Tick. Tick. Tick.
On the radiant flat-screen spanning the width of the stage, an antique watch appears, revealing the source of the slow ticks. It was much slower than any of the tapping throughout the performance. The intricate sounds throughout, supported by video backgrounds of unicorns and waterfalls, took the audience to a fantasy land.
Captivating audiences around the world, “Lord of the Dance” captivated Shippensburg University at the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on Saturday.
Two decades ago, “Lord of the Dance” premiered at the Coliseum in London. And In 2014, Michael Flatley, the group’s creator, transformed the show to make it even more exhilarating than the original.
To mark its 20th anniversary, “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games,” with music composed by Gerard Fahy, premiered at the London Palladium in September 2014.
Flatley’s “Dangerous Games” tells the story of a hero, the Lord of the Dance, who loses his title belt to a bionic dark lord.
The opening scene depicts an innocence-versus-evil theme through the dancers’ white, graceful costumes and those in black cloaks surrounding the stage with torches in hand.
The Spirit, a petite woman in a multi-color metallic unitard, wove in and out between the scenes of Irish step dancing, singing and violin playing.
Waves of Irish step dance swept the stage. From the smooth and dainty soft-shoe dancing to the fierce flaps from the hard-shoe dancing, the knees of all the dancers seemed to have been attached to a puppet string — they all quickly and simultaneously rose and fell. While both types of dance swept the stage effortlessly, the hard shoe dancers demanded the audience’s attention with their quick, sharp follow-ups, each dancer moving on their count.
The two violinists were identical in terms of their long and curled blond hair and indigo-colored costumes. The only thing that separated them were the color of their instruments. They kept the crowd upbeat through their performance, encouraging the crowd to immerse themselves in the Irish music and clap along.
As the lights dimmed for intermission, a young girl in the audience was already out of her seat, jumping up and down. She was tapping her feet in the aisles of the auditorium, her blond hair bouncing just like the Irish dancers’ on stage. Friends and family members chuckled and clapped at her excitement.
With the transition of lights shifting from the audience to the stage, the drama began to pick back up. A “tap-off” between the shirtless male lords and the artificial dark lords took place, each demanding the stage.
Crisp, cramp rolls and paralyzing paradiddles shook the audience, as the dancers’ tapping quickened. With only the Lord of the Dance and one dark lord left, the two battled. It was not until the Spirit gave the Lord of the Dance a boost that he was triumphant. With his title belt around his waist, the cast lined up as the audience stood and cheered.
As audience members began to exit, three images of Michael Flatley appeared on the stage screen. Flatley and his two duplicates challenged one another to a dance-off.
The syncopated tap-dancing sequence brought a fluent grace that eases the audience as it was about to leave the performing arts center. As the sound from his feet faded and he disappeared from the screen, the cast members lined up for one last bow.