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Thursday 31 July 2014

‘Dangerous curves’ and shaved chests? It’s the Hugh Hefner of the dance

Michael Flatley. Photo: Brian McEvoy

A YEAR ago, Michael Flatley appeared on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories TV show, and told a story about how, a few years previously, he was stopped by the US police for driving a Ferrari at 170mph, while a lady was simultaneously performing a sex act on him.

Quite why a 55-year-old multi-millionaire should feel the need to share this with the world is an interesting point.

Six years ago, Flatley seemed to have reached the end, having been laid low for three years by a mystery illness. He was cured by a faith healer who, he said, “found a way to unblock my energy, to release it again positively within my body”.

Energy

Whatever was involved in the rebalancing of his chi, ever since Flatley seems to have had an excess of energy for someone of his age, seeming eager to reconnect with his younger, Ferrari-driving self, and it is there for all to see as he publicises the re-launch of his famous dance show next year.

Because while there’s nothing wrong with defying age and pushing yourself to new challenges, there is something a bit inappropriate, a tiny bit leery, about the way Flatley is marketing Lord of the Dance - Dangerous Games.

Breathlessly hyping it’s “sexiness”, Michael says that Dangerous Games will feature a young female dancer in a red catsuit against a backdrop of slogans such “It’s good to be bad” and “Dangerous curves ahead”.

And if that wasn’t cheesy enough for you, listen to what Michael had to say about his male dancers: “I’ve three young Lords, Matt, Morgan and James are just tigers, they’re cut and ripped.”

And having trotted out the clichéd “sex sells” line, Flatley still has time for a bit of his trade-marked blarney, coming out with more patronising nonsense about his love for the Irish in describing why he chose Nadine Coyle to sing the title song for the new show.

“Boy can Nadine sing,” he says, “but it’s more than that. There’s a real fire in her soul, a real Irishness. I really wanted an Irish girl to sing it.”

His best bit of puffery, however, is saved for the explanation as to why, at 56 years of age, he will join in the show himself, and lead the dance in the closing numbers. “The lure of this new show opening in Dublin before an Irish audience was just too much,” he claims, “and I just had to be involved.”

Cynic

A cynic might point out that, in trying to sell tickets to 200 performances of a world tour for what is essentially a 15-year-old show, the promise of Flatley himself on stage was needed as a draw.

And ever the salesman, he knows that it’s the sight of a 56-year-old man in a cummerbund, bandana and shaved chest that will put bums on seats.

And lapping up the countless standing ovations, Michael will feel that nothing has changed and that it’s the Point Theatre in 1994 all over again.

Growing old disgracefully, with a twinkle in his eye and a refusal to admit to the advancing years, Michael Flatley isn’t the Lord of the Dance.

He’s the Hugh Hefner of Dance.

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