Michael Patrick Gallagher took his first tentative
steps towards a career in dance at the age of eight
when he started classes with Ann Kerr of the Aodh
Rua School of Dance in Donegal. Within two years he
had won his first World Championship. Success continued
with 6 Ulster and 5 All Ireland titles, and another
World title to cap it off.
On the evening of April 30th 1994, Michael Patrick sat
down with his family to watch the Eurovision Song
Contest and his life, like that of every other Irish
dancer was never to be the same again. Although he
was asked to join the first stage production the following
year, he decided it best to finish his education first.
In 1996, however, while studying for a law degree
in Queens University, the temptation proved too much
and he took a year out to join the Riverdance ‘Liffey
Co.’ in the UK. Little did he realize that this one-year
would lead to seven! Within the first year of joining
the show he trained and performed as understudy and
in the autumn of 1997 he was offered the lead role
in a new touring production set for the US.
The ‘Lagan Co’, as it was called was to become his
family for the next five years as a cast and crew
of almost 100 people crisscrossed North America, playing
to sold-out audiences and rave reviews. In June 2003,
in front of a capacity audience of over 6000 people
in Wolftrap, Virginia, the ‘Lagan Co.’, along with
Michael Patrick, performed their last show. In all, he
had danced over 1200 lead performances, one of the
most given by any male principal in the history of
One of the first things he did, on returning home
to Ireland was to successfully pass his TCRG, which
qualified him to teach Irish dance professionally.
The ending of his touring did not signal the end of
his days with Riverdance, as he became a member of
the elite ‘Flying squad’, performing at corporate
events and exclusive social functions. In January of 2009 Michael Patrick qualified as an ADCRG, which allows him to judge Irish dance competitions all over the World.
In the past Michael Patrick has featured on two TV commercials
in the US. The first was for a high-speed Internet
access company called ‘Roadrunner’, which showcased
his footwork and speed. The other was for the famous
Chicago based department store ‘Marshall Fields’.
Michael Patrick comes from a very talented family of
dancers, with all his siblings having performed in
either of the major dance shows. George Bernard is
currently touring with Riverdance while Barry John
has been based in Las Vegas with ‘Lord of the Dance’,
for the last six years. Catherine, after a number
of years with Riverdance, now teaches Irish dance
in Budapest, Hungary and leads her own performance
group ‘Steps of the Celts’.
Michael Patrick hopes to continue to dance and perform
for quite a few years to come!