On the Tip of her Toes on the Top of the World – Easter 1998

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It was not until 1994 after Riverdance appeared on the Eurovision Song Contest as an interval act that Irish dancing actually presented its energy to the world.

Until then there was only the occasional feis at the weekend or a talent show if you were lucky.  So, one may ask why I ever thought of taking up dancing.  The answer comes easily; I have always loved traditional music and dance – even at a young age, and my teachers always played a good variety of reels, jigs, hornpipes and sets to add variety and interest.

I was never pushed into dancing, neither by my parents nor my teachers and if I didn’t want to work at it that was my choice.  Mum and Dad always made sure I had the best of equipment to enjoy dancing.  They provided the very best dance shoes, fantastic costumes and a dance floor of my very own.  Dad knew I would need a floor with a bit of ‘give’ in it in order to reduce the risk of injury and simulate the floors provided at competition level so I had my very own floor at home which was raised six inches above the ordinary floor.

From a very early age I loved dancing.  My feet were always tapping away, whether it was under the kitchen table at mealtime, under the desk at school, or (I’m reliably informed) even when I’m asleep in bed.  As there was never any pressure put on me to “perform” and do well at competitions, I always enjoyed them and even more so when I would come home with some gold medals, a cup or trophy, and a head of ringlets like you wouldn’t believe!

Mum and I often came home from a feis at five o’clock in the morning and I’d still manage to be in school that same day.  That’s the commitment that helped to get me dancing with Michael Flatley in “Lord of the Dance.”

My time with “Lord of the Dance” is laced with nothing but fantastic memories.  I’ve been to so many places that I could never afford to go to in a million years and made so many friends from all over the world.

From the first time I met him at the auditions in Dublin, Michael Flatley always treated me exceptionally well.  He even knew who I was before I auditioned and that made my day.  Despite what people think, hear and read, Michael is a really nice person.  He may be my boss but for the past year and half but he has never acted like one with me or with any other member of the company.  I’ve always felt like I belong to the show and deserve to be in it, and that is due to the fact that Michael has been so good to me and sure, maybe I’m not such a bad dancer either!

One of the highlights of being with “Lord of the Dance” has got to be the performance we gave at the 69th Annual Academy Awards Ceremony, held in Hollywood, in March 1997.  Being able to say you met and shook hands with Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Celine Dion, Billy Crystal, Nicole Kidman and Madonna (to name but a few) is nice, isn’t it.  It’s an experience I will never forget.

There are so many people 1 would like to thank for helping me get this far in my career, but most of all 1 would especially like to thank my parents, Peggy and Philip Farrell, for all their help and hard work down through the years.  They helped me realise my dreams and who knows what lies in store for me around the corner.

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About this record

Written by Attracta Farrell

Published here 26 Mar 2023 and originally published Easter 1997

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