"Marie Duffy is one of the best choreographers in the world. She has been my dance master and right-hand person since 1996. She is like my twin sister. I will love her forever."
- Michael Flatley
Marie Duffy is the undisputed queen of Irish dancing: she has trained more world champions than any other teacher, and has been Michael Flatley's right-hand woman for twenty years. She works tirelessly to promote Irish dance and culture internationally.
In this honest and entertaining book, Marie gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of professional Irish dance, and draws back the curtain on her own fascinating and inspiring life.
Marie first gained recognition dancing on entertainment shows in the 1960s, and went on to become a hugely successful Irish dancing teacher. Watching the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in her living room, Marie was filled with pride as she'd taught many of the dancers in the famous Riverdance interval act.
Two years later, Marie received a phone call that transformed her life when Michael Flatley offered her a job on a new show he had devised. Lord of the Dance would go on to become a worldwide hit, beginning years of fruitful collaboration between Marie and Flatley. Sadly however, Marie's professional highs have been accompanied by many personal lows, including the loss of her mother (who didn't live to see her daughter's success) and first husband Ian, and being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Marie had a mastectomy, but in the showbiz tradition of `the show must go on' she went back to her work rehearsing the dance troupe.
Born in Dublin's south inner city, Marie Duffy first found fame in the 1960s, dancing on entertainment shows on the newly launched Teilifis Eireann. She went on to become one of Ireland's foremost dancing teachers - at Inis Ealga and her own Marie Duffy Irish Dance School - mentoring world champions and some of the performers from the original Riverdance line. Marie has collaborated with Michael Flatley for twenty years, on his shows Lord of the Dance, Feet of Flames, Celtic Tiger and Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, amongst others. She choreographed performances for the Oscars and The Prince's Trust, and for TV shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Britain's Got Talent. She has served on The Irish Dancing Commission (An Coimisiun) since 1969, and has worked as an examiner all over the world. In 2011 at the World Irish Dancing Championships, Marie was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her dedication to Irish dance and culture. Eddie Rowley is the Sunday World's showbiz correspondent, covering the local and international music scene since 1983.