Lord of the dance Michael Flatley announces his retirement

More than two decades ago, Michael Flatley was in rehearsals at the then Point Theatre, practising for an unknown act to keep guests amused during the interval at the upcoming Eurovision.

Lord of the dance Michael Flatley announces his retirement

At the weekend he was back there, at what is now called the 3Arena, only this time in addition to wowing the crowds, the original star of Riverdance was rehearsing for his upcoming retirement.

The self-proclaimed Lord of the Dance — and there is little argument — tapped his feet for the last time on an Irish stage on Saturday night when he brought the house down with a typically high-powered performance in the show of the same name.

Flatley, who will be 57 in July, received a standing ovation as he took his final bow before an Irish audience in the theatre where, he acknowledged “it all started”.

He can’t hang up his dancing shoes yet, however, as the show goes on, with Lord of the Dance in the middle of an extensive tour with 16 countries still to play.

Flatley will appear in five performances over the next month before taking a break until July, when he’s due to give audiences in South Africa a treat by taking the lead for 12 shows.

He then cools his heels for another while before limbering up for several more dates in December, including his last scheduled appearance which is in Austria on December 5.

Flatley has spoken little of his plans beyond then although as the creator of Lord of the Dance and other shows, he will be heavily involved in the business and creative end of things.

The married father of one is also a keen rugby fan, painter, and art collector so he won’t be stuck for hobbies to fill his time. His interest in home restoration — most vividly demonstrated by his lavish refurbishment of his 18th century Castle Hyde home in Co Cork — is also an option if his feet get twitchy.

Flatley’s final performances in Dublin were tinged with sadness, not just because they were his last time to entertain Irish audiences but because his father Michael died earlier this month. He dedicated the Dublin shows to his beloved father, after whom he has named his young son.

However, if any emotion weighed on him as he took the stage over the weekend, he didn’t show in the famously frantic feet that displayed as much energy as ever despite his protestations that he has been left battered and beaten by decades of hoofing around.

Reactions to the performances on social media were wildly enthusiastic, giving Flatley a memorable send-off from Irish shores.

That’s if indeed it is a send-off for fans will remember he also firmly announced his retirement in 2011 but try as he could to follow his intentions, his feet kept tapping.

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