws a heck of a party when we are finished, so it definitely has its perks!
Q: Darcy Bussell has said she would like to see dance on the curriculum at schools so everyone has a chance to try it out. Is that something you would like to see?
A: What a fantastic dancer she is. Yes, I agree with that. We want people to watch World Dance day across cities around the world as it doesn’t cost anything to dance. All kids and young people need is music. I would love to see it in high schools as I think it’s hugely important.
Q: This is a big show; tell us how many people in total are involved in the production?
A: There are probably about 45 dancers on stage and about the same number backstage. We’re just blessed with talent. We’re so lucky to have such a rock solid team. Every single night is important to us which is the reason why we are still in business. We try to give people more than their money’s worth. Everyone loves what they are doing and I think the audience will get that good energy.
Q: You’ve talked about being proud of the young talent, how do you find these dancers?
A: They are sent from heaven! They are absolutely amazing. Young Alice here – I’ve never seen anything like her in my life. There is a reason why she is a world champion. We are so honoured to have her. She lights up the show, just look at her eyes, they are magic. Marie Duffy is my girl as she finds all this wonderful talent. There is a waiting list for the show, but everyone is welcome to audition.
Q: Plug why audiences should come and see Lord of the Dance
A: Hopefully I won’t have to sell it that hard! It’s a family show but not everyone is going to love it. It’s got high energy and has some of the biggest talent on stage. A few things have been added which will hopefully add to the overall experience. I’ve never been a big one to do a whole lot of advertising and you won’t see me doing a lot of press. Word of mouth makes up our best sales and we’ve been going for 20 years so that word of mouth has been pretty strong.
Don’t miss Michael Flately and Nadine Coyle star in Lord of the Dance – Dangerous Game and let them give you a taste of Ireland in this musical masterpiece. I know I will be securing my ticket now!