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"Burn the Floor" review: cheesy latin dancing goodness


Apparently I was destined to see the Broadway show "Burn the Floor" because I've had two people offer me free tickets to see it.  Tonight, I finally caught the dance-oriented show, due to fortuitous circumstances, and I'm glad I did. (Thanks, Carla!)

"Burn the Floor" has gotten some scorching reviews from the NY Times and NY Post, among others. Friends of mine have derided the cheesiness of the videos they have seen of the show.  I myself was quite worried by the show's portrayal of lindy hop, ala this video.

But to be honest, I had a fantastic time watching "Burn the Floor."  If you enjoyed "Strictly Ballroom," you will love "Burn the Floor." If you have an aversion to cheesy smiles, smouldering looks, ripped abs, and sequins, you will not have a good time.  Basically it's two straight hours of amped up ballroom and latin dancing, performed by top-tier competitive dancers from around the world.

My favorite pieces were a smoking hot samba ensemble piece performed to "Magalena," a rocking jive routine to "Proud Mary," and a disco-fied cha-cha to "Turn the Beat Around."  On the other hand, I hate to stifle my laughter at the truly ridiculous rumba performed by six bare-chested men and one slinky blonde.  And the two Paso Doble pieces could not be sillier. 

I'm ambivalent about the Waltz and Viennese Waltz, which are lovely but kind of boring.  I forgot how much I love the Quickstep, which has a prancing motion that is delightful to watch.  The Jive, Swing and Lindy were not as horrendous as I had feared. 

After awhile a certain samey-samey-ness creeps into the production.  It didn't help that all of the dancers were white, with the exception of one woman who appeared half-Asian.  Most of the impressiveness of their dancing comes from tight spins and turns, various lifts and dips, and swiveling hips.  By the second act, I was yearning for some more soulful movement, some gritty African influence, or gymnastic flair, to break up the uprightness of the ballroom dancing.

It was delightful seeing Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis from "So You Think You Can Dance" perform in a couple of pieces.  They have such star-power and charisma, and just own whatever dance they are doing. I really wanted to see Jeanette or Benji from SYTYCD dancing with them!

"Burn the Floor" is playing at the Longacre Theater in Times Square until October 18.

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