'Lord of the Dance' returns to Columbia

Tuesday, February 3, 2009 | 12:49 p.m. CST; updated 5:27 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 10, 2009

COLUMBIA — Kate Akers, event coordinator for the Central Missouri Celtic Arts Association, plans to take her young daughter to Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance" on Wednesday. Although Akers has seen videos of the "Riverdance" productions, it will be her first time seeing one of Flatley's shows live.

"It is flashier then the typical traditional art form we are used to," Akers said.

If You Go

What: Michael Flatley's "Lord of the Dance"

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Jesse Auditorium, MU

Admission: Tickets can be purchased by calling (573) 882-3781 at


She thinks the production is more of a Hollywood version of Celtic heritage with its extravagant dresses and all the glitter.

"It is a little over the top and not exactly what I think is the best representation of Celtic tradition,” Akers said.

Still, Akers recognizes the positive side of such productions.

“The big shows with dancers and so forth brings Irish/Celtic music to the attention of a much wider audience than we typically serve, which indirectly benefits us because someone might go see 'Lord of the Dance' and then be inspired to see if there is anyone locally who offers Irish music and dance,” she said.

The Central Missouri Celtic Arts Association caters to people with interests in Irish, Scottish and Celtic music, dance, language and culture. It has programs for all ages, including summer camps for kids and summer classes for teens and adults.

"We try hard to make our concerts family friendly with free admission for children," Akers said. "For certain concerts, we provide free student passes to high school music teachers to give to their students.”

Akers, who has been the association's event coordinator since 2001, lets members know about upcoming events such as the "Lord of the Dance," which is part of the University Concert Series.

“They (the concert ) are a wonderful community asset and able to present these big shows that we couldn’t possibly do," she said. "I know lots of our folks attend them, and that’s great."

"Lord of the Dance" first took the stage at Point Theater in Dublin in 1996. This is its 11th consecutive year touring around the world. Based primarily on Irish folklore, it tells the story of the Lord of the Dance defeating Don Dorcha, also known as the Dark Lord. It also engages in the love triangle of Saoirse, the Irish coleen, Morrighan, the temptress and the main character, the Lord of the Dance. The show is in two acts, each with nine scenes.

Kimberly Earnest, assistant director of the University Concert Series, said the last time Flatley appeared at MU was in 2005.

Earnest expects an audience with a mixture of tastes, for dancing, Broadway-style musicals and Celtic music. "There will be a wide variety of people coming," she said.

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