The "Lord of the Dance" star, who previously announced his retirement from dance in 2011, has been lured back to the stage to perform in a new production, "Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games."
But the 55-year-old admitted the demands of the new routines on his aging limbs has made him realize his own limitations and forced him to accept that his days as a world-class entertainer are numbered.
"I'm nearer the end of this career – there's only so much my body can take. I'd like to think in my heart that I'd never leave the stage because I love it so much. It's part of me, it's part of who I am,” he told The TV Times.
"But I also know that time is knocking on the door. I'm battered and bruised. Can I still dance? I think I can. Can I tap as fast? That's debatable. Can I jump as high? Definitely not. But the passion is there and on a good night it's not half bad.
"I'll continue now through this next world tour until they raise the red flag. When my legs won't do it any more, then we'll take a look at it."
But the Co. Cork-based Irish American insisted he plans to stay involved in Irish dancing by helping others replicate the huge success he enjoyed since he burst on the scene with "Riverdance" 20 years ago.
"My new motivation in life is to take young dancers and turn them into stars. Irish dancers typically start aged four. I started later, but most will only work until they're 19. They win their world title and then where do they go?” Flatley asked.
"If they were a doctor or an engineer they'd know exactly where they'd go after all that training. But if I can create an avenue for these talented young people, they can get on stage and show the world all the hard work they've done."
Flatley, who's married to Niamh O'Brien, said that becoming a father to their son Michael St. James seven years ago changed his perspective on life and made him more content than he had ever been before.
"My whole life is work, work, work – even if I have a day off I'll still work. But I've managed somehow to prioritize spending some time with my beautiful wife and son,” he said.
"Now I can't imagine what my crazy life was like before. I can't imagine how lost I was in the world before they came along."
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