Michael Flatley honoured after phenomenal career comes to an end
Irish dance legend Michael Flatley has taken a look back at his pioneering 20 year career and admitted: “It’s been tough.”
The Chicago born star helped to make Irish dance famous all over the world in 1994 when he broke onto the scene as the star of Riverdance.
Flatley, along with co-star Jean Butler and a hugely talented team of backing dancers were only supposed to keep the crowd warm while the scores were being totted up during the Eurovision Song Contest.
Instead they stole the show. The audience were stunned by the fantastic performance and Flatley never looked back.
His career has taken him on tour across several different countries and he has performed in some of the most famous venues in the world.
At the end of his career he realised one final ambition – to perform on Broadway, which he calls the ‘greatest place on Earth’.
On the eve of his final show (at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas) he was honoured by the American Ireland Fund in Washington at the 24th St Patrick’s Day gala.
The ceremony included a message from Taoiseach Enda Kenny who said Flatley was ‘the most famous Irish dancer of all time and undoubtedly the greatest’.
Flatley gave an interview saying: “It’s been tough. I like to think the good times have outweighed the bad times but sometimes I wonder.”
He talked about the strain the two decades of dancing has had on his body, which include broken bones, torn muscles and ruptured tendons – but it was all worth it.
He said: “It’s been severe but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s been my great honour these last 20 years to do what I do. We have brought Irish culture to the four corners of the globe.”
Although Flatley has recently sold his mansion in Co Cork, he is looking for a smaller place in Ireland, where he hopes to spend a lot of time now he has retired.
He said: “I’m looking forward to spending a bit more time with my wife and son in Ireland.
“I only get there maybe two weeks a year and I would dearly love to spend more time there.”
It seems appropriate to take another look at the classic performance that started everything rolling – the 1994 Eurovision show.
Take a look at the video below.
Take a look at Flatley’s last ever TV perfomance – on Britain’s Got Talent in 2015.