Interview: Harley Medcalf of BURN THE FLOOR - BE BRAVE. TOGETHER. at Cool Japan Park Osaka WW Hall

"Yet tomorrow we'll be better" says founder of Burn the Floor

By: Jun. 25, 2023
Interview: Harley Medcalf of BURN THE FLOOR - BE BRAVE. TOGETHER. at Cool Japan Park Osaka WW Hall
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Harley Medcalf is a founder and a producer of the Burn the floor. In a career spanning 52 years, he has worked with artists as diverse as Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Billy Joel, Michael Crawford, Billy Connolly, Queen, Michael Flatley, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Kenny G and Sarah Brightman.

How did you feel when you find out you are coming back to Japan after 5 years?

Very happy. Normally we come to this country every second year. And of course with COVID, it was very difficult for everybody for the whole world, so the survival of a dance company is a minor thing. The struggle for us is to keep everybody together. I think the strength of a company comes from various things. We've been through so many things. American tour stopped on September 11th 2001. So sadly the tour was canceled, we came back from that which was very difficult. We’d been touring during the SARS epidemic. And the bird flu epidemic. We come back as a stronger company. I think the COVID was the biggest test that we were shot down for nearly 2 years. So we survive and we're stronger.

What was the hardest part through the production process, and how did you manage it?

Normally Burn for floor has a minimum of 9 months in the year so we did the short tour in  the UK last year, and then nothing until Japan. So normally we would have a very long rehearsal period. Normally we would have all these different elements that have been working in a show for months and months and months. It really required everybody in the company, the dancers, the musicians, the production to make this happen without the normal flow. The high level of fitness, focus and energy. So come into Japan before other countries was very difficult. But we were taught which is the nature of this company and we were successful.

Which is your favorite part of this show and why? 

My favorite part is the end because I get to hug all the dancers and tell them that I love them. I enjoy every minute of the show, but when I get to see them back stage and tell them that a great job.

What do you think is the best part about Burn the floor?

It’s the energy. The show is very physical and the dancers understand that the more energy they give to the audience, the more energy they get back. It’s a big physical commitment. Every Burn the floor show is done on a hundred percent. Never 90, never 85. And often in some forming companies don't give a hundred percent. That sets us apart. Years ago, I work with Michael, the Irish dancer. Every night you would say to Michael “That was an amazing show, it was incredible” and he would say “Tomorrow will be better” and he believed that and I love that ever since. We can always be better. I use that a lot when talking about Burn the floor dancers. That was great and yet tomorrow we will be better.

Do you have any message to those who haven't watched it yet but interested in?

Come next time. We will be better, we will work harder and we’ll always be better. We’ll never disappoint you.

When is the next Japan tour?

I do hope that we can return every 18 months or two years. So I'm hoping 2025.

Photo Credit: [BURN THE FLOOR]


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