BWW Review: BURN THE FLOOR at Baxter Theatre Centre Shows Off Outstanding International Talent
Celebrating its 20th anniversary and making South Africa its last stop on their global tour, BURN THE FLOOR cha-cha'd its way onto the Baxter Theatre's stage earlier this month where it has been igniting audiences with vibrant dance numbers, glitzy costumes, and live musical accompaniment. An international sensation since the early 2000s with a Broadway and West End run behind its name, what BURN THE FLOOR lacks in cohesion, it makes up for in effortless energy.
Throughout BURN THE FLOOR, musical numbers show off the 'international style' of ballroom dance and it has more than enough happening on stage to get this style across. There were, at times, an overwhelmingly large amount of choreographed pieces happening combined with live musicians and lighting effects. As the production doesn't seem to follow a strict sequence (an informal European street scene is the ambience given in the first act), the amount of action on stage sometimes runs away with itself and can leave one not knowing where to look.
With that being said, choreographer Peta Roby can be greatly commended on her variety of dances and ability to combine them on stage. Each number was well put together and dancers were able to show off their unique abilities in ensemble, duet and solo pieces respectively. Dancers themselves were immensely talented and not one could be faulted as being lesser than the next. While all were simmering in their own right, particular standouts include Kylee Vincent and Gustavo Viglio.
The first act is happy-go-lucky with a tribute to women, a nod at the earlier dance styles of the 20th century, and even a Michael Jackson tribute. BURN THE FLOOR aims to be "gloriously sinful" and this is predominantly true in the second act. With numbers such as Carmen and Objection Tango, the heat is turned up after interval as dance numbers become intensely more passionate and captivating.
The 12-strong dance company is accompanied by 2 vocalists, Mikee Introna and Lelo Ramasimong, and 2 percussionists, Tyler Azzopardi and Mike Swaga. The onstage percussions add a nice dynamic and livelihood to what could otherwise be all-too-familiar backing tracks; whereas the vocalists had a good rapport with the dancers and smoothly pulled off some harder numbers. Sometimes singers were worked into dance numbers nicely, but there were also instances when the musicians purposefully detracted from the dancing. It would have been better to let both parties shine at appropriate times - an example of this done in a mostly vocal rendition of A Man's World by Ramasimong.
Last but not least, costume design by Bret Hooper and Sharon Brown is to be applauded in its own right. Simple additions, subtractions and swapping of clothing pieces made the show flow more easily and also lifted the glamour of an already visual spectacle.
It's undoubtedly a privilege to have this acclaimed show returning to South Africa for the fourth time. With only a few days left of its Cape Town run, if you're a Paso Doble devotee or Viennese waltz visionary, BURN THE FLOOR will speak to your inner dancer and captivate all of your senses.
Photo credit: Supplied
BURN THE FLOOR will be performed at the Baxter Theatre until 17 August; Emperor's Palace 22 August to 8 September; and Sibaya Casino 12 to 29 September 2019. Tickets can be booked through Computicket.