Monday, 30 November -0001

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: MICHAEL FLATLEY

…is an Irish-American step dancer & choreographer, best known for his Riverdance & Lord Of The Dance shows. He set his first Guinness World Record for a tapping speed of 28 taps per second, & went on to break his own record with 35 taps per second

Written by Melonie
What are you working on?
Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games. One of the reasons I’m still dancing is to bring super talent through the door and let them shine.

When are you at your happiest?
When I have Sunday brunch with my wife and son.

What is your greatest fear?
To be lying on my death bed, thinking, ‘Jeez! I wish I had done that, why didn’t I just try it? Why didn’t I just go for it?

What is your earliest memory?
I’m trying to remember where I left my keys this morning! The first thing I remember is staying with my grandmother in County Carlow. She was a champion dancer herself. I was four years old and couldn’t really dance but she held my hand and took me through the steps.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
I’m a perfectionist and I’m always hard on myself. I could never watch a videotape of myself dancing.

Who has been your greatest influence?
My father – he was my hero. He left Ireland in 1947 with nothing but drive, determination, and a can-do attitude. He went to America and made it against the odds.

What is your most treasured possession?
My old wooden flute. When I was a young man we didn’t have enough money to buy a nice flute and I used to want to practise and play so much. My father gave me an old wooden flute and I learnt to play that. It’s beaten and battered but it’s still my favourite. Whenever I’m asked to play somewhere special I bring that. I played it at my father’s funeral.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
I can get awfully mad when I’m trying to overtake on the road and someone won’t pull over.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
There are very few people who are completely happy with their looks and I’m certainly not one of the few.

What is your favourite book?
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

What is your favourite film?
The Mission – a magnificent movie. It’ll make you cry every time.

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And your favourite piece of music?

Yesterday When I Was Young by Charles Aznavour.

What is your favourite meal?
Harry’s Bar for fresh pasta with truffles. Then maybe onto 5 Hertford Street for a cognac and a dance with my wife. I love romance.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
My late father and no one else.

What is the nastiest thing someone has ever said to you?
When I was first starting out in Chicago, I was scheduled to meet an agent. I was dressed up and excited but the woman auditioning was on bad form. She said, ‘Listen, you’re not really tall, you’re not really blessed with good looks, you’re not leading-man material. Try tennis.’

Do you believe in aliens?
No, but my son’s Lego appears everywhere as if moved around by aliens!

What is your secret vice?
It’s probably best not to mention what my secret vice is.

Do you write thank-you notes?
Yes, by hand.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘Isn’t life great.’

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
More free time.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.
When I dress for shows I put my shoes on first. I suppose it’s good luck for me.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
‘You can’t keep a good man down’.

For more on Michael Flatley (and his appearances in Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games), details of the show at the Dominion Theatre and the UK Tour: www.lordofthedance.com


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