Flatley a key mover behind the Grammys of dance

Get your dancing shoes on because it seems this is going to be big — and, no doubt, lucrative.

Lord of the dance Michael Flatley and movie producer extraordinaire Harvey Weinstein have teamed up for the new World Dance Awards, described as the Grammys of toe tapping.

Weinstein, who has had a hand in numerous Oscar wins, most recently for The Artist, announced the venture at the MIPCOM international television event in Cannes yesterday, saying the World Dance Awards would be "a ratings blockbuster".

The idea for the programme came from Flatley, a resident of Castlehyde, Co Cork, who sprang to fame in 1992 with Riverdance.

He may have hung up his dancing shoes but the awards — split across as many as 10 categories and to begin next year — will see him use his expertise to promote dancing around the world, calling it "a dream come true which has taken too long to happen".

Weinstein, a co-founder of Miramax Pictures, which produced Pulp Fiction and The English Patient, said that, with cinema "shrinking", television offered more scope for development.

Flatley and Weinstein told delegates at the television event that dance was growing in popularity and that broadcasters could be on to a ratings winner.

"If this show has a cousin, it’s the Grammys," said Weinstein. "It’s going to be a game-changer for all the networks that buy the show. This is going to be a ratings blockbuster that the people who buy it early will have year after year after year."

While he compared the new awards to "a red carpet gala like the Golden Globes", Flatley evoked the greats of dancing, name-checking Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson.

"The sky’s the limit, we’ve got to reach all the little children," he said.

"I think people have underestimated the popularity of dance around the world, butit is huge and it is only growing... I see this as a very powerful, fast-moving show which perhaps runs two hours featuring 10 key awards, such as best dance on film, on video, [and] world’s greatest dancer."