• Ally Gavigan:
  • 14 November 2017

Meet Justin Boros

Check out our interview with LOTD lead and respected Irish dance show producer! Find out about his new Christmas show!

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We are delighted to announce that we have managed to grab an interview with Justin Boros. Many of you will know him from LOTD & Rhythm in the Night where he has played the male lead.

What you might not know is that Justin is also the producer and director of Rhythm in the Night! He also has a brand new Irish dance Christmas production called Carol of the King, The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular, which is just about to start touring the US.

 

Hi Justin, thanks for taking the time to talk to Antonio Pacelli, Can we start by asking when did you start Irish dancing?

Hello! I started Irish dancing at the late age of 15.

What inspired you to start?

I saw a performance of Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance on PBS when I was watching television one night.  I had no idea what I was watching, I was flipping through the channels and that moment changed my life forever. 

I was watching men in masks dance in unison and it was all very masculine.  At the time I was a sophomore in high school and had started with our state championship basketball team.  I had no prior dance experience or interest in dance. 

A few nights later I saw the same thing on TV and watched the entire performance and learned it was Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance and the PBS special was for their upcoming tour stop coming to Cleveland, Ohio.  I took my family to see the performance and the rest was history. 

I bought myself a pair of Irish dance shoes and taught myself to Irish dance in my parent's basement every night until 4 in the morning.

A year and a half later I put together an audition tape of me performing the Lord of the Dance dances.  I figured my best shot to get into LOTD was if I already knew the steps, so I painstakingly wrote down each step, constantly rewinding the VCR tape of Lord of the Dance until I had every step. 

We had a family vacation planned for the summer between my junior and senior year to Disney in Florida where Lord of the Dance was performing in Epcot.  I handed my audition tape to the dance captains and was told I wouldn't hear anything for a month.  The next night I was asked to audition on stage when the park closed and the following day was offered a 26-page contract.  I toured with Lord of the Dance for two and a half years all over the world.


Did you compete in feisanna at any point?

I did compete in feisanna when I started dancing.  I remember I came in last place in every dance in my first feis.  I worked very hard after that and won first place in every dance in my next feis.  Following competing in feisanna, I dedicated all my time to show dancing, as that is what inspired me to begin dancing in the first place.

You are a big guy, did this matter when you started? 

My physique was different when I started, I was much leaner at 6’3” 180lbs.  I was in shape from basketball, but as I started learning Irish dance it helped my endurance in basketball dramatically.

How did it affect your performances? Did you have to adapt your style in any way?  

When I chose to create my own production company, Two Step Productions, and pursue my own Irish dance show, Rhythm in the Night -The Irish Dance Spectacular, I envisioned myself being an evil villain. I didn't want to use costuming to convey this instead, I wanted to have a real muscular physique. This hadn't been done before in Irish dance and I wanted to defy what people expected and their image of an Irish dancer. 

I did have to adapt my style to suit.  I had to alter my choreography so the steps I do match the big masculine role that I play.  I do not perform front clicks and other more agile moves, but include more stamps and dramatic choreography as now I am 6’3”, 270 lbs.

How hard was it to bulk up and put on so much muscle? 

Building muscle is a completely different approach to getting lean.  You have to consume more calories than you are expending in order for your muscles to grow. 

My workouts consist of a lot of heavy weights and focusing on one or two body parts per workout, such as chest and triceps, where both involve pushing movements.  I try and hit the muscle from many different angles with different exercises and repetitions and usually go to failure on most sets.  I always finish off my workout with some cardio and ab work. 

It is a fine balance since I am a dancer to need to maintain being agile and light on my feet while maintaining muscle mass.  It requires proper nutrition and proper planning of meals of what to eat and when to eat around your workout, so it is a constant work in progress. 

The key is consistency and to keep going.  Usually, the best workouts are the ones I initially did not feel like doing as at the end you have that extra sense of accomplishment.  What you eat is extremely important as well, you cannot outwork your mouth haha.  I do enjoy my cheat days!

I am also a big advocate of the FST-7 training system or Fascia Stretch Training 7 program.  You basically do 7 sets of the last exercise in your workout and it stretches the outer layer of your muscle fascia so your muscles underneath can grow without as much resistance.  This is the strategy many professional bodybuilders use and I attribute this to much of my individual gains.

Do you have any tips for slim Irish dancers who want to add some muscle? 

Absolutely, the better shape you are in, even in your upper body as a competitive or show Irish dancer, the better you will perform.  If you are looking to add muscle or achieve a certain physique then research online the strategies that bodybuilders or cross fitters use to attain that physique.  Regardless, it will require a lot of dedication and proper nutrition.  With the right mindset, hopefully, a young and upcoming Irish dancer will be able to give me a night off some time in the future smile

Did you always know you wanted to show dance? 

Absolutely! The moment I saw Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance on television was the moment I knew I would be dedicating at least my next 20 to 30 years of my life to not only the dance, but production and the entertainment side as well.


 

Rhythm in the Night has been so successful year after year. What do you put this down to? 

I believe you are only as good as those you surround yourself with.  MPI Talent Agency has been a fantastic and extremely supportive partner.  

We spent many years producing Rhythm in the Night to bring it to stage and we wanted it to be different, but still appealing to all ages and all demographics. 

People come to our shows expecting the cookie cutter traditional Irish show and we always hear the same three things from patrons when they leave...

"This what not what I expected, it blew my mind, when are you coming back??" 

Andrew and Jared DePolo worked side by side with us for 2 years to create the original soundtrack and brought a whole new dimension to possibilities of Irish dancing.  We continue to look at the show and improve it every tour as well. 

A great product is a must.  We also have the best team of dancers in the world and have created a family. 

From my own personal experience, and from what I have heard from other dancers, is that with some other shows they feel they are just a number and expendable at any moment. 

We wanted to create a whole new show experience for the dancers so it is fun, enjoyable, personal and their loyalty is rewarded. It is a family environment where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. 

Another key factor is that Two Step Productions is involved in every area of the business.  This is key to any show or business because if it doesn't work on paper, unfortunately, failure is inevitable. 

We had to analyze every aspect of the business to create a business model that is sustainable.  This involves understanding and being able to work and execute in all the spaces our businesses exist in.  We have created many great relationships with people in our space that maybe another show would not strive to do. 

We also try and differentiate ourselves from others shows. 

One of the things we pride ourselves on is being the easiest groups to work with at venues.  We have a very important meeting at the beginning of each tour for dancers to understand that they represent the show on and off the stage and being polite and please and thank you and being nice and respectful to all venue staff is key to our future.  We have received several emails and messages from managers of venues that we were the easiest group of performers they have ever worked with. 

Overall, a great team that shares the same vision, understanding our business space and being creative and executing over the years has helped us grow to get to where we are at.

 

What has been your most precious memory from your touring?

I was asked to perform the lead role in Lord of the Dance several months after I joined Troupe 2, the troupe that toured the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South America. 

I also was featured in many newspapers all over the country for joining the world's largest dance show after only a year and a half of teaching myself to dance. 

Another fabulous memory is we did a summer performing in amphitheatres outside.  You don’t see that these days and that was a special time when Irish dancing was certainly at its peak. 

Also, the lifelong friends that I met and continue to keep in touch with. 

We just performed this last tour with Rhythm in the Night in Denver, Colorado to a sold-out crowd.  My best friend and his wife were both in Lord of the Dance and I brought them out to dance in the last number in Rhythm in the Night.  I remember sitting in the audience back when I was 16 watching Lord of the Dance seeing them in the show on stage.  To have them dance in my show 16 years later was a dream come true and very proud moment.

What advice would you give to younger dancers wanting to show dance? 

Show dancing is completely different to competitive dancing. 

We look for very skilled dancers with experience and accomplishments, but just as important is their attitude and will to win. 

Touring is like travelling with a family, with very long days and it can get extremely tiring.  So we look for people with great attitudes and are solution-oriented and very outgoing and friendly. 

These type of individuals contribute to creating a great touring experience for everyone.  We also look at individual's Facebook/Instagram and social media sites to gauge their behaviour as well as other metrics to determine if that individual would be a good fit. 

Overall advice would be to work very hard and if you want to be a show dancer, brand yourself on Facebook and have a presence on the internet that reflects that. Show your accomplished and display the appropriate work ethic and behavior so a show would want to hire you! 

You are also listed as a producer of your latest show. Is it difficult to be the lead and the producer? 

It requires a lot of work being the creator, producer and lead dancer.  I also work very closely with our agents at MPI Talent Agency on a daily basis.  Two Step Productions also consists of Mike Lovine Jr. and Gregg Senko who assist me with the tours and many other responsibilities. 

You certainly have to surround yourself with the right people who share your passion and have the same vision.  It is a team effort and everyone has their part, but it is an insane amount of work to put together a tour and requires excellent execution from every person on the team. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your new tour? 

Rhythm in the Night, The Irish Dance Spectacular has become the fastest growing Irish dance show in the U.S. and we are gearing up for our 5th Anniversary Tour this Spring that includes a run at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. 

Due to the success and growth of Rhythm in the Night, we wanted to create a Christmas version of the production for the Holiday season.  There are some traditional Irish music Christmas shows that tour with some Irish dancing, but not an Irish dance Christmas spectacular with all dance and an inspiring storyline. 

We’ve spent the last several years designing the show, production and the music. We worked closely with MPI Talent Agency to build the first tour.  The response to the show from Presenters far exceeded our expectations so we are thrilled to have a full first-year tour for Carol of the King. 

The music was composed by the same composers we had for Rhythm in the Night, Twin Composers Andrew and Jared DePolo of DePolo Music.  They are extremely talented and have created original orchestral versions of many Holiday favourites that we can’t wait to perform to in the upcoming Christmas tour.

 

 

Quick Fire Round

Favourite meal?  

Chicken and Rice

Favourite holiday location? 

Anywhere with good food and a nice gym

What was the last box set you watched? 

Michae Flatley’s during some long bus rides on our last tour.

Want to see Justin on tour?

Information on the Spring tour of Rhythm in the Night can be found at www.RhythmInTheNight.com or via our facebook page Facebook.com/RhythmInTheNight

For Carol of the King, The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular please go to www.CarolOfTheKing.com and Facebook.com/CarolOfTheKing

Tour Dates

November 30, 2017 Martinsburg, WV Apollo Civic Theatre
December 1, 2017 Hanover, PA Eichelberger PAC
December 2, 2017 Norwich, NY Martin W. Kappel Theater
December 3, 2017 Cranston, RI Park Theatre
December 4, 2017 Cranston, RI Park Theatre
December 5, 2017 Ormond Beach, FL Ormond Beach PAC
December 6, 2017 Mount Dora, FL Mount Dora
December 7, 2017 TN Cumberland County Playhouse
December 8, 2017 Newberry, SC Newberry Opera Housee
December 9, 2017 Wilson, NC The Boykin Cultural Center
December 10, 2017 Stanly County, NC Stanly County Agri-Civic Center
December 11, 2017 Stanly County, NC Stanly County Agri-Civic Center
December 12, 2017 Bonita Springs, FL SWFL Event Center
December 13, 2017 Bonita Springs, FL SWFL Event Center
December 14, 2017 Lima, OH Crouse Performance Hall
December 15, 2017 Marietta, OH Peoples Bank Theatre
December 16, 2017 Wabash, IN Honeywell Center
December 17, 2017 Akron, OH E.J. Thomas Hall
December 18, 2017 Akron, OH E.J. Thomas Hall
December 19, 2017 Akron, OH E.J. Thomas Hall
December 20, 2017 Akron, OH E.J. Thomas Hall
December 21, 2017 Schenectady, NY Proctors Theatre
December 22, 2017 Rockville Centre, NY Madison Theatre
December 23, 2017 Toms River, NJ Grunin Center

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Angelina - Russia
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