Broadway Across America
Fox Theatre, Atlanta
By Deborah Searle
Burn The Floor is a ballroom blitz! The new Broadway production of Burn The Floor, currently touring the States, is adorned with glitz and glamour and gets the audience dancing in their seats. You know you’ve seen an inspiring show when the audience member beside you inquires about taking up dance classes for the first time, in her 40s!
Directed and choreographed by award winning Jason Gilkison, the show has the correct mix of slow and fast, romantic and sexy. The talented team of 20 dancers is accompanied by two outstanding vocalists and two percussionists who bring the music to life and add to the overall sensory appeal.
It is a star studded cast, smattered with celebrity dancers from So You Think You Can Dance US and Australia, Dancing with the Stars and Superstars of Dance. Vocalist Vonzell Solomon was even the second runner-up in the fourth season of American Idol. Dancers Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev, ‘All Stars’ from SYTYCD were definite crowd favorites as they played leading roles in the production.
A highlight for me was watching young Robbie Kmetoni, winner of SYTYCD Australia, perform with such style and commitment. Robbie, who had never taken ballroom dance before competing in the TV phenomenon, is a contemporary and jazz dancer. Before the show I wondered if he’d be able to hold his own surrounded on stage by award winning ballroom champions from across the globe. Robbie, however, was given some jazz based choreography, mixed with ballroom partnering where he could highlight his strengths such as his flexibility, leap and kicks. He was a strong performer and a joy to watch. He had great attack in the quick ballroom group numbers and was very convincing, dancing next to his colleagues, many who have been ballroom stars since childhood.
Dancer Giselle Peacock was a stand out. Much shorter than most of the other dancers, she made up for her lack of height with her attack and feisty execution. She was the perfect blend of technique and sex appeal. Her shorter legs seemed to make her foot work crisper than her long legged counterparts and her black curly hair whipped up a frenzy. A slow rumba duo to Burn for You, with partner Kevin Clifton was breathtaking, yet her fast Cha Chas were just as exciting.
Burn The Floor is a celebration of all things ballroom. The costumes are stunning, ostentatious and colorful and the dancers are technically strong and passionate performers. We enjoyed everything from Viennese Waltz to Jive, Cha Cha, Swing, Salsa and even Paso Doble. A Paso Doble dance off between two couples was a highlight and a Quickstep/Lindy/Jive/Swing performance to “I’m a Ding Dong Daddy” was fun and energizing, leading us into the interval wanting to see more.
My only criticism of the show would be that a storyline, even if just a lose one, would have been helpful to tie all the dances together and keep the mind engaged. However, there was enough variety, adroit dancing and dynamic vocals that the show was enjoyable without one. I left the theatre inspired and in awe of the dance talent that I had seen. Burn The Floor definitely has a ‘wow’ factor and an energy of its own.