Michael Flatley is as ready as he’ll ever be for his latest stage comeback, as he opens his new Lord of the Dance tour, with himself as the lead, this week in Belfast.
Flatley, now 52, says he’s not in the least bit worried that age has slowed him down, and fans will be as thrilled as they always have with his world-famous dancing feet.
“I don’t see age as a problem,” Flatley told the Sunday Express in London. “Fifty is the new 30. Let’s be honest about this; now I’m older there are certain things I can’t tackle. One thing I am doing is preparing for the show much earlier. There’s no way I can it do it all in a couple of months any more.
“I keep myself at striking distance to fully fit, I never let myself go. People will not expect me to be a Rudolf Nureyev, but I’m planning to lift the roof off those arenas anyway.”
There’s no doubt he will, as Michael is a singular expert on giving his fans exactly what they want. His Lord of the Dance continues to tour the world, and next year marks the 15th anniversary since the show’s debut in Dublin.
Michael will tour with the show until early December. His travels will also take him to Dublin for three shows at the O2 Arena next month, several dates throughout the U.K., and Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Who knows, maybe the Chicago native will thrill fans on this side of the Atlantic and celebrate the show’s 15th birthday with an engagement on this side of the pond.
Michael and his wife Niamh, together with their three-year-old son Michael Junior, live for most of the year at their restored mansion, Castlehyde, in Co. Cork. Little Michael, if his dad gets his way, will eventually head to England for his education.
“My wife has already contacted Hill House public school. I want him to speak with the confidence that comes with the right education and I don’t think he would get it in America,” said Michael, who also extolled the virtues of the famous British boarding schools Eton and Harrow.
Though Michael has always proudly worn his Irishness on his sleeve – his parents emigrated to Chicago from counties Carlow and Sligo – he wants his namesake to emulate Britain’s Prince Charles.
“I sat next to Prince Charles and Camilla at a dinner and you couldn’t meet nicer people in the world. He spoke with charisma, understated and glamorous at the same time. It’s my dream that Michael ends up like him,” Michael told the Express.
Hmmmmm . . . anyway, Michael seems to be happy with life these days, and will no doubt be much happier once he hears the roar of his fan base live and in person yet again. Being happily married has also added to his joy, he says.
“God has really smiled on me. Every Friday evening Niamh and I dress up to the nines for dinner, and I take my wife to our formal dining room in Castlehyde. I pour her a glass of red wine and put on Frank Sinatra and we dance. That’s the best dance of my life, and I’ll do that every Friday evening until the day I die,” he promises.