Speaking with the BBC ahead of the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest, Flatley reminisced about the iconic performance and how some worried about his dancing. Keep reading to find out more!

Michael Flatley Jean Butler Riverdance Eurovision 1994 Performance

This May, millions of viewers will tune in to watch their countries compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. While many fans of the contest gear up and analyze the odds of each performer, this year also marks to 30th anniversary of Riverdance’s world debut at the contest in Dublin. Michael Flatley recently spoke to the BBC about the “very, very special evening,”

Originally meant to be an interval act during the contest, Riverdance’s seven-minute performance gained global acclaim, catapulting both Irish dancing and the performance’s stars, Michael Flatley and Jean Butler, to worldwide fame. But just before the performance, as Flatley recalled recently, not everyone was keen about the performance.

Michael Flatley Jean Butler Riverdance Eurovision 1994 Performance

Known for requiring its dancers to have rigid upper bodies, including arms straight at their sides, while performing incredible leg work, Flatley was approached just moments before taking to the stage and told that Irish dance teachers were calling in to ask Flatley not to wave or move his arms around during the performance.

“[Y]ou’re going to make us look ridiculous in front of the world,” Flatley recalls being told. Flatley would often invoke the ire of his own dance teachers because he wouldn’t dance with his arms down.

Sticking to his instincts, Flatley “said no,” and history was made. Just after the final note of the seven-minute performance, the audience erupted in applause that even left Flatley “blown away” by a moment that left him and his fellow performers feeling “so blessed,”

Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance

Despite being an interval act, Riverdance easily became the most well-known performance of the 1994 song contest. Riverdance quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, being made into an arena tour, reaching an audience of 30 million people.

The glitzy stage of Eurovision in Dublin was an impressive leap from the years Flatley spent “working on construction sites and digging foundations in Chicago,” It was there, during the “freezing cold winters” that Flatley created the choreography that would later take the world by storm.

Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance

“That’s what got me through the hard, laborious work,”

Years later, Flatley developed a show that would later become his nickname: Lord of the Dance. While Butler went on to work on contemporary dance and what one article described as “the more academic side of Irish dance,” Flatley continued wowing audiences around the world. Lord of the Dance reached approximately 60 million viewers.

The legacy of Flatley and Riverdance can be seen all around the world: it’s one of Ireland’s top exports, with Irish dancing schools found on every inhabited continent.

What is Eurovision

Eurovision is an annual international songwriting competition. Since 1956, performers are selected by European Broadcast Union members to represent their countries in and beyond Europe.

Performances must include a live performance of an original song no longer than 3 minutes. There can be no more than 6 performers on stage at once per performance. Viewers at home can then vote for their favorite song. The song with the most points at the end wins; voters are not allowed to vote for their own country.

The country whose song wins that year’s contest will be the next host.

Where is Eurovision 2024

Owing to Sweden’s victory at Eurovision 2023, the 2024 installment of the songwriting contest will be held in Malmö, Sweden.

Swedish singer Loreen won in 2023 with her song “Tattoo,” scoring a total of 526 points. This win made Loreen the second artist in Eurovision history to win the song contest twice. The only other performer to accomplish this was Irish singer Johnny Logan.

When is Eurovision 2024

Eurovision is traditionally held in May. Following in this tradition, Eurovision 2024 will take place from May 7-11th.

Which Eurovision song are you going to vote for?

What are the biggest stories trending online today? Read the latest here

Published by HOLR Magazine.

Image Credit: @riverdance Instagram


Comments are closed.