Saturday, July 24, 2010

Burn The Floor - Shaftesbury Theatre

Like Scott, I headed to Burn The Floor on Wednesday, but unlike him, it has taken me four days to actually getting around to writing about it...

Despite spending a ridiculous amount of my formative years in dance classes or at festivals and competitions held in various northern seaside resorts, I don't actually go to see much dance these days, something this show certainly persuaded me to rectify. Although it's Strictly Come Dancing's Brian Fortuna and Ali Bastian's faces which are emblazoned across the posters, the stars of this show are the large chorus of dancers, made up of couples from the across the world (they were all introduced by name in the finale, a nice touch). As Scott said, Fortuna and Bastian have rather little stage-time and Bastian, while a good dancer, does suffer from being showcased among professionals at the top of their game.

The dances - a good mix of solos, duets, small groups and whole company - are on the whole thematically unrelated, but they flow from one to another with really impressive and inventive ease. Many are driven solely by the fantastic percussionist and drummer who feature on stage throughout the show, meaning the majority are Latin; especially samba and jive and their variations. Understandably so - the talent for those dances in particular on show here is massive. It does mean, though, that pure ballroom is rather under-represented here, and the two big group ballroom dances are not well served by the music: Knights in White Satin and another power ballad I couldn't place. Impressive, then, that one of the most enjoyable and memorable dances of the night is a classic, and un-showy Viennese Waltz.

The best thing about this show, though, (creeping in just ahead of the astonishing energy on display from start to finish) is definitely the choreography. It's hugely creative and shows off individual talent and the magic that comes from a perfectly honed group dance equally well. Burn The Floor has a couple of cheesy moments, but overall it's a lot of fun, the dancing is top notch, and the live music and singing lift the show to a level that makes it deserving of the big audiences that the Strictly faces on the posters will provide.

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