Dance superstar Michael Flatley has undergone a rigorous training regime to prepare him for his first stage show in seven years.

The American-Irish superhoofer will debut CELTIC TIGER in Budapest, Hungary on 9 July (05) before taking it on a year long world tour.

The 46-year-old is confident the show - a dance dramatisation of the history of Ireland - will be bigger than his previous hits RIVERDANCE and LORD OF THE DANCE.

Flatley says, "I start at six o'clock in the morning. I do a lot of boxing, aerobic-type exercises as well as the weights and things like that.

"But there's no substitute for good hard work dancing and I dance a lot. We've put in 12-16 hours a day on this, particularly for the last 20-25 weeks."

He adds of the show, "The Celtic Tiger is often referred to in the financial pages as Ireland's incredible economic success over the last decade. But I see it as something much more than that.

"I see it as the heart and soul and spirit of the Irish people. When they got to America, in the beginning they were treated like slaves ... and they rose again to become the JOHN F KENNEDYs of the New World."

Flatley has earned a staggering $1.35 billion (GBP750 million) from his phenomenally successful shows - at his peak he was earning $1.6 million (GBP900,000) each week.

His legs are still insured for $40 million (GBP22 million).

24/06/2005 08:35