Burn the Floor: Fire in the Ballroom at the Peacock Theatre 19/10/16

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Burn the Floor is now nearly twenty years old, having first debuted at, of all places, at a birthday party for Elton John in 1997. Wind forward to the present day and the pull of Strictly Come Dancing on our TV screens has never been so intense and this is a show which undoubtedly benefits from Strictly fever, and rightly so.

Peta Roby and Jason Gilkison’s work is a relentlessly demanding workout for its dancers as each one performs every movement with such terrifying power and conviction it’s remarkable they don’t burst off the stage. This is a show that benefits from a plotless narrative, enabling the dancers to be free to pack in as much as possible. Numbers are instead grouped together by genre and mood, there is a gentle Blue Danube opening that lulls the audience into a false sense of twee security before unleashing it’s darker side, all vampish raunchiness, leather and whips.

As the show settles into it’s Latin Quarter, the audience become more familiar with the cast and it’s varied talents; Jemma Armstrong demonstrates some jaw-dropping acro skills with some brave and unusual jumps and drops with her partner. It’s hard to ignore the the rippling physiques of the male performers, however Johannes Radebe stands out for his strength and style in the Act Two rumba to Angels too.  It’s an undoubted highlight of the night with slick, smooth lifts, while still emotively danced with his elegant partner, Lauren Oakley, all making for a moving performance. Victoria Martin also stands out in a smouldering Carmen tango which follows.

The evening features a diverse range of music, divine costuming, brash lighting and energetic support from a live band and singers, Jessica Lingotti and Mikee Introna, providing the dancers with a very brief respite from the otherwise warp speed costume changes. The show’s pace remains utterly remorseless throughout moving from enchanting Waltzes to sassy Sambas in a single breath. Each number is tight, clean and full of dynamism as the cast fizz across the floor, quite literally Fire in the Ballroom.

The explosive finale to Ballroom Blitz ensures the audience are fully on their feet in what appears to be the most energetic choreography of the night, this cast are still ripping across the floor with all the agility and attitude of the very first number.

Burn the Floor has a reputation as a hot-bed of talent for unearthing new Strictly professionals and on this showing I wouldn’t be surprised if we had seen some dance stars of the future in action.

First published on PlaystoSee.com

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