An archive of interviews, reviews, features, news stories, etc. for the Nottingham 'Evening' Post dating back to 1993
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It has been 12 years since you performed in Lord of the Dance, why come back?
I went to see the show in Egypt and I was hooked. By the end of the first act I couldn’t wait to dance. At the end of the show my wife looked at me and said ‘you’ve got to go back and dance’.
Isn’t it hard work doing it again in your fifties?
I’m not as young as I used to be but my slogan is ‘50 is the new 30’. And I do feel that way. I’m one of those guys on the golf course who hits the ball and is standing waiting for the next shot when it lands. I move at a ferocious pace. And I have muscle memory. My body remembers a lot of the dances.
Is it a brand new show?
It’s not. The audience dictates and demands to see their favourite things. But it’s a new look, a new feel, a new excitement. And there are a lot of new little things that people will appreciate, without detracting from the original storyline.
How have the cast responded to your return?
A lot of them have been doing this for years and for me to come in, they go from 3,000 seats a night to 80,00 seats a night, in some cases. And that’s a big buzz for them. It’s an honour to share that with them.
The shoes you use for each show are specially made by who?
Freed of London. I designed them myself. They’re Spanish leather and the heels are made by a man in America using the same material that’s used in the nose cone of the Space Shuttle. I go through a pair every three shows. I auction them all off for charity. When Michael Jackson stayed with me in Castlehyde (Flatley’s 18th-century mansion in Cork) he fell in love with the shoes. They are one of a kind. I should go in to that business.
It’s reported that your legs are insured for $25m. Is that right?
That’s light. You mean each? It sounds really glamorous and impressive but it’s not, it’s business. If I go down, the tour goes down and the promoter loses money. With the policy I have there is a lot of stuff I am prohibited from doing. Most of it I probably wouldn’t do anyhow, to be honest with you.
You’ve performed before royalty, politicians and numerous celebrities. Who impressed you most?
I’ve met some great people and a lot of them impressed me. Who am I to say they impressed me? They blew me away. I had lunch with Mohammed Ali and he has been my hero since I was a little boy, ever since I took up boxing. I had lunch with Mandela. There are a lot of people I have respect for. Ian Anderson (of Jethro Tull), what a remarkable man he is. Back in the days of Led Zeppelin and the big rock bands, he cut a path through the middle of them doing something so different. And he’s still doing it. Hats off. I performed with Pavarotti at the G8 Summit. What a classy guy and what a thrill it was for me to be on the same bill as him. But I don’t think anyone has impressed me more than Prince Charles. He has so much class, is so intelligent... he’s a very interesting down-to-earth guy, with a great sense of humour. I went to a dinner with Charles and Camilla and the speech he gave was just beyond anything I’d ever heard. All I could think of was I wish to God this guy was more in the public eye in terms of world affairs. I think he’s streets ahead of the Obamas of the world and all the political leaders we have.
The Lord of the Dance UK Tour comes to the Trent FM Arena tomorrow for two shows, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are £35, £49.50 and £75 on 08444 124624 or go to www.trentfmarena.com