A STAR-STRUCK KID REMEMBERS
DANCER James Keegan is forever being thanked by parents for meeting their children at the stage door after a performance of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.
But for the Manchester-born performer who started Irish dance lessons at age four, it does not feel very long ago that he was in their shoes, meeting his idol Michael Flatley.
“Both of my parents are from Ireland and I had four older sisters who all danced, so they sent me along with my youngest sister Louise,” Keegan said. “I didn’t take to it straight away but the first trophy popped up, then a bigger trophy and then when I was eight years old, I saw Michael Flatley perform on the Eurovision Song Contest and then in Lord of the Dance two years after that.
“All of a sudden there was this end goal of becoming professional; instead of dancing as a hobby, there was this dream about one day going on tour.”
Keegan first met Flatley when he was 10 years old and Lord of the Dance toured Manchester, where he remembers the Irish dance superstar “signed my book and gave me a pat on the head”.
Six years later, Keegan became the youngest principal dancer to take on Flatley’s original role as The Lord in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.
“It was more about pinching myself that it was really happen- ing than feeling any nerves,” Keegan said. “It’s such an honour.”
Keegan, who runs The Keegan Academy of Irish Dancing, has toured with the troupe since and will celebrate his 29th birthday in Perth next month during the Crown Theatre season.
He said Flatley, who created, directed and choreographed Dangerous Games, had retained the strong values and signature dancing in a straight line the original Lord of the Dance was famous for.
“The storyline is also quite similar; it still has the love story with good versus evil but now the Dark Lord is trying to make the Spirit’s dream a nightmare,” Keegan said. “The dream is 20 years on so it’s a little bit different to the first dream she had. “There’s some dancing robots, a lot more colourful costumes and lights, different choreography and different technology. Michael is always willing to see what new technology is out there, so there are definitely a few surprises.”
Community Newspaper Group has 10 double passes to give away to Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. Enter at www.communitynews.com.au before August 24.
James Keegan (centre) in LordoftheDance.