The shoe that fits one
person pinches another;
there is no recipe for living
that suits all cases.
~~Carl Gustav Jung~~
Michael Ryan Flatley was born on July 16th 1958 in Chicago following his parents' emigration from Ireland in 1947. He spent much of his childhood going back and forth to their native Ireland. He started dancing at the tender age of 4, when his grandmother, an Irish champion dancer taught him his first steps. However, it was not until he was 11 that his mother Eilish - also an Irish Dancing Champion - took him and his brother and three sisters to dance school.
He became the first American to win the World Irish Dance Championships.
He has since won over 120 titles in 13 countries and almost every US State.
Harassed by other kids when he was younger, he and his brother went to boxing school - he later won the Chicago Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Championship.
Michael Flatley's first ever live performance was when he toured with the Irish Folk group The Chieftains - dancing whilst they played.He first captured the world's attention with a stunning performance with Riverdance during the interval of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, which was watched by a global TV audience of millions. He has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records, possessing the quickest feet in the world.
Lord of the Dance was conceptualised and staged within 8 weeks of his departure from Riverdance. In 1997 Flatley and his troupe caused a sensation when they performed at the Oscars. Over the past years, Michael Flatley has performed Lord of the Dance over 300 times in over 100 cities.
The Most Important Stuff: His Shoes!
Michael Flatley's dancing shoes are specially designed by Freed's of London. Freed is the shoemaker to the world of dance. He gets through nearly 100 pairs a year. Michael's dance shoes generally last a couple of weeks but he has 6 pairs at any one time. His legs are insured for $40 million.
At each show Michael Flatley saves a seat for his late grandmother, Annie, who was his greatest inspiration.
Irish-American folk dancer Michael Flatley, famous for bringing Riverdance to the world, has retired from the stage. (2001)
He gave his last performance in Dallas, Texas, on the Feet of Flames world tour. Michael Flatley's spokeswoman: "I think after seven years at the top and having such a successful world tour and US tour he has decided to go out at the top," she said.