Thursday, August 6, 2009

Burn the Floor

The dancing is spectacular and the costumes are to die for, but the other major elements of a Broadway show -- story and characters to name two -- are nowhere to be found. Being called the first Broadway show of the new season, Burn the Floor is miscast in that role. It would be more at home in a dance hall. As it is, it’s glitzy and sometimes exciting to watch, but not proper fare for The Great White Way. Your eyes might love it, but you can leave your intellect and emotions at home.

This dance revue, inspired by a floor show for Elton John’s 50th birthday in 1997, has been touring the world for a decade. The dancing partners, introduced at the end by name and country, reflect nations far and near. Director and choreographer Jason Gilkison oversees a cast of 32 without one false move. Janet Hine is responsible for the gorgeous costumes.

The band is great, playing everything from waltzes to disco to salsa. Rebecca Tapia sings for several of the numbers and her electrifying voice makes those performances even more exciting. Ricky Rojas also sings; they are backed by the fabulous musicians Henry Soriano, Roger Squitero, David Mann and Earl Maneein.

The cast features Henry Byalikov ("Superstars of Dance"), Sharna Burgess ("So You Think You Can Dance"), Kevin Clifton (International IDSF Open Champion), Sasha Farber (three-time Junior & Youth Latin Australian Champion), Jeremy Garner (six-time Australian Amateur Latin finalist), Gordana Grandosek (Italian Open Champion), Patrick Helm (Welsh Open Champion), Sarah Hives ("Dancing with the Stars"), Melanie Hooper (two-time Australian Professional Latin Champion), Peta Murgatroyd ("Dancing with the Stars"), Giselle Peacock (four-time U.S Champion), Nuria Santalucia (two-time Australian Latin Champion), Sarah Soriano (8th in the world, British Open Championship – Youth Latin American), Damon and Rebecca Sugden (three-time Asian Pacific Ballroom Champions), Trent Whiddon (Australia's "Dancing with the Stars"), Damian Whitewood (Australasia Champion), and Robin Windsor (Ballroom & Latin International finalist). Now through Aug. 16 they will be joined by special guest stars Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

The high point of the evening for me was the finale done to “Proud Mary,” which brought dancers into the aisles and filling the stage. It gave meaning to the expression “rock the house.” That theatre was pulsating!

Overall the show is entertaining, but it dragged for me at times. Two hours of watching nonstop dancing was too much. (Now if it had been the ballet that would be different.) I would have preferred 90 minutes with no intermission.

Burn the Floor plays the Longacre Theatre, 220 W. 48th St., through Oct. 18. Tickets are available by visiting or by calling (212) 239-6200. For more information go to

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