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Michael Flatley

Irish America Hall of Fame: Michael Flatley

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Michael Flatley

There’s a really great punch off of it. You can feel the energy. To me, I think it’s very special.
I saw it for the first time finished in a big theater in London two days ago and I came out of there buzzing. As you know I’m my own worst critic. But I think it’s terrific. The dancers look sensational and the whole show has a great feel.

Do you think the film is almost like being at a live show?

Yes it is. You can feel the energy of the audience. We filmed in London, Dublin and Berlin. It’s a seamless transaction. I’m thrilled with it. I hope it will give a big shot in the arm to all of us Irish. 

How involved were you in the filmmaking? Film is a new experience for you.

That’s true, but you know me – I was telling them where to put the cameras, where to shoot the shots. I’m terrible like that! But I have to be. It’s my little baby and it’s what I worked all my life for. So I know how it should look.  I know how to edit it and I know how to shoot it. 

You started dancing again last year after a lengthy retirement from the stage so you could star in the movie. I can see you dancing until you’re 80!

(Laughs) Oh, you know, probably!  I’ll look like an old guy, but I’ll still do it! I really enjoyed coming back. I had a great time. I really wanted to do something in 3D, and I trained eight months for this.

It’s got to be hard to keep yourself at such a peak physical level when you’re performing.

Well, you can’t do it forever.  I’m just blessed to be able to still do it. Can I jump as high as I used to? I doubt it. Can I tap as fast? You know, that’s probably debatable. But my heart doesn’t get any smaller.

Michael Junior must have seen your live shows and loved them!

Yes, he comes running up to me at halftime and says, “Daddy, go off and beat up the bad guy!”

Lord of the Dance has been so phenomenally successful for you.

It is. We are so lucky, less than 20 percent of our audience has any Irish connection now. But our demo is age 5 to 95. It’s all over the place.

What is it about Lord of the Dance and Riverdance that has made them such cultural touchstones?
We are so blessed. I just think the gods were favoring me somehow. The harder we worked for it, the more luck we got. You know yourself, some of our dance numbers, they’re 30 seconds long, but you work on them for hours. It’s not easy, but if you do it right and build it to last then it will last.
I think that both of those shows are built to last.

Where are you living these days? I’ve read that you are based in Beverly Hills.
We were in Beverly Hills for a couple years, but we really didn’t like it. I’m more of a New York guy than an LA guy. Right now we’re living in London  – actually we’re splitting our time between
London and Castlehyde, a place which is heaven on earth. Little Michael rides his little red tricycle up and down those hallways. He has more energy than me!

Is Michael Junior showing any inclination to dance given those amazing genes he has?
Yeah, he definitely has movement there. He’s spinning around the house all the time. Any time any kind of music comes on he’s up on the floor shaking it.  I told him, take up something safer like cage fighting! 

Where will he go to school?
It’s hard to say right now. The big problem is that I just cannot be away from him. I have to be close to him all the time and all my offices and businesses are based in London, so he might have to go to school in London, at least for the first two years. We just don’t know.

What do you make of the death of the Celtic Tiger Irish economy?
Well, it’s been heartbreaking. But money has never been the god of the Irish race. I don’t think a few rotten bankers are going to keep us down. It’s looking tough now, but we’ve gotten up from the canvas many times before.

What is next on your agenda? Your wheels are always turning.
That’s true. A new flute CD should be out by St. Patrick’s Day on iTunes called On a Different Note, and that’s kind of nice.  And we’ll be doing lots of promotion for the film. I’m counting on all of the Irish to come and see it. They won’t be disappointed!

(Visit www.michaelflatley.com for information on advance tickets and showtimes for Lord of the Dance 3D)

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