BURN THE FLOOR—Ballroom. Reinvented/ filed 6-10-2011--Billed as “The New Broadway Production” on a limited run at Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa, CA)—Dancers (in program order): Anya Garnis, Pasha Kovalev, Kevin Clifton, Santo Costa, Igor Dogoter, Sasha Farber, Natalia Gorshkova, Karen Hauer, Faye Huddleston, Ash Leigh Hunter, Robbie Kmetoni, Janette Manrara, Giselle Peacock, Damien Samuel, Aljaz Skorjanec, Emma Slater, Sarah Soriano, and Gary Wright/vocalist(s) Peter Saul, Vonzell Solomon/percussionist(s) Joseph Malone, Henry Soriano/ Director&Choreographer, Jason Gilkison/ Scenic Designer, Ray Klausen/ Lighting Designer, Rick Belzer/ Costume Designer, Janet Hine/Sound Designer, Peter J. Fitzgerald/Production Stage Manager, Bruce Fossey Bolton/1hr.50min with one 15 minute intermission.
Bifocal Review by Barbara Richiusa and Gordon Richiusa
(B) I love dancing! Music and dancing are like a marriage: some are good and some are not. I found this show had more bad marriages. There were too many songs I did not recognize and some songs did not fit the dance. The ones that did work, worked well.
The dancers were non-stop. It was astounding how much energy was put forth in almost two hours. I’m sure a huge amount of practice went into this program that had at least twenty or thirty different numbers. I give them so much credit just to remember the steps of one dance let alone several dance numbers. I have to agree with Gordon as far as not feeling a connection because there was no dialog or a pause to make an announcement of what was to come or even an MC to tell a few jokes and connect the audience with the dancers. Our seats were good but not close enough to see the facial expressions that add meaning to the dance. I have to add that we did take advantage of “rush pricing” by getting our seats at the last minute for a reduced rate, and let’s face it. Sometimes when you roll the dice you miss the point. I also noticed, upon researching the past and Broadway performances, that this performance was somewhat different than previous ones. I'm not sure if EVERY show is different, but I can’t bring myself to give more than two binoculars for the performance that I saw, but I would give three for the dancers alone.
(G) This truly is a dancer’s dream. If you are interested in Ballroom or International Style competition (and according to the latest Neilson rating, and the popularity of Dancing with the Stars, many people ARE) then this show might hold your interest. For me, however, I have to say that while I was not displeased, I did see that having a Celebrity MC, wacky judges or even a loosely connecting storyline are essentials for making a dance into a show. There was absolutely NO dialogue or clearly identifiable, central characters in the nearly two hours of non-stop dancing. At a few points, the dancers came close to acting (as in the Bullfighting scene or during some of the Jive or Tango sequences) and the audience responded with enthusiasm, but a wiggling finger or a scowling look doth not a stage production make (to paraphrase Shakespeare). Don’t get me wrong. There were definitely moments and the vocalists did an adequate job in most cases. I even enjoyed Solomon’s rendition of Knights in White Satin, but I could have closed my eyes and enjoyed the number just as much. Honestly, the few songs that I recognized all seemed out of place for the type of dancing, but that is an observation that Barbara has made to me about DWTS, so now I notice it. I did come away from this with a realization that the male partner, especially in the Latin dances, is really the featured (and more important) member of the team. All in all, I have to give this one two binoculars out of four. I wanted more but was happy to see my lovely wife enjoying herself. In the end, we all gotta “dance with the one who brung us.”