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Burn the Floor – Shaftesbury Theatre, London

Reviewer: Michael Brown

[rating:4]

Burn_The_FloorThough the names on the poster may be of the Strictly Come Dancing regulars Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff (and new girl Karen Hauer), it soon becomes clear that Burn the Floor is no star vehicle but rather a tightly drilled ensemble show featuring 18 dancers and the endless possibilities of dance. There’s no sense of narrative running through the show but rather a maintenance of extraordinary energy levels as various permutations of the company take us through the worlds of ballroom and Latin dance that have become so familiar to us since the rise of Strictly to dominate Saturday teatime viewing.

From elegant Viennese waltzes to sizzling rumbas and high-impact jives, Jason Gilkinson has come up with a constantly changing cornucopia of choreography, with a dizzying array of routines slide seamlessly into one another and costume changes galore. The technical prowess on show is never in doubt and the smooth transitions ensure a dynamic tempo to the evening, right from the opening moments as a hapless audience member is picked upon by one of the tango-ing dancers.

Given the undoubted impact and invention of the larger-scale numbers – Hauer’s sizzling saunter with a shirtless sextet, the excitement that comes from the dancers entering the aisles, the jaw-dropping finale – it is hard not to feel that some of the duets are a little flat by comparison. They add variation to be sure, but lack quite the same level of breath-taking inspiration which means that the show can occasionally feel overlong.

And as with the TV show, the dancers are accompanied by an extremely tight live band and singers who are required to cover a broad range of songs, resulting in varying levels of quality as the fit between vocalist and song isn’t always there, particularly when new arrangements are in place. But the predominant feel is one of excitement and exhilaration, especially after the finale, which brings an absolutely joyous atmosphere to the theatre and makes you forget any doubts you might previously had. Keeeeeep dancing….!

Booking until 1st September

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