Flynn has played the Irish Colleen in Lord of the Dance, since the show
opened in 1996. Almost 500 shows later, she has traveled the world and
danced opposite Michael Flatley until he left in June 98. We caught
up with Bernadette in Tel Aviv, Israel, where Troupe I were performing
to packed audiences once again.
often get recognized when you are away from the theatre?
People do recognize me as one of the Lord of the Dance and ask what
part I played. I say the one in the white dress and they say Ooo!
get lots of media attention?
so much when Michael was in the show, but now we are promoting it
ourselves, we do more interviews and television wherever we go.
you socialize with the rest of the troupe?
the troupe are very close, but you have to be because you are working
so closely together.
have a boyfriend?
my boyfriend is Damien O'Kane, the 'good guy' in the show.
you know each other before Lord Of The Dance?
of knew him from around the competitions. It was like that with lots
of the people who are now in the show. We all got to know each other
through Lord Of The Dance. Damien and I have been together two years
it like to be dancing opposite your boyfriend?
easier because we know each other so well, and there's obvious chemistry.
you must have days when you don't want to be on the same stage together...
just have to put that aside. The minute you step on stage, you're
a different character. It's part of the job. You have to be professional.
have to watch what you eat, to stay slim and have enough energy?
eat carefully for health reasons.We have caterers who travel with
us. I only have a sandwich for lunch and eat at the venue at about
5:30 pm. The caterers have been with us so long that it's just like
home cooking. We never have burgers and chips, or things like that,
but usually have chicken or beef or good vegetables.
you ever been injured?
I was injured during the Making of the Lord Of The Dance video, when
I pulled the ligaments in my feet by landing badly. I was off for
a month and a half, but luckily there's been nothing since. We have
a very strict stretching session to prevent injuries. Also one of
the girls is a fully trained aerobics teacher and we have an aerobics
session about every third day.
have a physio traveling with each troupe?
is a traveling masseuse, but we use the local physios provided at
you were involved with the show from the beginning, did you help to
design your costumes?
Michael designed all the costumes. He would come up with an idea and
ask if we thought we could dance in it, but everything was down to
mine. They are mainly white and gold and I have a different costume
for every dance. We've just had a new dress which you might have seen
on the video. It's much more like an Irish dancing costume you would
wear for a competition.
many costumes do you have?
have two sets of costumes and they get replaced regularly. The wardrobe
staff wash everything everyday and if there's a tear it will be replaced.
I had all new costumes for Hyde Park so I still have them.
things changed since Michael left the show?
he has retired from dancing in the show, Michael is still very, very
involved. He is always thinking of something new to add. He was a
very hard taskmaster and it is important to him that the standard
of the show is kept just as high as it was when he was dancing. He
is such a genius and we miss his presence and his charisma. We've
worked very hard because we want Michael to be proud of us.
has Damien managed, taking on Michael's lead role?
done really well. He'd had experience playing the lead with Troupe
2, but it was difficult for him to take Michael's place. The troupe
and the audience had to adjust. As Damien had just been one of us
before, everyone was behind him.
often does Michael visit your troupe now?
to see us in Paris, and spoke to us afterwards to check if we wanted
anything and that everything was okay. He was meant to see us in Israel
but work commitments meant he couldn't make it. He trusts us enough
to work without him.
you ever think you would be doing what you are doing?
had no idea I would get a lead role. Gillian and I just went along
to the auditions just hoping to get in. We both went into Lord of
the Dance as backline dancers. We'd only seen Michael Flatley in Riverdance
and when we had to meet, it was like "Michael Flatley, oh my
After the auditions we went to the rehearsals and were just learning
the dances and steps. At this stage, we hadn't been given a storyline.
It was very, very difficult to get used to using our hands as well.
One day we all had to dance using our hands, and Gillian and I began
to stand out. After two weeks we stepped into our roles as good girl
and bad girl and started to arrive early to rehearse and left late.
It was all unsaid for a while, but then we were told we were to take
the lead roles in the Point in Dublin. We were told it could last
a day, a week, a month or maybe even years!
was the hardest thing to learn?
the show was so hard. Grasping the steps, especially those in the
Encore, was extremely difficult. Sometimes Michael would suggest things
that we just couldn't do. The hardest steps were things like Back
clicks and hand clasps at the same time. We did our solos ourselves
so we chose things we were confident with, so there were no problems
this come as surprise as you were already a World Champion Dancer?
had most of the world champions there, from my age group up, so I
could see that they couldn't do the steps either and it wasn't just
me. There's a huge difference between competitive and show dancing.
There is never a time when it all just stops. There are always extra
bits to add in everyday. That's what we love about it.
I'm Dance Captain as well now, which means I'm under pressure to keep
everything up to standard. I will ring Maire Duffy every two to three
days to report on any injuries, how the dancers are performing, etc.
Maire Duffy has the three troupes to look after, that's about 150
taught you to dance?
with Dorian Brown from Tippeary. We are all still very close, it was
a one on one relationship, that is why I got on so well.
have achieved so much already. What are you most proud of?
Hyde Park video. I was very, very happy with that. Going to the Oscars
was incredible, too. We met loads of stars like Celine Dion, Madonna,
and Jim Carrey.
the best place you've been to so far?
Africa. It was beautiful and the people were very, very nice. The
best place for the show is Ireland and it's especially great for me
as I'm Irish. Hyde Park was the best performance.
do you cope with being constantly on tour?
your life and your job. It can be very tiring when you are constantly
moving and booking into hotel rooms which then become your home for
the next two or three days. You do miss home, but we do five months
then go home for two weeks.
flexibility for a wedding, etc?
how far away from home you are, but usually there is. I really love
traveling and I've been all over the world.
get a chance to go sight-seeing?
moment we have a very very busy schedule, so there's not much time
to go sight seeing or to sit on the balcony in the sun. Here we are
doing 11 shows in 9 days. Next we're off to Jerusalem for 4 shows
in 3 days, and in Hyfa, they've added an extra 2 shows.
is it like performing in Israel?
different because we usually do arena shows but here it's more of
a theater. The audience are really varied, lots of famous people,
but lots of others, too, and of all ages. The tickets were all sold
out very quickly. We were apprehensive about how the show would be
received, both here and when we went to South Africa. These countries
have very different cultures and languages, but it has been amazing.
In fact we have been better received than when we went to some places
in the UK and US, because the show is just so different here.
Copyright © 1999. Velvetd
Web Design. All rights reserved.
for information about page content and design
Last updated on August 29, 1999.