By Eileen Murphy
Well, we knew it had to come sometime, and so it has. The Lord of the Dance himself, Chicago-born Michael Flatley, has decided to bow out of his long-running Celtic dance extravaganza. And, with the sense of showmanship that has made him an international phenomenon, Flatley will go out in a blaze of glory – in a final show at London’s Hyde Park, accompanied by the casts of both LOD touring companies.
The show will be called “Feet of Flame,” and it doesn’t take a genius to predict that it will be a sell-out event. Flatley hasn’t slowed down at all, though the physically demanding show would make mincemeat of a man half his age (40 years). He just wants to devote his time to other projects – he’s got a movie in the works. And we hear that boxing promoters have offered the former Golden Gloves champ a cool $36 million for six fights. Flatley is said to be considering the offer seriously. After all, with his fancy footwork, it’s a sure bet no pug will get close enough to land a punch anywhere near Flatley’s handsome mug.
Follow the leader?
Best quote of the week comes from Gavin Friday, who’s been best buddies with Bono since the two of them were teenagers growing up in Dublin with boring old names like Paul Hewson,/b> and Fionn_in Hanvey. Both were members of a group (what kids today would call a posse) called Lypton Village.
“We used to have roles and my role was being in charge of being in charge. I said what was cool and what was uncool.
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“Bono was the leader too. Both of us were leaders. But I was the one who said, ‘No, that album was cool’ or ‘You look like [bad word]. Go change your hair.’ And he would . . . sometimes.”
Both, as we know, have made their marks in the world of music – Bono as the frontman for the mega-successful U2; Friday as a cabaret artiste and soundtrack composer for films like “In the Name of the Father.”
The “Riverdance” goes on?
Never let it be said that any of those Riverdancers allow any grass to grow under their energetic feet. There are many changes afoot (sorry) for the show that captured the imagination of the world.
The biggest change is the departure of lead dancer Colin Dunne, who’s hanging up his well-worn clogs for a spell in order to finish his book (yes, he’s writing, not reading). Dunne, you will recall, replaced the show’s original star, Michael Flatley, back in October 1995. Though certainly not as flashy or innovative as his predecessor, Dunne’s emphasis on traditional Irish footwork brought a subtle change to the mood of the show. A brilliant dancer, he nevertheless looked distinctly uncomfortable whenever he raised his arms – a direct contrast to Flatley, who would keep his arms at shoulder height even if handcuffed.
Replacing Dunne in the main “Riverdance” company is 22-year-old Pat Roddy, who’s been a member of the company since it debuted at the Point Depot. The very handsome Roddy took on a higher profile in the show when Flatley departed, dancing the lead in the electrifying (sorry again) “Thunder and Lightning” number – our favorite dance, where all the guys dress in black leather – yee-haa!
Pat is not the only Roddy in the “Riverdance” spotlight. His sister, Niamh, is the principal dancer in the other RD touring company. Imagine how proud their parents, Irish dancing teachers Tony and Una Roddy, must be. Ah, to be a fly on the wall in their native Dundalk . . .
Never one to let grass grow under his tapping toes, we hear that Brendan Shine has a new song out called “The Celtic Tiger,” written by John Duggan. Shine last recorded another of Duggan’s compositions, which horrified us until we learned that the title was “Shoe the Donkey” and not “Shoot the Donkey” . . .