Lord of the Dance: Interviewing the Leads!

Before the opening night of Lord of the Dance: DangerousGames opened at the Sage for a four night run in Newcastle, I headed backstage for Nights Out inNewcastle to interview the Lord of the Dance himself and
Morrighan the Temptress…

NOIN: Hello there! So tell us a little about yourselves
and how you got into dancing.

JK: I’m James Keegan and I’m dancing the role of Lord of the
Dance tonight. I’ve been with the company about 13 years which makes me one of
the longest serving dancers in the company. I started dancing when I was four
years old.

James Keegan and dancers in rehearsal. Photo: Marotiri/Brian Doherty

MM: Hi I’m Mary Mirasola and I’m dancing the role of
Morrighan the Temptress. I only joined the troupe six months ago but I’ve been
dancing since I was about three. I started because my parents were interested
in having a kid that did Irish dancing so they threw me into it and here I am! I’m
a long way from home, I’m originally from America so being away from home can
be a bit tough not seeing your family everyday but we’re all pretty close in
the troupe so we’ve got like our own little family.

Mary Mirasola Image: Lord of the Dance Twitter

NOIN: So why Irish dancing?

JK: I was born in Manchester and both my parents are Irish
and so it was just a part of keeping up family tradition and to our roots.
Within the cast, if you’re not from Ireland you tend to have an Irish
connection somewhere that got you into it. It was really important to keep the
culture going within the family. We did Irish music and dance and then when
Riverdance appeared; it was something for us to aim for professionally.

NOIN: Irish dancing is quite a focused style; do you
dance other styles of dance?

JK: For most of us it’s mostly just Irish dancing because it
is so technical and strenuous that you only really have time to focus on that.
Like with Mary’s parents wanting her to do it, we have seen a huge rise in popularity
for Irish dancing. It’s become so popular now and people just want to get
involved whether they’ve got a connection or not.

MM: I started gymnastics at around the same time as I
started Irish dancing and did it for about 10 years.

NOIN: So what has been the highlight of your careers so

MM: Tonight for me will definitely be one of them. I’m
performing for all my family and friends right here in Newcastle! About 100 of
them or so are coming to see it tonight.

JK: I have loads; I mean I’ve been dancing it for 13 years! When
the show was revamped to Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games in 2014, we opened
in London’s West end, which was just amazing. Then we had a run on Broadway in New
York which was like something from a dream. We’ve toured all over the world
with it and that’s a highlight of the job itself.

NOIN: So James, what was it like being told you’re going
to be dancing the part of Lord of the Dance?

JK: Oh it’s such an honour. It’s a massive role and big
shoes to fill so you do feel a lot of pressure. But I am really proud of it, I
watched it as a kid and never thought I’d be in the show let alone be the Lord
himself. You do have to pinch yourself sometimes but you also have to remember
to enjoy it! It’s a great feeling coming out to supportive crowds every night.
It’s such a good buzz!

NOIN: And for you Mary, performing in your hometown! Is
it more pressure than a normal night?

MM: No, I’m not letting the pressure get to me, I’m really
excited! I think I’ll perform a bit better in front of people that I know and
people that have seen me throughout the years working hard to get up there on
that stage. A lot of my family have seen me perform before, but they’ve never
seen me perform lead so tonight is a really big night for me!

NOIN: So tell us a bit more about life on tour!

JK: Well this is a four-month tour and we perform six days a
week. It’s pretty tiring but fun. We travel as a troup and we’re all friends so
it’s not so bad being on the road together. Today was a travel day, so we were
on the bus for three hours, grabbed lunch and now we’re marking up for this new
stage here in the Sage. As we’re here for the next few days we’ll have some
time to ourselves to go out in the city.

NOIN: So tell us a little bit about the lifestyle of a
dancer, what’s your diet and training regime like?

JK: We travel a lot so it’s mostly common sense. We’re often
in cities so we’ll stop for food at chains like Nando’s or Wagamama’s where we
can get something fairly healthy to eat.  As for training, it’s quite hard on the body.
We have to do a lot of stretching, ice baths. We call them ‘Ice Beasts’ – just
a massive ice bucket that we stand in up to our waist for about ten minutes,
theyre horrible but we need to do them to take the inflammation down. They’re
such a big help!

MM: Yeah, you can really feel the difference the next day
once you’ve taken one of the ‘Ice Beasts’. The hardest part is definitely just
making sure to take care of yourself all the time.

NOIN: Okay, so you’re professional dancers, surely you’re
going out on the Toon and putting others to shame whilst you’re here?

JK: The girls might but I’m definitely not going to! I’m
actually useless at dancing any other type! I’m really not a mover on the dance
floor, I’m the exact opposite! Bit like a robot!

MM: It depends if people ask! I think us girls will let
loose and enjoy it a bit more than the boys will!

NOIN: So you’re here in Newcastle for the next few days…
what are your plans?

JK: Over to Mary she’s the local!

MM: We’re going to go down to Grey Street and do a bit of
shopping! Take a little walk down the Quayside. I wish I could take them to the
Quayside market on Sunday but sadly we’ll be gone by then! My favourite places
to go for a night out in Newcastle is Lady Grey’s, it has great beer and a
lovely atmosphere!

And with that we let them get back to their rehearsal whilst
we collected our tickets ahead of the show!

A huge thank you to James Keegan and Mary Mirasola for
taking the time out of their rehearsal for this interview! Check out the review
of their performance here.

Don’t forget to follow me below!

 S x

*This post was written by me as a guest blogger for Nights out in Newcastle but I have reblogged it back to my own blog for my own purposes.*

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