Dancers of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games perform at the Beijing Dance Academy on April 23. (Photo for China Daily /Chai Chunxia)
Irish legend Michael Flatley is presenting his show, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, in Beijing.
Two espressos start the day for Michael Flatley and then after two to three miles of running in the morning, he makes lots of phone calls, or travels from one country to another.
It's a typical day for Flatley, the world renowned dancer-choreographer, who is credited with revolutionizing the traditional Irish dance. He has been dazzling crowds around the world by creating and choreographing the popular show, Riverdance, in 1994, and continued his work by choreographing, producing and directing the show, Lord of the Dance, in 1996.
His latest stop is Beijing. Along with his dancers, Flatley, 59, will stage his dance production, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, in the capital, from Friday to Tuesday at the Theater of Beijing Exhibition Hall.
The show will tour other Chinese cities through May 20, including Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing and Guangzhou.
It's the first China tour of the show, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, a "turbo-charged" version of Lord of the Dance, which premiered in Dublin in 1996.
So far, the show, Lord of the Dance, has been watched by 60 million people from 60 countries.
"Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games still has the storyline of the good versus the evil. But the audience will still be surprised with all the new technology, such as the holograms and pyrotechnics, which are a good complement to the dancers and the story," says Flatley.
The dancer-choreographer came to Beijing for the first time in 2004 when Lord of the Dance was staged in the capital. And besides the positive feedback from the audience, he was impressed by the Chinese dancers he auditioned in Beijing.
Michael Flatley (left) and James Keegan, lead dancer in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.(Photo for China Daily /Chai Chunxia)
A muscular young Chinese dancer mixed Irish tap dance with martial arts. Another young Chinese dancer, who drove to Beijing from the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, wore a beautiful ethnic costume and did the same step like Flatley did in his shows.
"It was the same sounds he produced with his feet, but his moves were totally different from mine," says Flatley.
"He told me that he was a self-taught dancer, and that he spent months learning Irish dance by watching my videos. I started crying because I was so touched by the passion. I knew that he would be successful one day."
Though Flatley lost contact with the two Chinese dancers, he is aware that there are a great number of gifted dancers in China.
"Someday, it would be great to have a dance group full of Chinese dancers," he says.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games premiered at the celebrated Palladium Theatre on London's West End in 2014. And, in 2015, Flatley realized his dream by making his Broadway debut with Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games at the Lyric Theater.
With Riverdance and Lord of the Dance, Flatley broke the mold of traditional Irish dancing by incorporating upper body movement and creating edgy rhythm patterns that departed from tradition.
"The Irish are passionate and full of expression. And the core value behind Irish dance is discipline. So, by making those changes to traditional Irish dance, I wanted to make shows that grabbed the audience's attention and got them involved," says Flatley.
Born in 1958 to Irish immigrants in the United States, Flatley enrolled at an Irish dance school in Chicago at age 11. His mother and grandmother were both prize-winning dancers.