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I MISS MICHAEL; But show has to go on says Riverdance Jean.

RIVERDANCE star Jean Butler admitted last night: "I miss Michael Flatley."

The flame-haired dancing queen saw her successful stage partnership with flamboyant frontman Flatley come to an abrupt end last year when he stomped out of the hit show after a row with producers.

But she praised her new co-star Colin Dunne as "excellent" and described the show as "better than ever". The New York-born starlet was in Belfast for the Ulster premiere of Riverdance, which begins a four-week run at the King's Hall on Thursday.

The dance spectacular was the hottest ticket in Dublin and London last year.

And it has just completed a sell-out week on Broadway, earning rave reviews for Butler and her high-kicking co-star Dunne, a former world dance champ. Jean said the revamped show is bigger than before.

"There are whole new tap dance sequences," said Jean.

Birmingham-born Dunne said: "We have all been looking forward to Belfast because it is effectively a homecoming for the show."

Derry dancer Glenn Simpson has landed a plum role in many of the show's main sequences.

The Waterside lad, who has been with the company for 10 months, was the butt of many classroom jokes as a fledgling dancer.

Now he's having the last laugh.

"A lot of people took the mickey," the 20-year-old said yesterday. "Now I say to them: `Look where those dance lessons got me. I'm in the biggest show in the world'."
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Hanna, Conor
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 26, 1996
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