Review: WALANBAA YULU-GI: BURN THE FLOOR at The Palms At Crown

This is a show that you don’t want to miss. 4.5 Stars!

By: Jul. 25, 2023
Review: WALANBAA YULU-GI: BURN THE FLOOR at The Palms At Crown
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Are you ready for a night of ballroom dancing excellence? Then Burn The Floor is perfect for you! Think favourites such as the foxtrot, jive, rumba, tango, samba, swing and waltz, all of which are exquisitely and expertly performed by an all-Australian cast of world-renowned dancers in the current production, Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor. This is a show that you don't want to miss. 4.5 Stars!

This Australian tour of Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor, which currently is playing at The Palms at Crown in Melbourne, before then touring around Australia, not only utilises the finesse of ballroom and the sizzle of Latin dance in its storytelling toolkit, it also, in collaboration with the inspiring First Nations performer and proud Gamilaraay man, Mitch Tambo, showcases First Nations music, dance and culture. This embracement of First Nations culture into the world of ballroom makes Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor, truly unique, exciting and quite frankly, inspiring. I left the theatre with a big smile on my face.

Review: WALANBAA YULU-GI: BURN THE FLOOR at The Palms At Crown
Mitch Tambo, Sermsah Bin Saad and Jemma-Sue Armstrong 
Photography by Belinda Strodder

Burn The Floor as a success is certainly not new. Over the last 25 years it has been seen on Broadway, the West End twice, and travelled to 30 countries and over 150 cities. With 2023 marking Burn the Floor's 11th World Tour and versions of the show also currently being featured on three separate cruise ships, it is no exaggeration to say that Burn The Floor truly is a theatrical powerhouse.

How did Burn The Floor begin? Well in 1997 at a fabulous costume party! Thrown by Sir Elton John to celebrate his 50th birthday, soon to be founder and producer of Burn The Floor, Harley Medcalf, was invited to said birthday party, and happened to notice the partygoer's palpable enthusiasm around the entertainment booked for the party. What was the entertainment… you guessed it, ballroom dancing! Medcalf describes turning to his wife and muttering "I see a show…. just look at the audience, they are going crazy for this". 25 years later in 2023, not much appears to have changed! Director Peta Roby, who has spent 50 years competing, directing and performing ballroom dancing, leads the current production of Burn The Floor to success, with the inspiration for Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor begining after Roby witnessed the magic, imagination and creativity of Mitch Tambo at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Review: WALANBAA YULU-GI: BURN THE FLOOR at The Palms At Crown
 Robbie Kmetoni and Jemma-Sue Armstrong
Photography by Belinda Strodder

Tambo' performance in Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor is certainly awe-inspiring and his powerful rendition of "You're the Voice", stunningly sung in the Gamilaraay language, seems relevant now more than ever before. Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor also features songs Tambo has written, which include "Walanbaa", as well as vocals by his wife, Lea Firth, who is a proud West Papuan woman. Principle contemporary First Nations dancer Albert David, and proud Nyikina man, Sermsah Bin Saad (So You Think You Can Dance), also both give strong performances. In addition, under the musical direction of Tyler Azzopardi, who also performs onstage as a musician and vocalist, the music of Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor is exceptional. Superb vocal performances are also provided by other vocalists, which include Mark Stefanoff (The Voice, Kinky Boots).

Then we get to the ballroom dancing. WOW. If you want to see good dancing, look no further than Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor. With creative direction by Alberto Faccioand choreography by Jorja Freeman ( Dancing with the Stars) and Robbie Kmetoni (So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Strictly Come Dancing Live!, Eurovision Song Contest) you are in for a night of sublime ballroom dancing. Faccio, Freeman and Kmetoni also appear onstage as dancers and are joined by the talented Jemma-Sue Armstrong (So You Think You Can Dance), Julian Caillon, Lily Cornish, Sophie Holloway (Radio City Rockettes), Lyu Masuda, Jessica Raffa. Craig Monley, Sriani Argaet and Gustavo Viglio, whom have all appeared on Dancing with the Stars, also appear in Walanbaa Yulu-Gi: Burn The Floor.

To book tickets and for tour information please see below.

Review: WALANBAA YULU-GI: BURN THE FLOOR at The Palms At Crown
Albert David and Gustavo Viglio
Photography by Belinda Strodder



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