Burn the Floor in a heated affair with Cape TownChristina Scholtz
Christina Scholtz: This massive Broadway hit is a passionate interplay of luxurious ballroom and Latin explosives.
Mighty words have been plugged into the mainstream mould of dance. It’s a terrible cliché to describe anything as awesome any more. The word has become as fixed as a weather-beaten political poster to a lopsided South African lamppost.
Labelling itself as ‘Ballroom Reinvented’, Burn the Floor is an electric cocktail preserved in lasting footwork. It was originally designed as a 10 minute performance for Sir Elton John’s 50th birthday celebration some 15 years ago, but when legendary Australian theatre producer Harley Medcalf saw it, he was inspired to create a full stage show.
With the help of choreographer Jason Gilkison, this massive Broadway hit is a passionate interplay of luxurious ballroom and Latin explosives. In a re-choreographed version to the one that sold out in Johannesburg last year, The Temperature Rises tour opened last night at the Artscape on Cape Town’s foreshore, where a packed audience braced itself for white-hot splendour.
Twenty championship dancers from around the globe (including South African local Keoikantse Motsepe) allow a secret entry to past eras. With fast-paced Latin techniques of the Samba, the Cha-Cha and the Jive to the sweeping elegance of a yearningly tender Waltz, The Temperature Rises burns rebelliously through the evolvement of dance.
Although the live music was not up to the performance of the dancers, the clear percussion and energetic lighting succeeded in ravishing the smoky setting. With tight suits and fluent dresses, the dancers invited us to scenes as various as an early 60’s Manhattan or a drifting Edwardian Ballroom, delivering a masterpiece of energy in waves.
Unrestrained and gloriously sinful, the matador-inspired Paso Doble was a particular crowd pleaser. Verbal cooing filled the air without shame as two muscled figures swept a crimson cape in a staged duel. This was a hunt that took on a masterly presence, and climaxed in an ineffable, hauntingly sincere silence.
While all the dancers were magnificent, it was a disappointment to note that some failed to reflect the emotion of the piece on their faces. But even had everything else been mediocre, attendance would be worthwhile simply for the presence of Australia’s current So You Think You Can Dance winner, Robbie Kmetoni, whose flawless technique was matched by his passion.
A performance unlike your average clockwork, an audience high on energy and a theatrical cast of dancers that are nostalgic in ability - The Temperature Rises might well leave you in a fever.
Burn the Floor runs 11 to 29 July at the Artscape Theatre, Cape Town before moving on to Johannesburg and Durban.
021 447 5057
Web site: http://www.whatsonincapetown.com
Artscape Theatre Complex, DF Malan Street Foreshore Cape Town Western Cape South Africa