The world’s most famous Irish dancers are getting back into the saddle (shoes). In a manner of speaking, anyway. The dancers have been lured out of retirement by offers that they just couldn’t refuse.
Michael will take time out from building his entertainment empire in Las Vegas to slip into his well-worn clogs for a once-off performance in St. Petersburg, Russia. The audience will include such heads of state as U.S. President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other atendees of the G8 Summit. He will be accompanied by an all-star cast chosen from his various “Lord of the Dance” troupes.
The flame-haired beauty Jean Butler won’t be taking to the stage in such a dramatic fashion, but we do expect that she’ll be showing the fleet-footed form that made her famous when she takes over the post of artist in residence at the University of Limerick in the fall. She’ll be taking over from an artist with whom she is well-acquainted: former “Riverdance” costar — an “Dancing on Dangerous Ground” partner — Colin Dunne.
Each of the dancers has been busy pursuing personal goals over the last few years. Michael popped the question to his longtime girlfriend Lisa Murphy, bought himself a spectacular mansion in Cork, and has sunk $250 mil into an Irish-themed casino in Sin City. He’s also embroiled in a legal battle with a Chicago real estate broker – she claims he sexually assaulted her and wants $40 million, he insists everything was consensual and is suing for defamation.
Jean’s been keeping a fairly low profile since “Dancing on Dangerous Ground” — a vastly underrated and innovative show — tanked a few years back. She married fashion designer Cuan Hanley in 2001, and has been concentrating on writing. Hopefully, the residency gig will inspire her to slip into her dancing shoes again, both to perform and to pass on the secrets that made her the most distinctive dancer of her generation.