The 56-year-old showman is on the cusp of performing what he says will be his last ever West End shows in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games — a production he says his fan base will find “nearly unrecognisable”.
The show features Girls Aloud star Nadine Coyle, who sings the title track.
Flatley, who rose to fame as a 35-year-old during the interval of the Eurovision Song Contest when Riverdance was performed in Dublin in 1994, said he “worked so hard, for so many years”.
At a sneak preview of his latest show in the iconic theatre, he added: “I have, maybe, a handful of dancers that have made it to 30, and probably two that lasted to 35, in my whole 20 years, which should tell you everything.
“To say I’m long in the tooth is an under- statement. But I love it. It’s who I am. It’s what I do. I couldn’t get a job. I never could get hired as a dancer so I created my own shows. Once I got past Eurovision we were off to the races.”
Flatley, who was born in Chicago, said his focus now is on “creating new young stars”.
The dancer, who is no longer associated with Riverdance, described the show as “a blessing”, but said he thinks that while it was “fabulous” at the time, it is “outdated” now.
He added: “The average person on the street still sees me as Mr Riverdance.”
Flatley said Riverdance and Lord of the Dance are like “day and night”.
Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games is going on a British and world tour after its run at the Palladium, including a date in Dublin, while Riverdance is goingon a 20th anniversary British tour.
Asked if the two shows were going head to head, Flatley said: “I don’t seethat. Going head to head with myself?”
He said the Palladium is a venue he has always wanted to play.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” he said.