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Entertainment & Lifestyle

Area native brings Irish dance production to Akron

3/16/2017 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The cast of “Rhythm in the Night, the Irish Dance Spectacular” is shown above, with creator and dancer Justin Boros, a Canal Fulton native, shown at center in black.
Photo courtesy of Two Step Productions
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Justin Boros, a Canal Fulton native and veteran of “The Lord of the Dance” tours, wanted to create an Irish dancing show for people who don’t think they’d like Irish dancing.

The result is “Rhythm of the Night, the Irish Dance Spectacular,” which will make its way to the Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., March 23 at 7:30 p.m.

“The story is one of good vs. evil,” Boros said in a phone interview while traveling to another engagement. “I play the lead villain of the show, who is under a sorceress’ spell. My love interest and younger brother try to rescue me. It’s really the story of redemption and salvation.”

How Boros ended up at the helm of an Irish dance show is a story of its own. He was a 15-year-old high school basketball player at Northwest High School when he happened to catch Michael Flatley’s “Lord of the Dance” on public television.

“I had no prior dance exposure, but I was mesmerized by it,” he said. “Then I ended up seeing Michael Flatley on ‘Larry King,’ and it was so inspirational. I did research on it, and I became kind of obsessed with it.”

After buying a pair of Irish dance shoes, he learned the basic steps from a beginner video and then watched a tape of “Lord of the Dance” over and over again until he learned every routine by heart. He also began to take classes at the O’Hare School of Irish Dance.

After a year of immersing himself in the art form, Boros visited Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Florida, where a “Lord of the Dance” show was performed four times a day. After seeing one of the shows, he gave an audition tape to the troupe manager and was told he might hear back from them in the next month. Instead, when he returned the next day to see a show again, they invited him back after the park closed that night for an audition.

“I did some of the numbers, and the next day they offered me a slot in the troupe,” Boros said.

For two-and-a-half years, he toured with one of the show’s four touring troupes, performing throughout North America and Central America in eight shows a week. He was able to complete high school via correspondence, he said.

He left the show to earn his college degree from American Intercontinental University, where he studied organizational business and management. Meanwhile, the idea for his own show continued to evolve.

“The whole experience [in ‘Lord of the Dance’] was pretty amazing,” he said. “I saw a lot of elements that were great, but what if we took it in a different direction; how would the audience respond to that? So I created a vision that could appeal to everyone.”

Boros worked on the original soundtrack with twin composers Andrew and Jared DePolo, of Cleveland. He wanted to create a sound reminiscent of epic works for film by John Williams and Hans Zimmer. The soundtrack took nearly two years to complete and features 19 original tracks.

The stage show includes 22 dancers and two violinists, Boros said. The first tour was in 2012 and the current tour is the fourth one.

“It’s been growing and growing and growing, and the feedback has been really amazing,” he said. “We always hear, ‘This is not what I expected.’”

The show has been at the Canton Palace Theatre, but this is the first time it will be at the Civic, and Boros considers that quite a feat. Next, he’s hoping the show can play in Cleveland.

Tickets are $25 and $35 and are available at akroncivic.com, by calling 330-253-2488 or at the Civic Box Office. For more information on the show, go to rhythminthenight.com.

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