Ballroom dancing turns fast and furiousLesley Stones
Lesley Stones: Burn The Floor is hot but a little heartless.
There’s no doubt that Burn The Floor is the hottest dance show to illuminate the stage for years. Possibly for ever.
It’s slick, sexy, extremely proficient and daringly choreographed, with some gorgeous bodies performing some amazing movements.
The show wowed audiences here last year and is back after a makeover, because such a huge hit is clearly a concept worth repeating. This time it’s The Temperature Rises Tour, where skirts are shorter, legs kick higher and the drums beat harder.
Choreographer and director Jason Gilkison has changed five songs, re-choreographed the others and re-costumed the second act. The lighting is absolutely brilliant, and two drummers with monstrous drum kits and two singers add extra interest through their interaction with the dancers.
So why do I have a niggling discontent that says I wasn’t blown away?
Probably because on the second viewing it’s lost the “wow” factor that holds first-time audiences spellbound as ballroom and Latin American dancing morphs into a raunchy, dazzling show.
But The Temperature Rises has sacrificed sensuality for sexy. I like dancing to be all about seducing the partner, not impressing an audience, and here there’s a definite feeling that the audience comes first and partners are almost incidental. Besides, it’s all so terribly fast and furious that I kept checking to see if Vin Diesel was among the dancers.
He could have been, because there’s a guy to suit every taste – bold and bald, short and sweet, big and black, blond and foppish.
The girls come in a variety of styles too, with stunning bodies that make sure there’s never a moment when your eyes aren’t glued to the stage.
This is fast-paced, aggressive dancing that’s sexually aggressive too. I’m all for equality, of course, but the relentless pace that screamed “you want my body and I want yours” did grow a little tedious.
Some of the action is so brazen I’m surprised someone didn’t shout “get a room,” while one of the girls fluffs her hair so often it looks like she’s got fleas.
A few of the cast do gaze seductively at their partners, especially in a beautiful scene that was all long flowing satin gown and buttoned-up tailcoat. You know, that old fashioned stuff.
It was performed superbly, but slower and less frenetic than the rest of the show. A full evening of this elegant style would grow quite dull, yet it drew one of the most enthusiastic rounds applause, so perhaps we are all romantics at heart.
The rest of the time the 18 dancers were kicking, whirling, leaping and twirling with enormous energy and huge skill. It was brilliant to see local champion dancer Keoikantse Motsepe among them, and he had some lovely leading roles to highlight his talent.
The favourite part for me was the Spanish section, where the pace slows a fraction and the simmering sensuality turns up a notch. The matador scene was wonderfully seductive, with its drama and tension a welcome change of pace in the hi-energy performance.
If you haven’t seen Burn the Floor do so, because the wow factor still delivers a mighty thrill. If you’ve seen it before, well, you know what to expect, and they certainly deliver.
It’s a great show and technically flawless. I just wish there was more heart behind the heat.
Burn The Floor runs at Joburg Theatre until August 19.
Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African.
She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music paper, then worked for various newspapers before spending four fun-filled years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a technology magazine.
Lesley was the Information Technology Editor for Business Day for 12 years before quitting to go freelance, specialising in travel & leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. Her absolute passions are travel, theatre, the cinema, wining and dining.
Web site: http://www.joburgtheatre.com
Joburg Theatre Complex, Loveday Street Braamfontein Johannesburg Gauteng South Africa