Here’s a confession- I’m a little bit obsessed with the ‘Dream Cast; Les Miserables’ DVD with stars like Colm Wilkinson and my very favorite Lea Salonga (the voice of Mulan if that helps the non-musical obsessed). I had to get it in a box set with a Riverdance DVD which I admit, still has the plastic wrap holding in all that merry jiggery. I don’t know why not, but I’ve never taken a particular O’shine to watching it.
With it being St. Patrick’s Day weekend (yes, I stretch the holiday into a full weekend) I thought I would turn my attention to all things Irish- I plan on wearing lots of green, zero snake-skin, and all things 4 leaf clover related. (I’ve already done a post on the best green costumes- see it here)
I admittedly have never taken Irish dance. The closest I’ve come to that kind of experience was when Louisville Ballet brought in the tiniest choreographer, Lila York, to set her famous 5 movement ballet, ‘Celts’. She’s about 5 feet tall and I’m guessing has some leprechaun in her. Some of the footwork ad jumps she set are fun, playful, and evil for mere mortals.
I love this ballet- it was originally created for Boston Ballet in 1996 but has since made the rounds with many major ballet companies. The music is traditional, from groups like the Cheiftans and Celtic thunder. The cotstumes are; for the corps of women- a nudish nightgown looking thing. If I recall correctly, the men are shirtless, at least they are in the men’s movement- which is basically a balletic jumping wrestling match. I obviously did not understudy that one but it wouldn’t be a lie to say that I was there to observe the amazing Kevin Wiltz, Pete, Yoshi, Philip, Ben, Rob, and all the guys in most of those rehearsals. There is also a lead solo male, ‘The Green Man’ with the fastest footwork mixed with ridiculously fast allegro and tours. That year it was danced brilliantly by Keith Glenn- who has since abandoned dance for med school – and by Kristopher Wojitera. It was especially amazing I think, to see Kris in this role because the guy is about 6 feet tall. How someone that lanky moves so quickly is just…magically delicious? (You knew it was coming at some point)
There is also a lead couple in red,Red Man and Red Woman, whose movement features a lot of fast jumps and cool lifts. One of the movements is adagio with a corps of women and a lead couple in brown. I forget the exact story but I know it’s based on folklore and the main woman and her corps or ladies are magical sea creatures trying to seduce/drown the guy or something along those lines.
The piece in its entirety is festive and earthy, dazzling and mystical all at once. Another piece of entertainment with those same qualities is a movie that I grew up watching called ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’. It’s a Disney produced film about a old geezer named Darby who catches the King of the leprechauns and is granted 3 wishes. It also has a young Sean Connery in it. Aye, it does! It’s delightful, if you can get your hands on one, but I’m guessing it’s a rare find, like a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Please enjoy this lengthy and nonsensical fiddle scene.
I chang my mind.
MY 3 WISHES:
1. An all-green wardrobe
2. a leprechaun accountant
3. To be the next Lady of the Dance. Take that Michael Flatley. You can hand over that crown now. And it had better be made of gold.