SCHENECTADY — The Irish Dance Christmas Spectacular of the Carol of the King stopped at Proctors Thursday night and entertained a near-capacity crowd. The company, which is on an almost month-long tour, is the brainchild of Justin Boros, who besides being the show’s producer and director of choreography danced as King Solomon. He was a power unto himself.
As the legend goes, the sorceress Circe and her minions the Frost bewitch the King in hopes of banishing Christmas. But his Queen and his brother Aidan eventually rescue him. All this took place over a series of short routines that were interspersed with Christmas carols played live by a flutist, two violinists and backed by the heavily amplified recorded music. There were 11 segments in Act I and 23 in Act II.
The dance numbers told the tale sometimes with one or another of the main characters backed by three to five of the 19-member troupe. All the dancers were precise, light as air, very adept and agile. Irish step dancing is unique in that hands are kept on the waist or at the sides with a still upper body but the feet set up a rhythmic patter with occasional kicks, little leaps or even a few entrechats. The men wore hard heels and their percussive stomps were very amplified. The women wore soft shoes and worked mostly on the balls of their feet.
The music, which ran the gamut from Celtic style music to paraphrases of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker,” was composed by Andrew and Jared DePolo. The set included a throne with an arch over it, two decorated Christmas trees, and some other props and ever changing colored search lights that often swung out over the crowd.
As the King, Boros was a hulking presence with a physique like a body builder and muscles that gleamed with oil. But his fierce characterization crossed the footlights and supported his brilliant footwork. Often his choreography was a call and response: he set up a complicated patter and his troupe echoed it.
Sergey Nazarov as Aidan was equally brilliant and lent his character a certain intensity. Their synergy was best when he and Boros traded insults in footwork duels. The crowd screamed its pleasure. The ladies seemed less involved although Jessie Driscoll as Circe and Tehyn Baxter as Queen Brighid danced well enough. The final segments had the full ensemble working without music and hitting the floor with strong and varied rhythms. The crowd was so raucously enthusiastic that Boros had everyone repeat the final routine.