Michael Flatley is a legendary dancer, choreographer, musician, and actor who has revolutionized the world of Irish dance. He is best known for creating and starring in the hit shows Riverdance, Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames, and Celtic Tiger Live. He has also appeared in several movies, written a bestselling autobiography, and performed for many celebrities and dignitaries. But how much do you know about his personal life, his achievements, and his net worth? In this article, we will explore the fascinating story of Michael Flatley, the Lord of the Dance.
Net Worth and Lifestyle
Michael Flatley is one of the richest and most successful dancers in the world. His net worth is estimated to be around $350 million as of January 2024. He has earned his fortune from his shows, movies, books, endorsements, and investments. He is also an avid collector of art, antiques, cars, and jewelry. He owns several paintings by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jack B. Yeats, as well as a rare book collection worth over $1 million. He also owns a fleet of luxury cars, such as a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Ferrari F430, and a Bentley Continental GT. He also has a passion for flying and owns a private jet and a helicopter.
Michael Flatley is a living legend who has inspired generations of dancers and fans with his talent, vision, and charisma. He is the Lord of the Dance, who has brought joy and excitement to millions of people around the world. He is a proud Irishman, who has celebrated and shared his heritage and culture with the world. He is a generous and compassionate man, who has given back to his community and supported many worthy causes. He is Michael Flatley, the Lord of the Dance.
Personal Life and Philanthropy
Michael has been married twice. His first wife was Beata Dziąba, a Polish make-up artist whom he met in 1986. They married in 1988 and divorced in 1997. His second wife is Niamh O’Brien, a former dancer in his shows. They married in 2006 and have a son, Michael St. James, born in 2007. They live in Castlehyde, a mansion in County Cork, Ireland, which Michael bought and renovated in 2001. He also owns several other properties in Ireland, the US, and the UK.
Michael is a devout Catholic and a supporter of the Republican Party. He is also a philanthropist and a patron of several charities, such as the Irish Autism Action, the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, the American Ireland Fund, and the Chornobyl Children’s Project. He has donated millions of dollars to various causes, such as cancer research, education, arts, and sports. He has also received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to Irish culture and society, such as the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, and the Irish Post Lifetime Achievement Award.
Early Life and Background
Michael Flatley was born on July 16, 1958, in Detroit, Michigan, to Irish immigrant parents. His father, Michael James Flatley, was a plumber from County Sligo, and his mother, Elisabeth (née Ryan), was a talented dancer from County Carlow. Michael inherited his love for dance and music from his mother, who taught him the basics of Irish dance when he was a child. He also learned to play the flute from his grandfather, who was a fiddle player.
Michael grew up in Chicago’s South Side, where he attended the Brother Rice High School. He started taking formal dance lessons at age 11 with Dennis G. Dennehy at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance. He soon proved to be a prodigy, winning several local and national competitions. At age 17, he became the first American to win the World Irish Dance title at the Oireachtas Rince na Cruinne, the Irish dancing championships. He also won the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil concert flute competitions in 1975 and 1976.
Besides dancing and music, Michael had another passion: boxing. He competed in the amateur Chicago Golden Gloves tournament in the 126-pound novice division and won the middleweight division of the Chicago Golden Gloves Boxing Championship. He recorded five knock-out victories and considered becoming a professional boxer, but he ultimately chose to pursue a dance career.
Career and Success
After graduating from high school, Michael worked as a stockbroker, a blackjack gambler, and a flutist. He also formed a band called The House Band, which toured the US and Europe. He continued to dance and perform in various shows and festivals, gaining recognition and acclaim for his innovative and energetic style. He also broke several Guinness World Records for tap dancing, such as tapping 35 times per second and having his feet insured for $57.6 million.
Michael’s big break came in 1994 when he was invited to choreograph and perform a seven-minute intermission act for the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. The act, called Riverdance, featured Michael and Jean Butler as the lead dancers, accompanied by the Celtic choral group Anúna and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. The performance was a sensation, receiving a standing ovation from the audience and millions of viewers around the world. Riverdance became an instant phenomenon, spawning a full-length show that toured globally and sold out venues like Radio City Music Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.
Michael left Riverdance in 1995 due to creative differences with the producers. He then created his show, Lord of the Dance, which premiered in Dublin in 1996. The show was a huge success, breaking box office records and earning rave reviews. Lord of the Dance was a fantasy story based on Irish folklore, featuring Michael as the hero who battles the evil Dark Lord and his army of Dark Disciples. The show also featured dazzling costumes, sets, lighting, and music, composed by Ronan Hardiman. Lord of the Dance toured the world for several years, reaching audiences in over 60 countries and grossing more than $1 billion.
In 1998, Michael expanded Lord of the Dance into a larger-scale production called Feet of Flames, which debuted in London’s Hyde Park in front of 25,000 people. The show was later performed in Taiwan, China, South Africa, Australia, and Europe. In 2004, Michael created another show, Celtic Tiger Live, which explored the history and culture of the Irish people through dance and music. The show featured elements of rock, jazz, flamenco, and ballet, as well as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Celtic Tiger Live toured until 2007 when Michael announced his retirement from dancing due to health issues.
However, Michael did not stay away from the stage for long. In 2009, he returned with a new version of Feet of Flames, which he performed in Europe and Asia. In 2010, he launched a 3D film version of Lord of the Dance, which was screened in cinemas worldwide. In 2014, he celebrated his 20th anniversary of performing with a special show at Wembley Arena. In 2015, he created and starred in a new show, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, which featured new music, costumes, and choreography, as well as guest stars like Nadine Coyle and Nicole Scherzinger. He also performed at the inauguration of Donald Trump in 2017. In 2016, he retired from dancing for good, after a farewell tour that ended in Las Vegas.
Besides dancing, Michael has also ventured into other fields of entertainment. He has acted in several movies, such as The Last Leprechaun, Blackbird, and A Little Bit of Tear. He has written a bestselling autobiography, titled Lord of the Dance: My Story. He has also directed, produced, and hosted several TV shows and documentaries, such as Michael Flatley: A Night to Remember, Michael Flatley’s Celtic Tiger, and Michael Flatley: Gold.