Michael Flatley “sold his soul” by performing at Donald Trump’s inaugural ball, Ireland's top classical soprano Celine Byrne has claimed. In slashing attack on Flatley, Byrne who has performed for popes and president said: "Listen, I know that Michael Flatley went and he got his troupe to perform there. I thought, 'Each to their own, it’s a business and if he wants to make money that way by selling his soul, that’s fine.'"
She said under no circumstances would she perform for President Trump if he came to Ireland. "I have to protect my artistic integrity… I just don’t believe in some of his ideas, let's just put it that way," she said.
She stated Flatley had a unique opportunity to send a message when he performed at the inaugural ball the night before.
"There was an absolutely huge opportunity there through the art form of dance to make a statement or to do something. They could have done that."
"Everybody has seen Centenary (A 1916 dance production) and how beautiful it was and how the story of the 1916 Rising was told through dance and he could have easily told a story in a subtle way through dance when he was over there. It was kind of a wasted opportunity, I think," she said. She was speaking on The Late Late Show, Ireland’s most popular TV program
Flatley has brushed off criticism of his decision to send his dancers. He considers Trump a friend and the mogul turned president has attended his shows.
"We have performed for many presidents," he said. "It is always a great honor to be asked."
Speaking from the stage on the night, Flatley stated: “I am proud to introduce the greatest team of dancers in the world – the cast of Lord of the Dance.
“They’ve come with me all the way from Ireland tonight to celebrate the election of America’s new President Donald Trump.
“May God bless him and guide him… I hope you enjoy the show”
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