Saturday 7 December 2019

Dance icon now lord of the exhibit

'Living legend' Flatley takes place beside showbiz greats

Michael McHale

HE made his name as a show-stopping performer with the world's fastest feet. Now, Irish-American Michael Flatley has been honoured with a special exhibit.

Arriving at the new display in Newbridge, the dancer, who made his name after appearing in the 1994 Eurovision interval act with 'Riverdance', was clearly taken aback by the honour of being recognised alongside greats in music and movies.

Beside his own exhibit, which includes famous jackets and shoes he wore around the world throughout his career on stage, are special homages to the likes of Michael Jackson, Elvis, the Beatles, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.

And while they all include famous memorabilia that they amassed throughout their careers, Flatley's display is the only one of a living performer.

He is also the only one to have a world record plaque included in his collection -- for his mesmerising feat of tapping 35 times in a single second.

The objects will remain at Newbridge Silverware's Museum of Style Icons in the Kildare town for an indefinite period, and it's hoped the dancer will add to the collection.

Arriving in the area for the launch, Mr Flatley was greeted by young Irish dancers from the Leinster School of Dance, with whom he was suitably impressed.


Calling the organisers' decision to include him in the museum "extraordinary and a tremendous honour", Flatley admitted finding it hard to part with some of his old outfits. "I'm used to giving away most of my costumes for charity auctions around the world. I'm just delighted we had the best ones left," he explained.

"Some of those have been with me all over the world."

Despite battling a mysterious illness four years ago that doctors put down to burnout, the 52-year-old is now back on stage with a sold-out world tour of 'Lord of the Dance'.

Flatley remained coy when asked if he was back to his foot-tapping best. "We'll find out (during the tour)," he said, "but I certainly feel able for it."

The visitor centre's museum yesterday also celebrated a complete revamp of its facilities.

Newbridge Silverware's William Doyle said, "Michael is a living legend. His phenomenal success in bringing Irish dance to the world will guarantee him a place in history."

After kicking off his tour in Belfast on Thursday, Flatley will perform in Sheffield, England, tonight before heading back to Ireland for shows in Dublin's O2 on November 13, 14, and 16.

The Newbridge exhibition is open seven days a week and entrance is free.

Irish Independent

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