Here you will read about Michael Flatley biography. Michael Ryan Flatley is an Irish American dancer who was born on July 16, 1958. Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames and Celtic Tiger Live all featured him as a prominent Irish dancer. More than 60 million people from 60 different countries have seen one of Flatley’s shows bringing in over a billion dollars.
Flatley is often credited with modernizing Irish dance by bringing in elements of tap and contemporary dance as well as new rhythms, syncopation and upper-body movements that had been missing from traditional Irish dance. He used to be able to tap dance 35 times in a second and his feet were once insured for $57.6 million. Flatley stopped dancing in 2016 due to chronic pain in his back, knees, feet and ribs.
When did Flatley Take Dance Classes First?
Michael James Flatley is from Ireland and immigrated to the United States in 1947. Michael was a plumber from County Sligo and Eilish was a talented step dancer from County Carlow whose mother, Hannah Ryan was a champion dancer. Michael and Eilish who had previously met at an Irish dance in Detroit were wed on August 25, 1956, also in Detroit.
Five children were born to them: Anne-Marie, Michael, Eliza, Thomasina and Patrick. Moving from Detroit to the South Side of Chicago when Michael was just two months old is a well-known anecdote. Flatley first took dance classes with Dennis G. Dennehy at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance in Chicago when he was eleven. He went to a private Catholic high school for boys called Brother Rice.
Flatley, then only 17 became the first American to win the World Irish Dance Championship at the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne. Flatley was a two-time winner at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil concert flute competition in 1975 and 1976. In the 1970s, Flatley entered and won the middleweight division of the Chicago Golden Gloves Boxing Championship, an amateur boxing tournament.
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He won five times by technical knockout. Flatley has stated that he debated quitting dancing several times throughout his life including in the early 1980s but ultimately remained a professional dancer. Over time, he decided to give back to the Golden Gloves by making a charitable contribution.
How many Awards did Michael Flatley Get in his Career?
Flatley was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts’ highest folk honor, a National Heritage Fellowship, in 1988. Flatley was the first person to ever receive the Irish Dancing Commission Fellowship award essentially an honorary degree in Irish dance and was also made a Fellow of the American Irish Dance Teachers’ Association that same year.
Flatley was honored by Prince Rainier of Monaco with a special award for his philanthropic efforts that year and he was named Irish American of the Year by Irish America magazine that same year in March. Flatley was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2004 from University College Dublin and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from New York City in the same year. His 2016 honorary degree was awarded to him by the University of Limerick.
At a ceremony in Cork’s City Hall in 2007 Flatley was awarded the freedom of the city. He was honored with the Freedom of the Borough of Sligo in a ceremony held at Sligo City Hall in 2008. And in 2008, Flatley received the Entertainer of the Decade Award from the Variety Club of Ireland.
He entered the Irish America Hall of Fame in the same year the magazine was founded. At the Park Lane, London ceremony for The Irish Post Awards on October 24, 2013, Flatley was honored for his lifetime of work. New York City’s 42nd Street was renamed “Flatley Way” in 2015 in honor of the musician.
This recognition occurred around the time his new show Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games opened at the Lyric Theatre. Michael won the award for Best Actor for his performance in Blackbird at the Monaco Streaming Film Festival in July 2021.
He was also awarded the Freedom of the City of London, a distinction bestowed by the capital city of the United Kingdom and conferring upon its recipients such privileges as driving a herd of sheep over London Bridge.
How in Many Professions did Flatley Dabble?
Flatley has dabbled in a number of professions since leaving high school. Flatley went on tour with Green Fields of America in 1978 and 1979. His request to become a permanent member of The Chieftains which he made during his 1980s tour with the group, was denied.
The president of Ireland, Mary Robinson and the producers of the dance show he was featured in saw Flatley and asked him to choreograph an intermission show for the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. The contest was held in Ireland and he gave a 7-minute performance titled Riverdance during the intermission.
Flatley saw potential in the show and after it received critical acclaim around the world, he pushed to expand it into what would eventually become Riverdance. Flatley did the bulk of the show’s choreography and both he and Jean Butler starred in it. Moya Doherty produced the show.
After the breakup of Riverdance, Flatley decided to make his own show Lord of the Dance which could be performed in larger venues than just theatres. It had its world premiere in June 1996 at the Point Theatre in Dublin and its London Coliseum debut a few months later.
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Ronan Hardiman wrote the score for the production. Flatley made £36 million in 1997 putting him at #25 on the list of the highest-paid entertainers in the world. Celtic Tiger Live, Flatley’s next show debuted in July 2005. The show uses a variety of dance styles including jazz to tell the story of the Irish diaspora in the United States. Flatley’s flute solos and the final line of dancers are two fan favorites from his previous shows that make a return.
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