With flashing lights, smoke, explosions and nonstop Irish step dancing, Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" offers Celtic culture on steroids.
The touring production, which opened Thursday in the Gallo Center for the Arts' 1,200-seat Rogers Theater, brought the packed house to its feet and filled the theater with cheers and whistles.
Flatley isn't performing this time, but the 40-odd young dancers who took the stage surely made him proud. They tapped, kicked and spun in circles in precision, never missing a beat.
First performed in Ireland in 1996, the show has been seen by more than 50 million people in 60 countries.
Told solely through dance with no narration, the fairy tale plot centers on the battle between the Lord of the Dance and the evil Don Dorcha. Each man has an army and beautiful women to keep him company. There's also a goddess who sings, two women who play the fiddle and a spirit who plays "Simple Gifts" on the flute throughout the show.
The striking single set is an ancient- looking stone castle decorated with Celtic symbols and a unicorn. The cast seems to change costumes about every five minutes and has outfits of every color, including neon shades.
In one brief sexy interlude in the decidedly G-rated show, the women strip off their traditional short dresses and dance in halter tops and shorts over tights.
The heavily amplified music and sounds of tapping feet may be too loud for some. Others may find the traditional Irish step dancing of stiff arms and rapidly tapping feet too repetitive and limiting. There's only so much you can do with the form.
But those who attended Thursday's show appeared only enchanted by the production. As the crowds filed out, more than a few children joyfully did their best to replicate the fancy footwork they had just seen.
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