Burn the Floor at the Shaftesbury Theatre 11/03/13

As I escaped London’s sub-zero temperatures on a mid March evening and entered the Shaftesbury Theatre, I hoped Burn the Floor would do just that. Directed by Jason Gilkison and with a cast of 18 insanely energetic dancers, they enthusiastically sped across the floor for over two hours, barely giving the audience time for thought or indeed to question how they would sustain this kind of energy for the six month run.

Karen Hauer

Karen Hauer

Following Strictly season, there is a lot of fluff that heads to the West End and tours around the country that attempt to emulate that Saturday night institution but in Burn the Floor we finally have something that does this and so much more, this is the kind of show that can remind you why you love dance.

Although this is a show largely targeted at the Strictly faithful with the figures of Krsitina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor looming large on the posters around London, this is a very democratic cast and rightly so as their talent warrants a platform where all can be seen at their best. From Santo Costa and Jemma Armstrong’s punchy Jive to Aljaz Skorjanec and Faye Huddleston’s dreamy Waltz which floats across the floor intermittently between the two acts.

There is no discernible storyline but it doesn’t matter, every emotion is portrayed, acted and lived on the stage. The fast routines are like dance on e-numbers and the slow and powerful Rumba’s and Waltzes are danced with a passion and rawness that make you believe every step. The show brings everything that I felt was missing from Midnight Tango, which I could not help but compare it to, it is slick, sexy and leaves you gasping and at the fearlessness of the cast and wanting more once the curtain has fallen.

Throughout this surprisingly sparsely populated press night performance, I could not help but feel my gaze dragged towards Kevin Clifton and Strictly’s Karen Hauer, however. Their Rumba to Burn for You was the Latin highlight of the show for me, a dance performed with such raw emotion, it generates the kind of atmosphere in the dance of love that only a real life couple can create.

Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff

Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff

Consider then, that this beautiful number is preceded by a dramatic Pasodoble and followed by a sparky Cha Cha and you will begin to understand my appreciation for what Burn the Floor does. It is relentless, frantic, fast, furious and above all constant. Energy levels do not dwindle, not even for a second. A visual feast, every number brings something fresh and exciting to the stage despite the show itself now being nearly fifteen years old. Yes, it’s true I found it pretty flawless, but then I defy any dance fan not to love it just as much.

Originally published in Dance Today – April 2013

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