Michael Flatley Tries his Feet at Painting
By Catherine Davis, Editorial Assistant
February / March 2012
Not one to limit himself to a single medium, Irish dancer and flute player Michael Flatley can now add “painter” to his artistic resume.
He sold his very first painting at an auction this past December for €5,600. His method, however, is not of the traditional paintbrush-and-easel variety. Rather, he takes a canvas that has been painted a solid color, places it on the ground, dips his shoes in paint, then tap dances in places on it. Unlike the visual arts, a dance lasts only for as long as it is being created. But in combining the movement of dance with the preservative powers of paint, Michael is able to capture and immortalize his movements on the canvas.
Michael, who is in the Irish America Hall of Fame, has been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records multiple times. His first tap record, set in 1989, was for an unprecedented 28 taps per second, though he has since topped himself, executing 35 taps per second at the age of 39. His legs are insured for $40,000,000, making Bette Grable’s Million Dollar Legs seem conservatively appraised.
Upon finding out how much his painting had sold for, Michael said he was, “very encouraged and a little bit stunned.” The money will go towards the restoration of Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral. The painting, which he created by dancing the Al Capone solo from his show Celtic Tiger, is titled ‘I’. One woman at the auction said, “It’s magnificent – very Chinese looking,” while another claimed, “I wouldn’t be mad about him; he’s a genius in his own field but I don’t like the painting.” Michael says that he has done other paintings in this style, and that he plans to continue making more.