Belfast Telegraph

Michael Flatley's grief as his 'hero' dad dies before Dublin dance debut

By Ralph Riegel

Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley revealed his dream was to have three generations of his family at his final Irish dance performance this month but "God had other plans for my dad."

The dancer paid an emotional tribute to his father, who died after a short illness late on Friday night in the US at the age of 88.

Michael James Flatley, a native of Sligo, emigrated to the US and built a highly successful business in Chicago. He died just weeks before his Cork-based dance superstar son had hoped to have three male generations of the Flatleys in Dublin for the Irish debut of his new show, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.

"He was my hero. My heart is broken. Please keep him in your prayers. I love you dad," Flatley said.

He said it would have been "a dream come true to have three generations of Flatleys in the 3Arena" including his father and his own son, Michael St James.

"I owe everything to my father and my mother. I just cannot believe dad is gone," he said.

His new show, which is currently on a 200-date world tour after its UK world premier last September, will be staged at the 3Arena on March 27 and 28, and in Belfast's Odyssey Arena on Sunday, March 29. It also stars former Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle.

Flatley he was very emotional about the Dublin shows. They will be his last stage performances in Ireland in the very venue (the old Point Depot) where he enjoyed his major breakthroughs with Riverdance and then Lord of the Dance 20 years ago.

"It is like coming back to where it all started," he said.

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