If you can't take the heat... Burn the Floor anyway
Burn The Floor might be the hottest dance show to illuminate the stage for years – possibly ever, writes LESLEY STONES. So why does one feel there’s something missing?
It’s slick, sexy, extremely proficient and daringly choreographed, with gorgeous bodies performing amazing movements.
The show wowed audiences here last year, and is back after a makeover, because such a huge hit is clearly a concept worth repeating. This time it’s The Temperature Rises Tour, where skirts are shorter, legs kick higher and drums beat harder.
Choreographer and director Jason Gilkison has changed five songs, re-choreographed the others and re-costumed the second act. The lighting is nothing short of brilliant, and two drummers with monstrous drum kits, plus two singers, add extra interest through their interaction with the dancers.
So why do I have a niggling discontent that says I wasn’t blown away?
Probably because on the second viewing it’s lost the “wow” factor that holds first-time audiences spellbound, as ballroom and Latin American dancing morphs into a raunchy, dazzling show.
But The Temperature Rises has also sacrificed sensuality for plain, unsubtle sexiness. I like dancing to be all about seducing the partner, not impressing an audience, and in this version of the show, there’s a definite feeling that the audience comes first. Partners are almost incidental, which, ironically, steals something from the performance. Besides, it’s all so terribly fast and furious that I kept checking to see if Vin Diesel was among the dancers.
He could have been, because there’s a guy to suit every taste – bold and bald, short and sweet, big and black, blond and foppish.
The girls come in a variety of styles too, with stunning bodies that make sure there’s never a moment when your eyes aren’t glued to the stage.
This is fast-paced, aggressive dancing that’s sexually aggressive too. I’m all for equality, of course, but the relentless pace that screamed “You want my body and I want yours” did grow a little tedious.
Some of the action is so brazen I’m surprised someone didn’t shout “Get a room!” And, in a Glee-inspired “hairography” moment, one of the girls fluffs her crowning glory so often it looks like she’s got fleas.
A few of the cast do gaze seductively at their partners, especially in one beautiful scene that is all long flowing satin gowns and buttoned-up tailcoats. You know, that old-fashioned stuff.
It was performed superbly, but slower and less frenetic than the rest of the show. A full evening of this elegant style would grow quite dull, yet it drew one of the most enthusiastic rounds of applause, so perhaps we viewers were all romantics at heart.
The rest of the time, the 18 dancers were kicking, whirling, leaping and twirling with enormous energy and huge skill. It was fantastic to see local champion dancer Keoikantse Motsepe among them, and he had some lovely leading roles to highlight his talent.
My personal favourite part was the Spanish section, where the pace slowed a fraction and the simmering sensuality turned up a notch. The matador scene was wonderfully seductive, with its drama and tension a welcome change of pace in the otherwise high-energy performance.
If you haven’t seen Burn the Floor, do so, because the wow factor still delivers a mighty thrill. If you’ve seen it before, well, you know what to expect, and they certainly deliver.
It’s a great show and technically flawless. I just wish there was more heart behind the heat. DM
- Burn The Floor runs at Joburg Theatre until August 19th.
- Review courtesy of www.lesleystones.co.za
Photos by Pat Bromilow-Downing and David Wyatt