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Flatley to star in Big Apple parade

SUPER hoofer Michael Flatley will play a central role in New York's 250th anniversary St Patrick's Day parade.

The dancer is currently launching his 3D version of the Lord Of The Dance show which will hit Irish cinemas nationwide on Friday.

The release -- the first dance show to be filmed specially for 3D -- enjoys its world premiere at London's Leicester Square this week.

Then, the dancer jets off to New York for St Patrick's Day for a series of special awards.

"It is quite a busy week because I'm being honoured by the Irish American Hall of Fame on March 15, and the following day, I'll be officially ringing the trading bell at the New York Stock Exchange," he told the Herald.

"Then, on St Patrick's Day, I'll be taking part in the New York parade, which this year marks its 250th anniversary."

The 2011 parade will be particularly high-profile.

This year marks the 250th consecutive time that the St Patrick's Day parade has marched up the city's Fifth Avenue -- a proud record that extends almost two decades before the US Declaration of Independence was even signed.

Mr Flatley said he would be doing everything he can to promote Ireland and Irish tourism during the week-long celebrations.

"It is a great honour. I'm really excited about it because I think we did a wonderful job with bringing Lord Of The Dance to the big screen in 3D," he said.

"I'm very pleased with how it turned out and I'm sure that fans of the show will really enjoy it."

The star admitted he was revelling in his hectic schedule at the moment after more than two years laid up with a mystery virus.

hnews@herald.ie