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New dance show 'a dream come true' for long-in-the-tooth Flatley

Michael Flatley has described his new show's run at the London Palladium as "a dream come true".

The 56-year-old showman is on the cusp of performing what he says will be his last-ever West End shows in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games - a production he says his fan base will find "nearly unrecognisable".

The show features Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle who sings the title track.

Flatley, who rose to fame as a 35-year-old during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest when Riverdance was performed in Dublin in 1994, said he "worked so hard for so many years".

At a sneak preview of his latest show in the central London theatre, he said: "I have, maybe, a handful of dancers that have made it to 30, and probably two that lasted to 35, in my whole 20 years, which should tell you everything.

"To say I'm long in the tooth is an understatement. But I love it. It's who I am. It's what I do. I couldn't get a job. I never could get hired as a dancer so I created my own shows. Once I got past Eurovision we were off to the races."

Flatley, who was born in Chicago, said his focus now is on "creating new young stars".

The dancer, who is no longer associated with Riverdance, described the show as "a blessing", but said he thinks that while it was "fabulous" at the time, it is "outdated" now.

"The average person on the street still sees me as Mister Riverdance," he said.

Flatley said Riverdance and Lord of the Dance are like "day and night". Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is going on a UK and world tour after its run at the Palladium, including dates in Belfast and Dublin, while Riverdance is going on a 20th anniversary UK tour.

Asked if the two shows were going head-to-head, Flatley said: "I don't see that. Going head to head with myself?"

He said he would not consider doing a TV show to find stars for his show in the style of Andrew Lloyd Webber: "I don't like TV".

Flatley said the London Palladium is a venue he has always wanted to play. "It's a dream come true for me," he said.

Derry-born Coyle said it was a "huge honour" to be part of Flatley's show.

The singer said she tried Irish dancing as a child but was put off when she lost at a competition and did not return to the classes.

Coyle (29) gave birth to a baby girl, Anaiya, in January.

Asked if her Girls Aloud bandmates Cheryl, Nicola, Kimberley and Sarah will be coming to watch her perform at the Palladium, she said: "I don't think so." She added that she didn't miss them.

Cheryl wed French restaurateur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in a secret ceremony in July - they were married for a week before it became public knowledge.

Asked about the marriage, Coyle said: "I sent her a wee message to say congratulations. It was a whole whirlwind thing so she must have been just having a ball."

Reflecting on her time in the band, she said she "never wanted that to end".

The band came to an end after they reunited for a 12-date UK tour last year after spending three years on solo projects.

Asked about her own wedding plans, Coyle remained coy.

"My sister's getting married, so it's not all about me. It's all about my sister's wedding. And we're getting dresses and venues and caterers, so it's all about my sister now and then I'll think about getting married one of these days. Maybe."

Coyle, who has had her accent mocked in the past, said she does not get offended by it.

"I can't decide which way I talk," she said. "I really, honestly can't. I was talking to an interviewer from Derry and he said that when he came to London everybody thought he was American.

"My advice to people getting criticism over their accents would be to tell people to mind their own business. Worry about your own accent."

On motherhood, she said: "It's just great. I can't believe I didn't do it sooner. If it's not about Anaiya, it's not on my radar at the minute."

hnews@herald.ie


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