TV show Strictly Come Dancing has massively increased the popularity of ballroom and Latin dance. A whole new audience is eager to be part of the phenomenon and shows like Burn the Floor cater exactly for that keenness.
With Strictly stars Kristina Rohanoff and Robin Windsor as well as 16 other international ballroom champions, the performance is a slick, high-energy display of excellent technique and prowess. Dancers seamlessly move on and off stage, changing styles and costumes in the blink of an eye. Everything is superbly performed but frequently lacks the vibrance of other non-narrative dance shows like Ballet Revolucion.
Many of the Burn the Floor routines are clichéd; men repeatedly fight over the same woman and a couple perform an over-sentimentalised ‘please don’t leave me’ style duet. Other moments are more inventive, for example the beautiful Karen Hauer is partnered blindfolded by six bare-chested males. Dancers also come into the aisles, creating a wonderful buzz in the audience.
It is not until the closing numbers of the show (Proud Mary and Ballroom Blitz), that the dancers seem truly able to let go and have fun. These final moments are nothing less than spectacular, but leave the question as to why such exuberance is not present throughout.
Burn the Floor is at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 1 September. Tickets priced £16-£57 are available here.
Pictured: Robin Windsor and Kristina Rihanoff / Photo by Beytan Erkman