Michael Flatley to appear at Trump’s inauguration ball

US-born dancer set to introduce his dance troupe at the event in Washington

Michael Flatley will set the scene for his dance troupe who will do most of the dancing, a source said. Photograph: David Sleator

Michael Flatley will set the scene for his dance troupe who will do most of the dancing, a source said. Photograph: David Sleator

 

Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley has accepted an invitation to appear at US president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration Liberty Ball in Washington on Friday night.

American entertainment website TMZ reported on Wednesday that Flatley and his Irish dance troupe have been added to the list of entertainers to perform at the inauguration ball. A source close to Flatley has confirmed to The Irish Times that the Chicago-born dancer will attend the inauguration ball which will be held in the Walter E Washington Convention Center.

“Michael will set the scene for his dance troupe who will do most of the dancing,” said the source, suggesting that Flatley will join his dancers on stage and introduce their performance.

Flatley (58), who grew up on Chicago’s southside and rose to international fame for his performance in Irish dance show Riverdance, announced his retirement from dancing in March 2015, citing “the severe beating” that his body has taken over his 20-year dancing career.

“I’ve wrecked my body with dance. I can’t say I wasn’t warned and I can’t say I haven’t loved every single minute of putting myself into this state but physically I am a mess,” he told The Daily Mail. “I’ve a recurring broken bone in my right foot which spontaneously breaks itself. My hamstrings are ruined, my groin is gone and I’ve done irreparable damage to two points of my spine – T1 and T6.”

According to TMZ, the presidential inaugural committee had been seeking to book Flatley and his dance troupe for some time and he confirmed his attendance on Wednesday.

Dozens of performers have refused to take part in the inauguration, citing their opposition to Mr Trump’s political stances which were condemned by several artists during the presidential campaign. Among those who spoke out against Mr Trump was veteran blue-collar rocker Bruce Springsteen, who told Rolling Stone magazine that “the republic is under siege by a moron”.

“The ideas he’s moving to the mainstream are all very dangerous ideas – white nationalism and the alt-right movement,” the New Jersey born singer told the magazine last September.

And just this week, a Bruce Springsteen tribute act announced that it was pulling out of playing the Garden State inaugural presidential gala, part of President-elect Trump’s inauguration party.

Will Forte of The B-Street Band told Rolling Stone: “We had to make it known that we didn’t want to seem disrespectful . . . to Bruce, his music and his band.”