Wednesday, April 27, 2011

review - Burn the Floor

CRITIC'S PICK
Burn the Floor
directed & choreographed by Jason Gilkison
Pantages Theatre
through May 8

Although an avid fan of dancing, I have never considered myself an expert. Hardly. But...I know when I am moved, moved to the brink...and Jason Gilkison's dance spectacular Burn the Floor, now on tour and at the Pantages until Sunday May 8 only, has enough vitality and style to keep audiences jumping for joy. Yes, there are many similar shows, but this one's definitive!

With 20 dancers, some alumni from So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, live percussionists, as well as prerecorded music, two live singers and a simple central staircase, this show does not need background projections or a variety of gimmicky artistic transitions to maintain interest level. The sexy, energy-charged dancers by themselves provide all the sparks of electricity. Being a show about ballroom dancing, all styles are included like the cha cha, the samba, rumba, paso doble, tango, jive and other types of swing, and, for the older set, the slower Waltz and Viennese Waltz. It's without question internationally flavored. But connecting one form to another is what can really slow down the pace and get audience rustling in their seats for lack of focus. Not here. It all goes so fast from one number to the next it's like a big parade, and if you even blink, you may very well miss something... ecstatic. The symmetry of pairs, male and female groups opposing each other and other patterns are amazingly executed. And... there's enough flesh - both female and male - on display to keep both sexes delighted.

Songs range from "Let's Face the Music and Dance" to "Malagena" to "It Don't Mean a Thing(If It Ain't Got That Swing)" to "Nights in White Satin" to "Harlem Nocturne" to "Matador" to "Proud Mary" to "Turn the Beat Around". There's music to suit all ages.

The dancers come from  as far away as Great Britain, Australia, Venezuela and Russia, including Anya Garnis, Pasha Kovalev, Santo Costa, Igor Dogoter, Sasha Farber, Natalia Gorshkova, Karen Hauer, Faye Huddleston, Kevin Clifton, Ash Leigh Hunter, Robbie Kmetoni, Janette Manrava, Giselle Peacock, Damien Samuel, Aljaz Skorjanec, Emma Slater, Sarah Sortano, Gary Wright, Peter Saul and Vonzell Solomon, featured female vocalist. Great percussionists are Joseph Malone and Henry Soriano.

Burn the Floor is scorching entertainment  whose two hours simply fly. It's a lot more fun than watching dance on TV, and the brightly colorful costumes by Jane Hine and beautifully balanced and deeply hued lighting design by Rick Belzer add dynamic touches to an evening of sheer bliss thanks mostly to Jason Gilkison and above all to these fabulous dancers whose energy does really burn!

5 out of 5 stars

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