'Lord of Dance' hit by jinx

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The Independent Online
THE luck of the Irish ran out for Michael Flatley on Friday night when the dancer collapsed in agony on stage at a preview of his new show, Lord of the Dance. The former star of Riverdance was expecting to open the show in London on Tuesday, but is stuck in bed for the weekend, awaiting doctors' pronouncements on a torn leg muscle.

If forced to cancel, Flatley could be looking at a record insurance payout, having insured his legs only two months ago for pounds 25m. A spokesman for the dancer was stressing yesterday that the sum applied only if the star could never dance again - "and it's far too soon to tell how serious the injury is".

Flatley's understudy, John Carey, earned three standing ovations on Friday night at the Manchester Apollo. Yesterday afternoon, however, the audience broke into booing when they learned that Flatley and the female principal would not appear. Some walked out.

Lord of the Dance is Flatley's first project following his falling-out with Riverdance, the original Irish-jig-meets-rock outfit, which he directed. Critics have dubbed it a two-fingered gesture to his erstwhile colleagues. Flatley, 38, would say only: "The world is big enough for Coke and Pepsi, so it's big enough for both of us."

Despite his troubles, "Michael doesn't think we're jinxed," said Flatley's spokesman. "But maybe our opponents are sticking pins into effigies."

Critics, Real Life, page 13