BWW Reviews: Utah Symphony's BALLROOM WITH A TWIST Sparkles and Shines

By: Feb. 05, 2013

In Ballroom with a Twist at Abravanel Hall, the Utah Symphony sparkled and its guest artists (culled from TV reality competitions) shined.

The Utah Symphony and conductor Jerry Steichen seemed to be having a blast as they skillfully navigated from pop to country to classical to Latin. Broadway was well represented with standards like the Gershwins' "I Got Rhythm" and more contemporary songs like Shaiman and Wittman's "Without Love."

The vocalists for the evening were American Idol (AI) alumni Gina Glocksen, David Hernandez, and Von Smith. All three showed great range as they tackled each style of music; they proved themselves to be much more versatile than AI painted them to be.

Utah native Randi Lynn Strong, Legacy Perez, and Jonathan Platero, who all competed on So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), added dashes of non-ballroom dance that proved to be highlights of the show, including contemporary and breakdance styles.

It was even more of a treat when the Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) pros were on stage, simply because of their high familiarity to the audience due to multiple seasons on the show (as opposed to just one competitive season on AI or SYTYCD). Dmitry Chaplin and Utah native Chelsie Hightower actually competed on SYTYCD one season before beginning their respective stints on DWTS. Joining them at this concert was fellow DWTS pro Tristan MacManus and three members of the DWTS troupe. Unfortunately, most likely because of scheduling and production considerations, Chaplin, Hightower, and MacManus had little time on the stage with only a small handful of dances among them. This was a bit of a disappointment for their fans, regardless of the quality of dancing throughout the evening by the troupe members and other ensemble dancers. And the quality of dancing was very high for all involved.

A minor qualm that could be made was that Latin dance was overrepresented compared to the other styles of dance. However, the show, which was conceived by DWTS pro Louis Van Amstel, was well put together with fast-paced transitions that made the night move along swiftly to its satisfying conclusion.

For information about other forthcoming Utah Symphony concerts, visit For tickets, call 1-888-451-ARTS (2787) or visit

Photo Credit: L-R Tristan MacManus, Chelsie Hightower, Dmitry Chaplin