Rhythm in the Night – Irish Concept Becomes American Reality

On the ground level, it was a story of Cinderella proportions.  It defied the norm and broke the mold both ideologically and physically.  Up to 1999, the typical, professional Irish dancer was one of 100% Irish ancestry.  Whether male or female, they would have started dance at an age of 5 or 6 and be of moderate stature as far as height went.  Most were straight from Ireland, with others coming from England, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. While many of dancers had solidified their talent through years of instruction and countless competitions, there were others, many the same age as the Lord of the Dance and Riverdance performers, who were completely unaware of the art form, but would soon travel a similar path, some with the speed and ferocity of a bullet train.  One such Irish dancer-to-be was Justin Boros.

He debunked the typicality of it all.  Yes, he had Irish blood coursing through his veins, along with a Greek and Italian.  The amount of times he competed did not come close to half of what his Lord of the Dance comrades went through.  And as for when Boros started learning Irish dance, that was in his third year…of high school.  It was a combination of God-given talent and an uncanny work ethic that took him from 6’4” high school basketball standout to world-touring bad guy in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  As with most individuals who put success at the top of their to-do list, the young lad, still not old enough to buy alcohol at the time, had another plan brewing in his mind.  Sure he was living it up in the greatest touring production in the world, but what else could he accomplish?

It was ten years ago when the plan of creating his own Irish dance show came about; and so, with one thought, became the spark that ignited his next journey.  After conferring with Irish dance peers on the concept and assembling a business plan during the last week of 2005, the construction of Rhythm in the Night had begun.  Fast forward to 2010 and the picture has become much clearer as the show is taking shape in the warm surroundings of the sunshine state.

Rhythm in the Night will hold its inaugural performance in Sarasota, Florida this year.  Seeking out only the best dancers of the sub-tropic locale, Boros has put together a production with flare, pop and a little adrenaline for good measure.  While the dancers rehearse as we speak, Rhythm in the Night is slated to take the stage in the coming months and will surely be a feast for the eyes and ears.  Why So Blu recently caught up with Justin Boros and asked him the what, when, where and why of his showbiz concept turned reality.

WSB: Ten years is a long time coming. Why now? Why is 2010 right for Rhythm in the Night?

Boros: The concept of Rhythm in the Night several years ago was originally to have the show be a semi-large scale production, playing to theatres of 1,500 to 3,000 people.  This concept was appropriate at the time Rhythm in the Night was envisioned.  After doing further market research, and spending time in Ireland and Germany with several different Irish dance shows, my vision changed.  Irish dance is most explosive and appreciated in smaller venues, where every tap and heel click can be heard, and felt, by every member of the audience.  I went from being a fan in the audience, to up on stage with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  This gave me a perception that very few had.  I know from being a fan what people most enjoy about Irish dance, and now I have the opportunity to give them that.  This opportunity has become real with the support of the Irish Rover Sarasota, and the Irish Dance Academy of Sarasota.  With such an amazing group of talented Irish dancers, and the support of the only genuine Irish pub in Sarasota, 2010 has become the year for Rhythm in the Night!

WSB: You had a different perspective on the Irish dance shows from other performers in that you were a fan first and then became a dancer.  How has this benefited you and the show’s formation?

Boros: As I mentioned, I was a fan first, and then a dancer.  I danced in Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, which is the worlds largest touring production ever to exist, selling more tickets than U2 and the Rolling Stones combined, to performing in smaller venues in Ireland and Germany with smaller productions.  As I traveled and performed in different shows, the vision of my own production started to take form.  I was creating in my mind what I wanted to see when I sat in the seats, with the rhythms that I had learned up on the stage.  With these multiple perspectives, I was able to create a high-energy, fast-paced, in your face production with no fillers or breaks.  Rhythm in the Night was born.

WSB: What have been your biggest obstacles in making this production happen?

Boros: The original vision of Rhythm in the Night was a challenge due to the high costs of such a large scale production, dealing with investors, and flying in dancers from all over the world.  Since the vision of Rhythm in the Night has evolved to target more intimate style venues to perform, there have not been any obstacles along the way.  Gillian McCormack from the Irish Dance Academy of Sarasota has provided her full support with championship level talent to dance in the show.  We also have some of the best Irish musicians in the world such as Paul Duffy performing.  With such great support and talent, audiences will experience the best in Irish dance and music!

WSB: When can the public expect to see the show make its debut?

Boros: Rhythm in the Night will be making its debut in the Fall of 2010.  We are currently in rehearsals with the dancers and musicians and are moving along quickly.  Rhythm in the Night will feature 15 numbers.  Nine will be Irish dance and six will be musical, including the bagpipes.  Visit www.facebook.com/rhythminthenight to keep closely informed of all the news on the show, including trailers, performance dates, and tickets!

WSB: What is the significance in choosing Sarasota, or more specifically a more intimate venue like the Irish Rover, for Rhythm in the Night’s opening performance?

Boros: I moved to Sarasota 6 years ago and could not have chosen a better destination that is so heavily involved in the arts, music, and dance.  Within Sarasota exists multiple theatres and opera houses, which showcase brilliant productions.  However, the one art form that I have a deep passion for is rarely seen in this town.  This is why I am debuting and basing Rhythm in the Night in Sarasota.  Rhythm in the Night has a huge support base from the regulars of the Irish rover, to the theatre enthusiasts that frequent downtown and main street weekly.  Irish dance is the most popular form of dance in the world, and Rhythm in the Night will be an excellent addition to the artsy portfolio that Sarasota already has.  This has been a 10 year journey for me since the concept of Rhythm in the Night, and has been well worth the wait to have such a brilliant group of dancers and musicians to help the vision become a reality in our hometown of Sarasota.

WSB: What is the size of the production’s cast and what is their level of talent?

Boros: Rhythm in the Night will feature the highest level of dance and musician talent.  The dance cast will consist of 7 female dancers and 5 male dancers.  All the dancers are of the highest skill level, and many have toured with productions around the globe.  The highly talented Gillian McCormack is a certified dance teacher with her Aeppli TCRG, and will be playing the lead good girl.  The brilliant Caitlin Ward, a championship level dancer, will be playing the bad girl.  Supporting our leads, and who will also have the opportunity to play lead roles themselves,  include the very talented Jamie McMillan, Hana Kenny, Bethanie Claussen, Sarabeth Smith, and Jourdan Miller.  Our 2 male lead dancers include Paul Beardsley, who will be playing our lead good guy, and is a championship level dancer who has performed in many productions.  The lead bad guy will be played by me.

Supporting our male leads is a very experienced group of championship level Irish dancers.  The musicians in Rhythm in the Night will be lead by none other than the talents of Paul Duffy.  Paul Duffy toured the world with Duffy’s International Circus, and later went on to tour with the Commitments, and even performed on the Eurovision song contest in front of 20 million viewers.  We are honored to have him be a part of our cast.  He will be leading other musical talents that include Geoffrey Brady on vocals singing an a capella version of Luke Kelly’s Raglan Road, Kevin Weigand on the bagpipes from the City of Sarasota Pipe Band, Theresa Hassard on the violin, and many more.  The diversity of talent in Rhythm in the Night will give ticket holders an Irish experience they will never forget!

WSB: Where can one get tickets and what will the cost be?

Boros: Rhythm in the Night is currently in rehearsals and will debut in the Fall of 2010.  We are spending every minute we can to ensure people coming to see the show will experience the best in Irish dance and music.  Opening dates for Rhythm in the Night and information on ticket availability will be announced on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rhythminthenight.

WSB: Even landmark productions like Cats and Riverance have a shelf life.  What is the potential of Rhythm in the Night and what is your ultimate goal with it?

Boros: That’s a great question, Gregg.  Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance has been touring for 14 years straight.  Riverdance has been touring for 16 years.  I would like to thank Michael Flatley for opening the door for myself, and countless others in the Irish dance community.  Without him, this opportunity would not be here for me today.  Both Riverdance and Lord of the Dance have had an amazing run.  Lord of the Dance has sold more tickets than any other production in the world.  It was an honor to be a part of it, and something I will cherish forever, and has helped shape me into the person I am today.  I believe the demand for Irish dance will always be around.  The records that these shows have attained supports this belief.

There is something about 20 people on stage hitting 32 taps a second at the same time to fast-paced Irish music that people cannot get enough of.  There is a certain energy that is there when that happens and is like magic.  Especially in smaller venues where this experience becomes much more personal.  As I mentioned earlier, I created Rhythm in the Night for smaller more intimate style venues.  This ensures the best experience for the audience.  We are launching the show in Sarasota, Florida.  However, we already have generated interest from many different dinner theatres, and several cruise lines, that are looking for an Irish dance show to fill their seats.  Succeeding opening weekend, we plan to take Rhythm in the Night on the road and do extended runs at these small venues.  With such a talented cast of dancers and musicians, and such great support from our friends in Sarasota, look for Rhythm in the Night performing soon at a venue near you!



2 Responses to “Rhythm in the Night – Irish Concept Becomes American Reality”

  1. Brian White

    I really love this poster art!

  2. P T P

    Good article!