MICHAEL RYAN FLATLEY (born July 16, 1958) is an American dancer, choreographer, and musician. He became internationally known for Irish dance shows Riverdance , Lord of the Dance , Feet of Flames , and Celtic Tiger .
* 1 Early life
* 2 Career
* 2.1 Early career * 2.2 Riverdance * 2.3 Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames * 2.4 Celtic Tiger * 2.5 Return to the stage * 2.6 A Night to Remember * 2.7 The Irish Post Awards * 2.8 Other awards and achievements
* 3 Personal life * 4 References * 5 External links
Flatley is a native of the South Side of
He began dancing lessons at age 11 and at age 17 was the first
American to secure a World Irish Dance title at the World Irish Dance
Championships, the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne. He is also an
accomplished flautist , having won twice in the All-Ireland Fleadh
Flatley was taught dance by Dennis Dennehy at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance in Chicago, then went on to produce his own show. After graduating from Brother Rice High School, on Chicago's Southwest Side, he opened a dance school, but later closed it down to focus on performing.
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Main article: Riverdance
According to Flatley, he created and choreographed the original Riverdance and led the show to great success as the intermission act in the Eurovision Song Contest staged in Ireland on April 30, 1994. The performance in the Eurovision Song Contest was produced by Moya Doherty. She is married to co-founder of Riverdance, John McColgan, and she is regarded as one of the richest women in Ireland, with an estimated fortune of £42 million. The finale piece was co-choreographed by dance partner Jean Butler with Flatley himself. Jean was his partner in a famous video clip. The response was so explosive that it was extended into a full show, starring Butler and Flatley.
The show toured throughout 1995. Later, in the eve of the show's first full-length run in London, Flatley learned he had been replaced by the show producers due to conflicts over creative control; he and the producers had been in negotiations. The producers refused his terms, so he refused to perform, and then the producers, according to the producers, replaced him with Colin Dunne at the last minute, on October 1995. Dunne was already employed by the producers for other skits below the feature and finale. Butler left the show in 1997, although it continued its success and inspirations.
Despite this, Flatley is still credited as original choreographer in all Riverdance shows.
LORD OF THE DANCE AND FEET OF FLAMES
Shortly after the
Riverdance split, Flatley created Lord of the Dance
, which played mostly in arenas and stadiums instead of traditional
theaters. . The show premiered in the
3Arena of Dublin (then named as
"The Point") then it made its U.K. premiere in
An expanded version of the show called Feet of Flames premiered in 1998, with a performance at the Route of Kings section of London's Hyde Park . The 1998 show featured six new numbers; one of which is Flatley's solo, a tall stage with multi-level tiers, and a live band. Later in 1999, he produced another version of that show with 50% differences from the 1998 show. Titled Feet of Flames: The Victory Tour, he toured Europe in 2000 and the U.S. in 2001. He formed another group after that, retiring in 2016. He held a world record of the number of taps per second.
In 2006, Flatley released his own autobiographical book titled Lord of the Dance: My Story. Regarding his future, Flatley was quoted in the Celtic Tiger program book as saying, "I will be a dancer until the day I die".
In 2007, The Freedom of the City of Cork was conferred on Flatley at
a ceremony in Cork's City Hall. In 2008, he was conferred with the
Freedom of the Borough of
In fall 2007, Flatley and a troupe of male dancers performed on
Dancing with the Stars
RETURN TO THE STAGE
Flatley returned to the stage in 2009 for a limited run of the "Hyde
Park" version of
Feet of Flames in
In 2010, he returned to headline the Lord of the Dance show, with
performances in arenas across
Also in 2010, Flatley launched The Garden of Music and Memory in
In 2011, he was inducted into Irish America magazine's Irish America Hall of Fame .
Flatley released a flute album titled On A Different Note in 2011. The 25 tracks include airs and tunes he has played in his shows, other traditional tunes, and new compositions.
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
On May 18, 2014, Flatley recorded a one-off 60 minute special entitled Michael Flatley: A Night to Remember celebrating his long career. The show aired on June 1, 2014 and was presented by Christine Bleakley .
THE IRISH POST AWARDS
On October 24, 2013, Flatley attended The Irish Post Awards on Park Lane where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognise the impact of his career as a global dance superstar and entrepreneur.
OTHER AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS
In December 2001, Flatley became the first recipient of the Irish
Dancing Commission Fellowship award, an honorary degree in Irish
dance, and was also made a Fellow of the American Irish Dance
Irish America magazine named Flatley Irish
American of the Year in March 2003. In 2004, Flatley received an
honorary doctorate degree from
University College Dublin
In 2017 Flatley performed at the inauguration of Donald Trump .
In 2003, an allegation was made by real estate agent Tyna Marie
Robertson that Flatley had raped her in 2002 at a
In April 2006, Flatley spoke about his discovery of a facial skin cancer.
At the 10th anniversary of Lord of the Dance in June 2006, Flatley
was accompanied by dancer Niamh O'Brien, who dances with him in Celtic
Tiger. O'Brien had danced with Flatley in
Riverdance , Lord of the
Dance , and
Feet of Flames before they shared the stage in Celtic
Tiger . The two shortly thereafter announced that they were dating,
and were married in a Roman Catholic ceremony in
On November 15, 2006, Flatley was admitted to a private London hospital with a viral infection. All the fall and winter tours of his latest production, Celtic Tiger , were cancelled. He was discharged two weeks later.
He and his wife, Niamh Flatley have a son, Michael St. James, born in 2007.
On May 23, 2015, Flatley was interviewed by
Graham Norton for his BBC
Radio 2 show and revealed that he had problems with various bones,
including the T1 and T5 , the C3 , the L5 vertebrae and the Sacroiliac
joint in his spine, a damaged left knee, a torn right calf muscle ,
two ruptured Achilles tendons , a fractured rib , and a broken bone in
his foot . He confirmed that he planned to retire at the end of 2015,
with his last scheduled appearance in
* ^ A B C Slater, Sarah. "