On Wednesday 3rd November I went to see Lord of the Dance, which was showing at the 02 Arena in London (among other places). For those of you that don’t know, this was a special return-of-Michael-Flatley sort of show, so there was quite a lot of hype about it. Personally, I find Michael Flatley rather annoying, but it can’t be denied that his feet are … well, incredibly fast, that’s all I’m going to say. I was excited because I knew that Bernadette Flynn was playing Saoirse, and she’s one of my favourite dancers.
We had decided to travel by bus from Eltham, so at around quarter to six we left the house. The show wasn’t due to start until half past seven but you know how buses are always unreliable, and we definitely didn’t want to be late! Well, my parents wouldn’t have cared, but I was desperate. However, it hardly took very long at all, and we arrived at the 02 at about 6:35.
It was a lot bigger inside than outside – the whole place is like a TARDIS. Because we were way up in Tier 2, we had to walk the whole way around to get to Gate H which was almost the whole way around. Warning, merchandise at the 02 is way too expensive to even contemplate buying. A tin whistle (I got mine for £1 in a music shop) was going to cost £20! The programme was £10, and the scarves were £20 … we moved on quickly.
I had known in advance that one of my friends was going to be there, so it was nice to see her sitting a few rows back, and we waved at each other. Knowing that we were very high up and far away from the stage, I had brought my binoculars, for which I was very grateful. After what seemed like forever the show finally started. I put the binoculars to my eyes and watched …
The first dance was, as always, Cry of the Celts, and I must say that Bernadette Flynn and Ciara Sexton were amazing. (Please note, if you were there that night the programme was wrong. It was Ciara Sexton playing Morrighan no matter what it says there, and I still haven’t worked out why). I almost cheered when Michael Flatley came out, but not quite.
I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow account of every dance, but I’ll skip right to the end when Michael Flatley did his solo. Now, I’ve already said that I’m not his greatest fan and it’s true that sometimes he, um, irritates the, um, hell, um out of me. But I have to say – my jaw dropped. It was incredible. You can see how he got his world record when you watch that, I can tell you. Actually, I went to see Essence of Ireland the other day (I don’t recommend it) and I remember thinking that the lead dancer had an ego almost as big as Mr Flatley’s. The thing was, he didn’t have the feet. Michael Flatley? He had the feet.
During the interval (this is not in chronological order because I’m tired) I saw two young girls, probably about ten years old, pretending to Irish dance; it was something that I also saw afterwards. People like that annoy me. They think it’s easy; they don’t see what’s behind all the smiles and the flashing costumes; they wouldn’t dream that behind stage those same dancers have their legs in buckets of ice because of shin splints and their toes are bleeding from three hours of rehearsal! If they went to classes, they’d soon learn that it’s not just kicking around.
But moving swiftly on, before I get too het up. I managed to get outside with my parents, and we waited for quite a long time in a very crowded bus queue. When we managed to get on, find a seat (and how lucky was that: the thing was packed!), it was time for the questions. “So, which dance did you like best? What did you think of [insert dancer’s name]?”
I was so hyper, in fact, that when we got off the bus I skipped and jumped and twirled my way down the street, completely ignoring the tell-tale pain in my shins. Let me tell you one thing: I regretted that in the morning. What I didn’t regret, however, was using up my Christmas presents on buying those tickets.