The Michael Flatley Collection: (Lord of the Dance / Feet of Flames / Michael Flatley Gold)
10th Anniversary Edition
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He is one of the world's most celebrated performers, an innovative and dazzling genius who has entertained millions. Now, from Michael Flatley, legend of Irish dance, comes three vibrant and exciting dance shows featuring superbly talented performers, fabulous music, and stunning special effects. As one of the most graceful athletes and creative choreographers ever, Michael has shaped the future of Irish dance. Now, his intoxicating mix of traditional music and dance, both old and new, is available for the first time in this special collection that will sweep you away!
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Then, my detailed opinions regarding the three programs.
This video contains, in their entirety, "Lord of the Dance" (LOTD), which was the premiere performance in the Point Theatre in Dublin;
"Feet of Flames," (FOF) the new and improved version of LOTD, performed outdoors in Hyde Park,
and a documentary, "Gold."
LOTD and FOF are on one side, and you need to flip the DVD over to watch Gold.
LOTD runs 1h 37 min, and is in normal TV aspect ratio ("fullscreen" 1.3:1).
FOF runs 1h 54 min, and is in widescreen format, 1.77:1, conventionally, 16:9.
Gold runs 2h 10 min, and is in aspect ratio 1.78:1, described as "anamorphic".
All three say captions in English and subtitles in French and Spanish.
Previous comments have mentioned some problems in the audio of the DVD.
The DVD that I purchased through Amazon is perfect. There are *NO* audio or visual problems in any of the programs.
I had LOTD in commercial VHS, as well as home-recorded of PBS. I find the quality of the commercial VHS rather poor, as if it was recorded in EP mode.
This DVD looks much better.
I cannot conceive of any reason not to buy this DVD, especially considering the price. I paid $13.99 from Amazon, and I cannot think of fourteen bucks better spent. Ever.
That should take care of the nuts and bolts information, now for my criticism.
Michael Flatley seems to have one mode when talking about his work: enthusiasm.
He says in Gold that LOTD was the best performance, that there was magic on the stage.
All I have seen is these videos and a performance of LOTD in Boston.
I believe that he is not exaggerating. To me, LOTD, the opening performance recorded for posterity,
is *PERFECT*. There is definately magic on that stage. Perhaps it is due to the opening show anxiety that Michael speaks of,
but whatever it is, I can watch this program over and over and over again and never get tired of it.
FOF is the 'new and improved' LOTD. As you see, it is a half hour longer. Besides all the pieces in LOTD, several new pieces were added.
Notably, a solo flute performance from Flatley, "Whispering Wind." It brings tears to my ears. It is absolutely beautiful.
Additionally, a second "Siamsa"-style piece is added to the first half, called "Dancing over the Rainbows."
Since "Siamsa" is one of my favorite pieces from LOTD, this is big plus.
I love all of LOTD, but I do have favorites. My *very* favorites pieces are: Gypsy, Stolen Kiss, Siamsa, and the intoroductory piece to "Lord of the Dance,"
where Gillian and Bernadette dance together and are then joined by four men (the part that is to the music of "Stolen Kiss").
I prefer all of these from LOTD to the FOF versions.
FOF may be bigger, but for me it is not better.
Don't get me wrong, I love FOF, but how can you match perfection (LOTD)?
The documentary Gold is an interview with Flatley interspersed with footage.
A great deal of the footage is from LOTD and FOF. Interesting note: The footage from LOTD is in widescreen. Is there a widescreen version of LOTD available? If there was, I'd buy it.
Probably half of the two-plus hours is simply footage from LOTD anf FOF.
It starts with earlier footage, including stuff with the Chieftans. All interesting.
The latter part focuses on a new and improved LOTD/FOF called "Feet of Flames Budapest."
I looked online for this expecting it to be commercially available, but no such luck. What gives?
It was obviously filmed...
Here I get critical.
The setting has been changed. It has an Egyptian motif. The 'bad' girl is Cleopatra.
Neither Gillian or Bernadette are in it.
One of the pieces shown is called "Cleopatra's Spell." This, I would guess, is the replacement for Gypsy.
I must admit, it has really grown on me. The dancer, whose name I didn't catch, is quite a babe. She has a great set of gams, but she's no Gillian.
[Gillian: I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU!]
Later, Michael talks about how he recognizes that his audience expects to see some of the favorites from LOTD/FOF.
This little snippet introduces the new "Stolen Kiss." Michael says something like he kept it because it'a a favorite, but made it bigger and better with new stuff.
Well, I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with Michael here.
I get the concept, sacred v. profane; love v. lust. It is *beautifullay* and *perfectly" portrayed in Stolen Kiss in LOTD.
But here, Flatley wants to hit us over the head with it, and has, in fact, vulgarized it.
In a nutshell, the two female leads do not measure up to Gillian and Bernadette.
I am a person who had/has ZERO interest in dance until, like millions of others, I happened to catch something called "Riverdance" on PBS a decade ago while channel surfing.
I still have no interest in dance, but I worship the ground Michael Flatley walks on.
LOTD is the greatest artistic creations in decades.
Michael Flatley, and Gillian Norris, dancing forever in my heart!
In addition , his ability to conceive a whole story ( lord of the dance) was wonderful .
My favorite is Lord of the Dance as it has a more magical climate .
Feet of Flames is good , but I had the feeling the cast had been shipped to Disneyland , cleaned up and taught to grin at all times . Even the temptress was imprinted with the grin and the bad guys ( who generated an aura of fear in LotD ), were very huggable & adorable in FoF .
I guess the British wanted a more American / Disney presentation .
The interview with Flatley was very enlightening and now I like him for more than just his dance gifts .
The one big downside is you might try some of the moves ( very infectious music ) and the DVD should come with the warning " Do not try this at home , these are trained professionals , could cause injury to the layman " .
Thank-you Flatley and the entire cast & crew , you made planet earth a bit better place to visit .
Once I corrected the problem, the colors returned, the contrasts were beautiful, and the sound was great. I have two other versions of "Lord of the Dance", an official video tape, and a copy made while watching it on PBS. Of the three versions, I prefer the PBS version. It was done early on, the show was more intimate, in a theater. Since the show has been a success it has turned into a spectacular playing before thousands at a time, as reflected in the dvd presentation.
I love the DVD as it shows how the show has progressed. With the disk played properly the sound, color, and presentation reflects the success of the show.
I highly recommend this dvd because it shows the evolution of the show and it's future. The interveiws with Flatley on the reverse gives both his history, as well as, the future of the show. I believe these recorded presentations are much more enjoyable than attending a presentation because of the access the camera has of the presentation.
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