Friday 9 December 2016

Michael Flatley reveals his body has taken a 'severe beating' as he retires from dance

Published 18/03/2016 | 07:26

Michael Flatley – recipient of The American Ireland Fund Arts & Humanities Award with Kieran McLoughlin and John Fitzpatrick.
Michael Flatley – recipient of The American Ireland Fund Arts & Humanities Award with Kieran McLoughlin and John Fitzpatrick.
Michael Flatley
(L-R) Dancer/choreographer Michael Flatley, son Michael St. James Flatley and wife Niamh O'Brien attend the "Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games" Broadway opening night at the Lyric Theatre on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/WireImage)

Michael Flatley has said his body has taken a "severe beating" as he prepares to retire from dancing this evening.

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Speaking after receiving an award from the American Ireland Fund in Washington DC, he said he had given "every last drop" of what he has to dancing ahead of his final performance in Lord Of The Dance in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas tonight.

(L-R) Dancer/choreographer Michael Flatley, son Michael St. James Flatley and wife Niamh O'Brien attend the
(L-R) Dancer/choreographer Michael Flatley, son Michael St. James Flatley and wife Niamh O'Brien attend the "Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games" Broadway opening night at the Lyric Theatre on November 10, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/WireImage)

"It has been a great 20 years," he said.

"I would like to think the good times have outweighed the bad times, but sometimes I wonder.

"My body has taken a severe beating."

Flatley (58) said he had both his shoulders replaced and his knees, while he also needs "a lot of work" on his spine.

"It's been severe, but I wouldn't trade it for the world," he added.

Flatley said it was a great honour to take his shows on tour.

"We've sold out every major performance venue from Tokyo to Texas and from Mexico to Moscow," he said.

"We've entertained people from all over the world, and I'm proud to say I brought the tricolour with me everywhere.

"As I finish in Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas I can honestly say, hand on heart in front of God, that I have given every last drop of what I have to my art and to Ireland."

Flatley received the Arts and Humanities Award from the philanthropic organisation.

He also took the opportunity to pay tribute to his parents, "without whom I would be nothing".

Also on the night, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Paul Ryan presented his predecessor John Boehner with a Leadership Award.

Senator Tim Kaine and US union chief Terry O'Sullivan also received awards.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was scheduled to speak at the event in Washington, but could not attend due to EU meetings regarding the migrant crisis.

Herald

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