Michael Flatley was the second of five children born to parents who emigrated from Ireland. At age 11, he began lessons at the Dennehy School of Irish Dance. Just six years later, Flatley became the first non-European to win the All-Ireland World Championship for Irish dance. However, Flatley is known not for his traditional interpretation of the art form, but for his glittery, grandiose and heart-throbbing rendition.
When he first co-created Riverdance with Jean Butler, it was a seven-minute intermission act. The full-length performance was a smash success, but Flatley exited due to creative differences. He followed it up with the equally successful Lord of the Dance, which sold out shows in Dublin, London and New York. He later produced Fleet of Flames and Celtic Tiger. His shows are beloved by many, but parodied far and wide.