|This week Jinny’s article will be written by her daughter, Adele Anderson
Last week my mother treated my 12 year old son, Chuck, and myself to tickets to see the Lord of the Dance show that was in town. For those who don’t know, or don’t care, this is a dance troupe that performs in the tradition of Irish dance that became wildly popular back in the 90’s with the famous Riverdance group. It is all about Irish dance and music and singing and phenomenal fiddle playing.
Chuck loves Celtic music. Bagpipes are his favorite. He attributes this to his prominently Scotch/Irish bloodlines. Chuck is firmly convinced that one’s taste in these matters is strongly influenced by genetics. He likes to listen to a potpourri of Celtic music when he goes to bed at night. For homework, he prefers Mozart, claiming that it helps him to focus and concentrate. I take him at his word. Mozart makes you smarter; everyone knows that.
The auditorium was filled to bursting with others who had a fondness for the Celtic. I doubt if they all had purely genetic reasons for being there. I didn’t do a last name check or anything.
There are certain things upon which one may always rely in these performances. There will be haunting Irish tunes, great fiddle players, a girl singer with a lovely, bell-like voice, and a lot of feet moving really, really fast in shoes with taps. We were not disappointed. When the performance began, the music, which was recorded, was very loud. Chuck immediately clapped his hands over his ears. Contrary to what you might think, this was not because he didn’t like the music, but rather, because he has incredibly sensitive hearing and some loud noises actually cause him pain. He often sits through an entire movie in the theater with his hands over his ears for 2 solid hours. He enjoys the movie, but not at the decibels blasting out of the sound system. I read somewhere that the average American child has lost 25% of his hearing by the time he or she is 13. Let’s face it; we live our lives at an unnecessary level of volume.
When the first dancers came onto the stage, it was immediately obvious that the stage itself had microphones under it because the tippy tapping sounded uncomfortably like the staccato of gunfire. The last time I heard anything like it had been on the firing range in boot camp when there were about 50 M16’s being fired simultaneously in the same general direction. The second the dancing started I had to fight a sudden instinctual urge to throw myself on the floor in a prone position. Thankfully, I was able to collect myself before I completely embarrassed Chuck and ruined my nice suit on whatever hideous stuff generally lingers on the floor of auditoriums. The resemblance to any experience I ever had in the Army soon disappeared. Thank goodness it never occurred to our Drill Instructors to force us to fire M16’s in any discernable rhythm. Not that I would have been surprised if they had.
I loved Riverdance, which is a great combination of dancing, music, and singing without anything even remotely like a plot. The Lord of the Dance is a little different. It obviously has something that passes for a plot and a story, although I had a devil of a time trying to make heads or tails of it. As far as I could tell, it had something to do with Celtic druids, an amorphous little sprite with a flute, a pure and innocent beauty, a naughty, seductive beauty, a school yard bully and his gang, and a hero, who also had a gang. I guess the hero was the Lord of the Dance. Or maybe they were fighting over who would be Lord of the Dance. I couldn’t be sure. All I can say for certain is that the mean bully broke the little sprite’s flute and she/he/it got really upset and cried and the hero had to fight off the advances of the naughty girl, protect the innocent one, get his gang together, beat up the bully and his gang, and fix the flute. That’s about it. At first, Chuck and I thought there might be a dancing cat-fight between the two girls, which would have been kind of interesting, but it never materialized.
I am not sure why they bothered with a plot-line. Even if it had been understandable, it would not have been necessary. The dancing is wonderful all by itself. I admit to being particularly fond of the bits with the men. The girls are nice when they do a kind of lovely maidens dancing playfully in the meadow thing, but it is not the kind of dancing that lends itself to anything even a little bit sexy. I kind of felt sorry for the poor naughty girl who was giving her all to appear all seductive and temptress-like. For one thing, she was wearing what looked like a bright yellow cheerleader outfit with black tights. That is just, well…wrong. I expected the fashion police to charge in from the wings and haul her off wherever they put people who dress like that. Not to mention that, in my experience, skipping around like a school girl rarely qualifies as seductive dancing. If it does, something is seriously wrong with someone. If there is a woman who can dress up in a bright yellow cheerleader outfit with black tights and what have to be among the ugliest shoes on earth, skip across the room like a first grader, and end up with a contract to pose in the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue more power to her, I say.
All in all, it was a wonderful experience and Chuck and I had a fabulous time. We’d go again in a heartbeat. Chuck and I had a lively discussion on the way home regarding our individual interpretations of the plot. We decided that maybe it was a kind of Celtic West Side Story. After all, it had great music, guys and girls, and gangs, and people in leather dancing around. Neither one of us bothered to try and figure out how the flute playing sprite fit in; some things just cannot be explained.