Sunday Life

| 6.1°C Belfast

The world at her feet

Sports lecturer Lynsey's joy at late call-up for lord of the dance

Close

TWINKLE TOES: Lynsey Smyth

TWINKLE TOES: Lynsey Smyth

Liam McBurney/RAZORPIX

TWINKLE TOES: Lynsey Smyth

An Irish dancer's feet haven't touched the ground since she landed her dream job with Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.

Champion dancer, personal trainer and sports lecturer Lynsey Smyth (26), from Newtownards, toured Taiwan for a month with the show alongside her brother Connor.

Close

IN THE BLOOD: Lynsey and Connor

IN THE BLOOD: Lynsey and Connor

IN THE BLOOD: Lynsey and Connor

 

The entertainment phenomenon, which thrust the pursuit into the global spotlight, is every aspiring Irish dancer's dream.

Lynsey, who has been dancing since the age of four, comes from a family of talented dancers.

Her sister Lauren (31) is with Riverdance and Connor (30) has been with Lord of the Dance for seven years.

Lynsey's big chance came last September when she applied via an online audition to join the show for a month-long tour of Covid-free Taiwan.

She could not believe her luck when she got through and was one of 90 dancers who performed in eight stadiums in five cities across six days during November and December.

"I was in tears when I heard. I couldn't believe it. Hundreds of dancers applied and I felt so honoured to be chosen," she recalls.

"My sister and brother were both with me when the news came through, which made it even more emotional.

"I'd been training really hard in the gym and practising my dancing for the World Championships in April, which was cancelled because of Covid.

"It all seemed to have been a waste, but then this chance came up and made the hard work worthwhile.

"The audition involved learning a number from the show that the creative director shared on Zoom.

"I then had two weeks to practise and perfect the routine and put together my audition video. This meant I had to have full hair and make-up and perform as if I were in the show.

"I really couldn't believe it when I was offered the job. It all happened so quickly. Only a month later, I was at the airport on my way to Taiwan."

With the island currently Covid-free, the Taiwanese authorities have introduced strict entry rules.

Close

EASTERN PROMISE: Lynsey at one of the auditoriums the show visited in Taiwan

EASTERN PROMISE: Lynsey at one of the auditoriums the show visited in Taiwan

EASTERN PROMISE: Lynsey at one of the auditoriums the show visited in Taiwan

 

Lynsey had to have a virus test before boarding the plane and again on arrival. She then had to isolate alone in a hotel room for two weeks.

During this time, she received daily texts from the local government, checking to see if she had symptoms. If she failed to answer a message, she risked getting a call from the police.

intense

"I got through the two weeks okay - we had lots of Zoom classes with the choreographers. I was so relieved to test negative... it could have all ended at the airport," Lynsey says.

"Once the two weeks were up, it was very full-on and crazy. The touring schedule was intense. Some days were spent on a bus travelling, or we would have been in rehearsals, but we also had downtime to explore the cities.

"There was a lot to do before a show. Typically, we marked everyone's positions on the stage as this can change from night to night. We then would do our warm-up, our hair and make-up, before putting on our costumes.

"Once the show was over, we did a cool-down, before going back to the hotel or travelling to the next destination.

"With the show being off the road for the best part of a year, the atmosphere from the crowds was electric.

"The cast were back together, doing what they loved and appreciating the moment even more. The audiences were amazing. Our biggest was 15,000 people. Because of the way we have all been living with social distancing, it felt fantastic.

"On the last night, I got to do an extra dance and was side-by-side in the line-up with my brother, which was amazing."

Close

The cast of Lord of the Dance

The cast of Lord of the Dance

The cast of Lord of the Dance

 

Lynsey works as a lecturer at the Bangor campus of South Eastern Regional College, which gave her a month's leave for the tour.

She started training aged four at the St Patrick's School of Irish Dance in Newtownards, before transferring to the Reilly School in Bangor in her teens and Belfast's Armstrong School of Irish Dancing in her early 20s.

As a teenager, she won six Northern Irish championship titles and was Ulster champion five times.

Today, after getting to dance in front of thousands of people in Taiwan, her sights are set on the global stage.

"The future is uncertain for performing arts because of the Covid-19 pandemic," Lynsey admits.

"For now, I'm staying on top of my mental and physical health to ensure that when the time comes, I'll be ready."

n For information on South Eastern Regional College, visit serc.ac.uk

Sunday Life


Privacy