Michael Flatley urged young people to “do it” as he talked about his motivation for making his debut film, saying people had told him it was “impossible”.
The 64-year-old dancer and choreographer also wrote, directed and starred in the spy thriller Blackbird, in which he plays former MI6 agent Victor Blackley who is drawn into a world of espionage he left behind.
The film premiered at the Monaco Streaming Film Festival last year, where Flatley won the Best Actor award.
He told BBC Breakfast that he was proud to be able to give a number of talents their first roles in the film, adding: “Young people are extraordinarily talented and I love young minds.
“And I’ll tell you one thing, the big motivation for me making Blackbird is all the people who said ‘Impossible. You can not do this. You can’t be an actor, you are a dancer. ‘ I mean, I felt it until I turned blue in the face and you just have to try.
“And there are so many people out there who dream of doing something or being someone or doing something great, and they are paralyzed with fear. ‘What will everyone think? What will others say? ‘
“You can’t let this stop you, get up, throw your best shot and drop the chips where they can.”
Flatley added: “Young people especially, try it. Don’t listen to other people. You just have to try. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
“There is no shame in failure, shame is not getting up and trying. This is the way I look at life. “
Flatley, who was born in Chicago to an Irish-American working-class family, was catapulted to fame in the Irish dance production Riverdance, which was first performed as an intermission at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994.
It was extended into a full-length show and opened at Dublin’s Point Theater in 1995, followed by the creation of the Flatley play Lord Of The Dance.
He went on to create, produce and direct other productions including Feet Of Flames and Celtic Tiger.
Blackbird also stars Hollywood actor Eric Roberts, Robin Hood’s Patrick Bergin, Game of Thrones actor Ian Beattie and Nicole Evans, whose credits include a role in 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger.
Flatley recalled how his mother encouraged him to pursue acting, saying, “For 25 years we have traveled the world with Lord Of The Dance. We sold out every major venue from Mexico to Moscow, Tokyo to New York’s Madison Square Garden, we were very lucky.
“And on Sundays, my dear old Irish mom would call and say, ‘Stop dancing and go make some movies’ and I would say,’ Mom, there are 200 people counting on me for their livelihood and they run out of 15,000. posts and making a few pounds’, if I don’t mind saying so.
“I wasn’t going to give up.
“But, of course, I went many miles on me and my body started to retort and as a result, St. Patrick’s Day 2016 was my last dance at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and she was on the phone and she said, ‘you have no more excuses.’ So I gave her my word and here we are: happy days ”.
His mother Eilish died later in 2016, but Flatley said he knows she is watching over him and that she would be proud because Blackbird is the kind of movie she “would love”.
The dancer revealed that there have been offers for other projects since the release of the trailer and that he is currently working on a dance film called Dream Dancer.
She said the latest film, which follows a girl dreaming of “fabulous dance sequences,” currently has her attention and she knows many people in America are passionate about a dance project.