Review: Burn the Floor at Shaftesbury Theatre

Performance: 26 July- 4 September 2010
Reviewed by Emma Ellis - Thursday 29 July 2010

Cameras from every angle point at Ali Bastian as she greets the press on the opening night of Burn the Floor. She’s used to the glare of the cameras after an almost twenty year career in acting, but tonight she’s no actress, she’s a dancer…

After a successful run on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Ali and her professional partner Brian Fortuna (and now boyfriend) are part of this summer’s must see West End production. With only 55 shows on the West End, Burn The Floor was originally conceived as a birthday present for none other than Elton John and since then has gone on to be the little show that could, and has wowed audiences around the world. Featuring a 20 strong cast, this show covers every dance style you could dream of from a sexy salsa to a raunchy rumba. You are transported from a Fred and Ginger style waltz to a vibrant Harlem club where the men are fighting for the feisty women’s attention.

There is no other way to describe these dancers other than amazing, they are truly mesmerising and from second row I was glued to everything that was going on, every turn and every lift, I was taken in completely by this incredible cast. Highlights included a beautiful Rumba by Sarah Hives and Jeremy Garner who completely sold to me the story of a couple’s burning desire to be with each other amongst distance and a sensuous samba that has Karen Hauer leading five of the male dancers into her arms blindfolded. This is dance completely stripped back and what helps with this is the excellent live band beyond the stage. Two experienced natural singers guide you through the various dance styles and a live band mirrors your heart beating to every movement. A fantastic rendition to ‘I just wanna make love to you’ performed by Rebecca Tapia makes you want to get up at of your chair and sing along with her and Ricky Rojas takes you to Latino surroundings with his beautiful vocals.

Our guest stars Ali and Brian prove they are worthy to be part of the show with a beautiful lyrical performance to Nights in White satin in the first half of the production but it’s the latin where Bastian excels. Known for her ballroom in the show, Ali delivers her latin with confidence, skill and charisma. Even though she is the only non professional dancer in the company, in the group dances you would be hard pressed to point her out as someone that has been dancing for less than a year. With her American professional by her side, the chemistry is undeniable and you can see their genuine affection for each other in every movement. Fortuna, who has just come off the back of a gruelling 88 show tour with the other Strictly professionals also shines with the natural spirited enthusiasm that made so many Strictly fans fall in love with him on the show. This is Fortuna at his best and thus proving that he has a bright and successful future to look forward to. Fans of the couple should be made aware that as guest stars they do not dominate the production but the company as a whole more than makes up for this.

The show is ideal for a great nights entertainment, dance fans or non dance fans, everyone will be satisfied and maybe slightly hot under the collar when the show ends. This show has a limited run until September 4th so make sure to get your tickets now. Visit www.burnthefloor.com for more information

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