There was a time during the mid-1990s when there was a huge clamor for high-budget Irish Dance productions. Michael Flatley was one of the performers at the forefront of this craze. People would flock to theaters to watch this man dance using only the lower portion of his body. There are unsubstantiated rumors that audience members would have to go to the hospital after the shows with torn hamstrings from merely WATCHING him.
Of course, when it comes to these types of productions, there are a lot of egos involved. Flatley’s was apparently large enough to be its own planet. He clashed with the show’s producers and he abruptly left the show (though there’s always the “You’re Fired!”/”No, I QUIT” dynamic working in the background). This video shows his last performance, which was held in London, and it’s absolutely mesmerizing. He puts on an incredible performance even though his heart must surely be breaking that he’s leaving.
There are still some people who like to see this form of dancing today. Flatley did some other shows with a different title, but the craze is nowhere near what it was like back in that day. Then again, people liked doing the Macarena a year after Flatley left “Riverdance”, so there’s no accounting for taste. People replaced him on the show, but there was no one who could replace his singular genius and his flair for showmanship. Anybody who saw the post-Flatley version had to know that they were missing something. It’s still a strong production. It even had a 20th Anniversary tour in 2017 but it doesn’t have the same soul without its most potent showman.
The good news about this is that we didn’t see “Michael Flatley Does The Macarena” the next year. That wouldn’t have been enjoyable.
I’ve got tell you – watching this made me want to dance. Carefully, though. See the video and let us know if you feel the same urge. Warm up thoroughly. We’re not responsible for any injuries.
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