Kultur // 1999 // 72 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // April 26th, 2005
Celtic legend's most passionate and enduring love story.
"Her soul seems to dance with another."
Look up and take a gander at the cover for Dancing on Dangerous Ground. Not knowing anything about this disc, when I saw that cover and read the title, my mind immediately concluded this disc would be about the Lambada or maybe salsa dancing. Don't you agree? The guy looks vaguely Latino; the woman is wearing a long, flowing red dress; and the background is also a hot red. Combine that with the word "dangerous," and my mind thinks of the Lambada: the forbidden dance! But then I took a closer look at the packaging and learned that it has no Latino inspiration at all; in fact, it's Celtic dancing. ¡Qué sorpresa!
On December 6, 1999, Dancing on Dangerous Ground premiered in London's Drury Lane Theatre. This production was put together by two former stars of Riverdance, Colin Dunne and Jean Butler. It tells the story of Diarmuid (Dunne), Grania (Butler), Finn McCool, and their love triangle. Finn McCool is the Celtic warlord of the Fianna Army, his trusted friend and lieutenant is Diarmuid, and Grania is Finn's betrothed. In true epic fashion, as the wedding day nears for the older Finn and young Grania, fate brings Diarmuid and Grania together, and they fall in love. The rest of the tale unfolds in the agony of love found, love lost, and betrayal.
This disc shows one of their performances in front of a live audience.
I must admit that the Celtic-dancing craze passed me by, so I cannot compare Dancing on Dangerous Ground to either Riverdance or Lord of the Dance. What I can tell you is that the show featured on Dancing on Dangerous Ground is energetic, fun, and filled with an incredible array of vibrant, talented dancers who are backed up by a wonderful medley of Irish music. While I'm not a fan of this type of entertainment, I enjoyed this new experience. From that I extrapolate that any fan of the genre would find this performance to be excellent.
The one thing I did not enjoy about this experience is how the story is told. Dancing on Dangerous Ground has no dialogue between characters and minimal "voiceover" from Finn McCool. The story is told almost entirely through dance -- specifically, the titles of the dances. So, as we progress along on the disc, a subtitle pops up with the name of the next segment/dance. That's how we follow the story. I think I would have enjoyed some actual dialogue to propel things. As a result, I found myself becoming a bit bored of the constant dancing by the end. I can only digest so much spinning, stomping, and clicking.
Also included on the disc is an excellent and informative documentary about the pre-production of Dancing on Dangerous Ground. It's called "Dare to Dance" (50 minutes) and follows from early rehearsals to opening night. I enjoy watching in-depth behind-the-scenes featurettes, and this one fits the bill. I also believe that any fan of this show will appreciate the additional information contained therein.
Transfers on this disc are very good. The full-frame video captures the performance nicely. Colors are accurate, blacks are deep, and details are abundant. Because the performance occurs on a wide stage, logically it should have been presented in widescreen. I have a slight quibble about the default Dolby Digital 5.0 mix. From my limited experience, the highlight of these grand Celtic dances is the large groups of dancers dancing in unison. They all stomp and click their shoes to create a loud rhythm that washes over the viewer. Since this is a DD 5.0 track, the subwoofer channel is missing and so is that pounding of their feet. That really should be here. But, beyond that, the mix is solid without any hiss or errors. Also of note: While the packaging states a running time of 127 minutes and Amazon.com states 160 minutes, the actual running time of the show is only 72 minutes.
I strongly recommend this disc to fans of Celtic dance. It's a solid package of a robust performance.
Review content copyright © 2005 Eric Profancik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 72 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "Dare to Dance" Documentary