“Follow your dreamsnothing is impossible”
This is as the picture above says “The incredible life story of one of the world’s most popular performers”. Yes this is the world’s most popular performers of step dance; he is the best step dancer in the world actually. I admire him because of his courage and his powerful will. By working at a bar for a couple of bucks an hour he became through dance soon the best step dancer and he was earning more money than he could imagine. Of course the money was invested in other shows and programs that he and his crew could perform around the whole world, for us to see and admire the talent and hard work put by him and his crew, apparently some usual people but with a gift of dancing as others would only dream.
Michael Flatley's path to stardom proves what the human spirit can accomplish when relentless drive and determination converge with dreams. His long and arduous journey from construction worker on Chicago 's South Side to one of the world's most accomplished and innovative artists alive today is an inspiration to all who face overwhelming obstacles and challenges along the road to success.
'Everyone in the world will tell you, 'No, it can't be done.' Every time I hear that, I know I'm close to success.'
July 16, 1958 , Michael is the second of five children. He has a brother and
three sisters. His parents, Michael and Eilish, emigrated from
'I can go back to when I was six years old. I was always getting in trouble for dreaming, and the things I got in trouble for dreaming then are the things I'm doing today.'
was in his blood. Though Michael was born and raised in the
once visited me in
parents were committed to retaining their children's Irish heritage, so at age
11 Michael was 'dragged
by the ears' to Irish dance class. He was sent home after
being told he was too old, but Michael persisted. Not only because 'there were lots of pretty girls
in class,” he
confesses with a grin, but also because he could not let a challenge go
unanswered. Surpassing his classmates in winning competitions, 17-year-old
Michael became the first American to bring the title of All-World Irish Dancing
Champion to the
“I love the flute because it's the one instrument in the world where you can feel your own breath. I can feel my breath with my fingers. It's as if I'm speaking from my soul; when I'm making a note, it's the closest thing to singing to me.'
high school graduation, Michael opened an Irish dance school. Although 300
students anxiously awaiting enrollment exceeded his expectations, Michael was
not fulfilled. His calling to perform eclipsed his desire to teach. Eventually
he closed the school and took his first steps toward building an unprecedented
career -- the world's first internationally recognized professional Irish
dancer. While supporting himself as a construction worker, he took every
opportunity to dance in front of an audience. His first real break came with a
call from the world famous Chieftains, a traditional Irish band. While touring
with them during the 1980's, Michael used audience reaction as a barometer to
gauge the impact of his ever-evolving vision of Irish dance. In his pursuit to
push boundaries and recapture the passion of his heritage, Michael gradually
liberated Irish dance from generations of rigidity, incorporating arm movement
and heart-stopping rhythm into traditional steps. Standing ovations at
prestigious venues like Carnegie Hall and the
'To tell the truth, I think I could do anything on stage, but dance happens to be my medium. It's bliss. It's what I came to this planet for.'
1993, Michael was invited to dance at the Spirit of Mayo in
born April 30, 1994 -- the culmination of everything Michael had been striving
to perfect through all his years of touring. That seven-minute breath of fresh
air simultaneously electrified thousands at the Point Theatre in
'Life isn't about the number of times you're knocked down; it's about the number of times you get back up.'
Michael's sudden, unexpected departure from Riverdance presented him with a choice that would alter the entire course of his career. He could keep the money he had earned and go home to probable anonymity, or redefine his future. His choice became apparent when just 11 days after leaving that show he began choreographing, producing, and directing his own production, Lord of the Dance -- a venture for which he risked all his personal financial resources.
'I believe in myself, believe in everything that's positive, so I don't let any negative energy come into my life to the best of my ability -- that's the best way to carry on. There are no limitations, no rules. If you believe it, you can do it. You can do anything . . . Nothing is impossible.'
was adamant that Lord
of the Dance was 'an Irish show that had to be
born out of
was an instant success, playing to sold-out venues, receiving standing
ovations, and eventually setting records all over the world. In the
The American debut of Lord of the Dance at Radio City Music Hall sold out thirteen consecutive nights, and a stunning performance by Michael and his troupe was one of the highlights of that year's Academy Awards ceremony, watched by 2.5 billion viewers worldwide.
Lord of the Dance was the top grossing live show in both the US and Australia in 1997, and the video went platinum in the United States , Australia , and the UK .
'You're out on stage, the music is blaring, the crowd is screaming, the lights are flashing, your heart is pumping, the sweat is flying, and it's the greatest feeling in the whole world.'
'You can take as much as your mind can trick you into believing you can take. It proved to me that nothing could stop me. The most important thing is that you believe in yourself and keep on going.'
starred in his final performance of Lord
of the Dance at
specially engineered four-tiered stage showcased over 100 dancers, new music
and dance numbers, a full band and chorus, plus his spellbinding a cappella
solo. As the largest seated show ever to be performed in
'Think of the thing that gives you goose bumps, then do it!'
Michael's adoring public demanded more, and he was persuaded to tour with a
thrilling new version of Feet
of Flames throughout Europe and the
the summer of 2000, Michael played to over four million people in Western
Europe and performed before an audience of over 100,000 in
he took Feet
of Flames ,
Michael was met with enthusiastic audiences and standing ovations. Beginning in
June of 2001, Michael brought his Feet
of Flames , The
Victory Tour , to 20 American cities. The highlight of the tour was the
fulfillment of Michael's dream to perform at
'Since I was a kid, I've been a dancer, and, of course, I'll always be a dancer till the day I die.'
Michael's achievements and awards are countless, including entries in the Guinness Book of World Records for tap dancing speed, highest paid dancer, and highest insurance premium placed on a dancer's legs - a mind-boggling $40,000,000. He exceeded his first tap speed record of 28 taps per second, set in 1989, by executing a phenomenal speed of 35 taps per second in 1998 at the age of 39.
'I think it is important to keep challenging yourself. That's what keeps me going.'
Michael announced his retirement from touring in June 2001, fans from all
corners of the globe gathered for his final performance in
2002 Michael saw Lord
of the Dance continue to grow and prosper playing to
audiences around the world. With one troupe resident in
again Lord of the Dance broke new ground with stunning performances in
'It has always been my dream and ambition to introduce Irish dancing to the world.'
year finished on a high note with a phenomenal run of shows by Troupe One at
accolades and excitement for Michael and Lord
of the Dance continued throughout 2003. In March, Michael
received the prestigious Irish American of the Year Award from Irish
May, Michael and his dancers performed for 50 world leaders at the invitation
of President Vladimir Putin at the 300th Anniversary Celebration of
on Safari in Africa in September, Michael received a very special request for a
meeting from the legendary Nelson Mandela where t he former president honored
him as the biggest selling artist in South African history and presented him
with an original numbered copy of his book, Long Walk to Freedom. Later that
of the Dance returned to
October, at the Celtic Ball held at the Waldorf-Astoria in
year 2004 proved to be another banner year for Michael and Lord of the Dance . In
January, Michael was awarded an Honorary Life Membership of the University
College Dublin Law Society and in February another Lord of the Dance troupe made its stunning debut in Italy
and continued on to South Africa and then throughout the United Kingdom.Michael
has not only achieved his ambition of taking Irish dancing to another
dimension. He continues to prove that hearts and minds united through the
universal language of music and dance cross all traditional boundaries. His
accomplishments were recognized by the National Ethnic Coalition of
Organizations (NECO) and May 15, 2004 he was awarded the prestigious
Michael's unprecedented career as a creator, dancer, choreographer, and producer is proof positive of his 'follow your dreams' philosophy. One of his most fulfilling achievements is paving the way for young Irish dancers to have the opportunity to make a living doing 'what they love to do'. His ardent resolve has opened the door for future generations and provided a viable foundation upon which they can build and showcase their talents.
Michael is committed to his art and to bringing his audiences, Òthe world's greatest dance showÓ Through his company, Unicorn Entertainment Inc., Michael is planning many exciting new projects including movies and television.
Michael himself would say,
'Fasten your seatbelts.'
Awards & Honors
At the age of 17, Michael became the first American in history to win the World Championships for Irish Dance, thus crowning a competitive Irish dancing career in which he won 168 consecutive first place dance championships in competitions worldwide.
He won the first of his All-Ireland Flute Championships. More would follow on the road to becoming a celebrated flautist.
Michael released his first flute album which included three original compositions as well as traditional Irish melodies.
Michael began touring as a featured performer with The Chieftains, a world famous traditional Irish band.
Michael was the recipient of the prestigious Master of Dance Award for his exceptional contribution to the art of dance.
became the youngest person in history to be awarded a National Heritage
Fellowship from President Ronald Reagan and the National Endowment for the
Arts, recognizing him as one of
Setting his first world record for tap dancing speed at an astonishing 28 taps per second, Michael was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records on May 9.
Michael was declared a living treasure by the National Geographic Society and was featured in an article in the January issue of National Geographic Magazine, titled Masters of Traditional Arts.
Michael was invited to dance at the Spirit of Mayo in Dublin, a unique festival of Irish Dance and music. The audience included Irish President Mary Robinson.
Michael was the principal star and choreographer of Riverdance the featured highlight of the Eurovision Song Contest seen by over 300 million television viewers worldwide.
Riverdance was expanded to a full-length production and Michael became a super-star receiving critical acclaim from all quarters.
2, Michael premiered his own show, Lord
of the Dance at
The Point in Dublin,
of the Dance hit the
and the Lord
of the Dance troupe performed live at the Academy Awards
Mayor Daley declared April 4, 1997 'Michael Flatley Day' in the City
In December, the Irish Entertainment Awards bestowed on Michael their Performance of the Year Award for Lord of the Dance.
390 performances in the title role of Lord
of the Dance Michael
took his art to a new level with Feet
of Flames. First
staged in front of an audience of over 25,000 people on July 25, in Hyde Park,
The Feet of Flames and Lord of the Dance videos are two of the biggest selling performance videos of all time. They spent a staggering 51 weeks at the top of the German music video charts and 40 weeks in the number two position.
In February, Michael broke his own Guinness Book record by achieving an amazing 35 taps per second.
of the Dance performed a record-breaking run of 21 shows at
the legendary Wembley Arena in
March, The Late Late Show aired a tribute to Michael on National Irish
Television where he received a specially commissioned
Michael was recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the highest paid dancer earning $1,600,000 per week and for having the highest insurance premium placed on a dancer's legs at $40,000,000.
March, Michael took Feet
of Flames to Europe performing before sold-out crowds
including a performance before 100,000 people in
January, Michael was awarded
In March, President Clinton presented Michael with the Irish-America Lifetime Achievement Award.
June Michael brought Feet
of Flames, The Victory Tour to the
December, Michael was the guest of honor at the annual Christmas luncheon given
by the Variety Club of
14, at The Plaza Hotel in New York, Michael received the prestigious Irish
American of the Year award from Irish
31, Michael performed for world leaders at the invitation of President Vladimir
Putin at the 300th Anniversary Celebration of
8, Michael staged a special performance with his dancers to benefit the Red
9, Michael met with the legendary Nelson Mandela in
September 29, after a spectacular opening night performance by Troupe One at the Apollo Hammersmith Theatre in London, Sir Cliff Richard presented Michael with a silver salver to commemorate the achievement of $500,000,000 in Lord of the Dance ticket sales worldwide.
8, at the Celtic Ball held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, Michael received
an award from the
11, Lord of the Dance celebrated
its fifth sensational year in
15, Michael was awarded an Honorary Life Membership of the
15, Michael received the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor in
30, Michael was honored at the annual Wild Geese Celtic Ball in Stamford, Connecticut
for his outstanding achievements in promoting and preserving Irish culture and
heritage. Previous honorees include President Mary McAleese of the
3 - The national
October, Michael received the 'Spirit
The Freedom of the City of Cork was conferred on Michael Flatley at a ceremony in City Hall on June 2, in recognition of 'his achievements as a world class performer and a person of outstanding artistic talent.' Past recipients include President John F. Kennedy, President Mary McAleese, John Hume and Roy Keane.
February 25, Michael Flatley was honoured with the Freedom of
In conclusion , Michael Flatley is a man who knows what he’s doing and who knows what he wants , I admire him for his courage and bravery of putting his life , his money and his career on the line of duty shall I say , by making, putting a good or even better show all the time with his talent and his performers dragging along his side. He was talented form the beginning of his youth and became even more talented by exploring his talents and taking them to the edge. His success is due to his hard work and the many hours put in the shows and rehearsal day after day, night after night, sleepless nights and of course hard work , because there is no success without hard work.
He lives for the people who come to see him, he lives for the moments that take your breath away and when he sees so many people cheer, applaud him and wanting another round of shows is incredible. People do not lack strength , they lack will that is my opinion for those who are afraid to do what they would like to and they rather do something easy or give up when it is too hard for them.
You just have to follow your dreams and try to make the best of what you can do , pushing the limits to the edge of your hardest things that seem impossible but they in fact are really possible.
-Lord of the Dance (Paperback) by Douglas Thompson
-Lord of the Dance: My Story (Hardcover) by Michael Flatley
Publisher: Touchstone (both of the books)
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