Broadway Series South’s electrifying presentation of Burn the Floor: Ballroom Reinvented, Broadway’s Latin and Ballroom dance sensation, is truly sensational. This high-octane production really sizzles, with incendiary performances by “Dancing with the Stars” favorites Mark Ballas with Giselle Peacock pouring gasoline on the fire. Their charismatic co-stars in this crowd-pleasing show, directed and choreographed with remarkable, snap, crackle, and pop by Jason Gilkison, include “So You Think You Can Dance” (Australia) winner Robbie Kmetoni and “So You Think You Can Dance” (U.S.) top 10 finalists Janette Manrara and Karen Hauer.
Invigorating dance numbers include two elegant Viennese waltzes (“Let’s Face the Music and Dance” and “Nights in White Satin); a saucy samba (“Magalena”); four frisky rumbas (“Slip into Something Comfortable,” “Weather Storm/The Ballroom Boys,” “Harlem Nocturne,” and “Burn for You”); a quickstep rendition of “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing”); a swing-dance version of “I Just Want to Make Love to You”; a salsa and samba version of “Sing Sing Sing (with a Swing)”; a torrid tango (“Tanguera”); a pair of paso dobles (“Matador” and España Cañí”); a couple of cha-chas (“Cariño” and the encore: “Turn the Beat Around”); and a show-stopping jive rendition of “Proud Mary” with vocalist Vonzell Solomon channeling her inner Tina Turner and rattling the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium rafters at the same time.
Vonzell Solomon and fellow vocalist Peter Saul sang their hearts out, while percussionists Henry Soriano and Joe Malone provided a thunderous backbeat. But it is the dancers who razzle-dazzle the Broadway Series South patrons when the sparks that they strike on the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium stage become an inferno.
In addition to headliners Mark Ballas and Giselle Peacock, Burn the Floor’s dynamic duos include Robbie Kmetoni and Janette Manrara, Aljaz Skorjanec and Karen Hauer, Igor Dogoter and Natalia Gorshkova, Jeremy Garner and Sarah Soriano, Santo Costa and Emma Slater, Gary Wright and Ashleigh Hunter, and Damien Samuel and Faye Huddleston. Carlos Chang, Sasha Farber, and Tristan MacManus complete this impossibly buff, nimble-footed international cast, who have come together from Australia, the United States, England, Ireland, Russia, Moldova, Venezuela, and other faraway places to trip the light fantastic. In fact, when it comes to the male dancers, who frequently perform completely bare-chested or with their shirts unbuttoned to show off lithe physiques, there more six packs on display that the average 7-Eleven® has in stock.
Australian director and choreographer Jason Gilkison’s full-throttle dance numbers smoothly segue from an opening cha-cha to a waltz, to a foxtrot, to swing, to various Latin dances, etc., while creating a series of vivid vignettes that are both visually striking and often intensely sensual, for what is dance if not ritualized foreplay.
Burn the Floor stars Mark Ballas and Giselle Peacock pop up frequently enough to satisfy their fans, but this edition of Burn the Floor also showcases other up-and-coming dancers and singers who will be headliners some day. They fill scenic designer Ray Klausen’s Las Vegas-style set and Janet Hine’s flamboyant costumes with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of movement – a spectacle truly worthy of the fervent and lengthy standing ovation that Tuesday’s audience awarded this dance and musical extravaganza.
SECOND OPINION: Nov. 24th Raleigh, NC News & Observer preview by Adrienne Johnson Martin: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/11/26/824942/bristols-dance-partner-headed.html.
Broadway Series South presents BURN THE FLOOR, starring Mark Ballas and Giselle Peacock, at 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 4, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.
BOX OFFICE: Progress Energy Center Box Office: 919/831-6060 (information only). Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000, 919/834-4000, or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115203/803589. SHOW: http://broadwayseriessouth.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Calendar&file=listevent-bss2008&eid=10040.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: http://broadwayseriessouth.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Calendar&file=listevent-bss2008&eid=10040&type=video.
NOTE: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh (http://www.artsaccessinc.org/) will audio describe the 2 p.m. Dec. 4th performance.
Burn the Floor: http://www.burnthefloor.com/ (official website) and http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=484013 (Internet Broadway Database).
The Making of “Burn the Floor”: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1086330/ (Internet Movie Database).
Mark Ballas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Ballas (Wikipedia) and http://www.markballas.com/blog/ (official fan site).
Giselle Peacock: http://www.gisellepeacock.com/ (official website).
Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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