Last of the Dance: Michael Flatley’s final ever performance takes place tonight

As the famous hoofer prepares to hang up his dancing shoes for ever, we pay a special VIP tribute to the original Lord of the Dance

Michael Flatley and Jean Butler shot to instant fame when they performed Riverdance during the Eurovision Song Contest in the Point Theatre in 1994


It is 22 years since Michael Flatley first grabbed the world’s attention, with his interval performance of Rivedance at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest catapulting him to worldwide fame. Since then, he has toured with the world, first with Rivedance, then with his own creations, Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames, and while various touring casts have featured other people on the lead role, Flatley himself as continued performing whenever he could.

Michael outside his magnificent Castlehyde mansion, which he recently put up for sale. Pic: Lili Forberg


Tonight, however, the 58-year-old will give his final ever live performance, as he takes a bow in Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, for the very last time. Flatly has amassed a huge fortune through his shows, and was until recently the owners of the magnificent Castlehyde Mansion in Cork, but his fame has not been without its sacrifices.“It has been a great 20 years,” he said. “I would like to think the good times have outweighed the bad time but sometimes I wonder. My body has taken a severe beating.”

Flatley 1999
Michael Flatley’s exclusive shoot with VIP, way back in 1999! Pics: Colm Henry


VIP has the privilege of first catching up with Flatley back in late 1999, as he was preparing for his comeback to the stage with Lord of the Dance, and he gave us a world exclusive photoshoot in his Malibu beachside home. Since then, we have featured Michael in his homes on the French Riviera, and in Castlehyde itself, as well as covering his wedding back in September 2006.

Flatley wedding
Michael married Niamh in 2006


And while his shows are bound to live on for many years to come, tonight marks the final chapter in Michael Flatley’s dancing career, as he hangs up his shoes for the very last time. “As I finish tonight in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas,” he said, “I can honestly say hand on heart in front of God I have given every last drop of what I have to my art and to Ireland.”

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