Europe

Michael Flatley hangs up dancing shoes after Vegas show

  • 18 March 2016
  • From the section Europe
Media captionSpeaking ahead of his final performance, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, the 58-year-old said he was looking forward to retirement

Lord of the Dance creator Michael Flatley took his final bow on stage in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

Speaking to the BBC ahead of his last ever performance, at Caesar's Palace in the city, the 58-year-old said he was looking forward to retirement.

"I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time with my beautiful wife and son," he said.

"I'm looking forward to spending a bit more time in Ireland.

"I only get there maybe two weeks a year and I'd dearly love to spend more time there."

Flatley reflected on his professional career of more than 20 years after receiving an award from the American Ireland Fund in Washington on Wednesday night.

In 1994, he helped launch the Irish dancing spectacle, Riverdance, after performing at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin.

Flatley went on to create Lord of the Dance which debuted at the Point Theatre in Dublin in 1996.

Stepping down

He was a multi-millionaire by the time he left Riverdance after a concert in London on 25 July 1998.

He carried on dancing, taking his Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames tours around the world, having broken the mould of traditional Irish dancing by incorporating upper body movement and creating edgy rhythm patterns.

In 2006, he married dancer Niamh O'Brien in Fermoy, County Cork. The couple, who have one son, put their €20m (£15.6m) County Cork mansion on the market in October 2015.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's performance, Flatley admitted his body has taken "a bit of a beating" over the past two decades, but he was philosophical about the toll his profession has taken on his health.

"I don't mind - it reminds me of the hard work I've done, the friends I've made and places I've seen," he said.

"It's been a great honour to represent Ireland over all these years and it's a great honour to step down knowing that I've given everything I had."