Ballroom Blitz: Burn the FloorLeft – Giulia and Mattia. Photographer – David Wyatt. Cover – Photographer Pat Bromilow-Downing

This dance extravaganza, and it is really no exaggeration to use that label, was an extraordinary display of energy, showmanship and ensemble work.

Burn the Floor has been around for a while. Originally created for Sir Elton John’s 50th birthday celebrations, it has enjoyed worldwide seasons as well as in the West End and Broadway.

Perth homeboy Jason Gilkison would have a keen understanding of his city and its dance community. Therefore it is easy to see why Burn the Floor has returned to Perth for its seventh visit!

Looking around the crowd I felt the only audience members there who did not have a ballroom dancing family member would be those addicted to television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance. The packed stalls were in party mode before the curtain was even raised.

The music was recorded, but the sound was excellent. The two onstage percussion ensembles swung into action. A glitter ball descended and Vonzell Sulomon, gave us an opening riff of “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”. By this stage the audience was clapping along as pairs of dancers wove their way down the aisles to join the team onstage. A shower of light provided the flash “rain” effect. It was a splendid launch into the evening’s entertainment.

The pace was relentless. One wonderful scenario involved a Busby Berkeley concoction of large pink feather fans which opened to reveal a bevy of gorgeous girls dressed in hot pink, red and glitter. Wearing impossibly high heels the girls vamped their dance moves towards a team of bare-chested boys.

In a whirlwind the action moved to a speakeasy in prohibition America. The choreography was as fun as it was frenetic. Songs like.”Ding Dong Daddy” and “Don’t Mean a Thing If You Ain’t Got That Swing” were belted out. Chairs and small tables came out and were incorporated into the routines.

Cleverly, the creators of this show have woven songs and parts of songs that sound, for want of a better word, “black” or “soul”. This provided a further connection to the younger audience with a USA/ FM radio preference as well as a familiarisation with the dance moves involved in music clips.

The tightly constructed show ended the first half with a disco styled version of “Rollin’ on the River” (Credence Clearwater Revival). There were cheers!

The second half was more paced. The hot numbers being interspersed with several lovely slower dances by paired dancers. Here we were treated to a gorgeous version of the Viennese Waltz by UK World Champion Joanne Clifton and Slovenian Aljaz Skorjanec, current winner of BBC hit Strictly Come Dancing .

In fact there was a wonderfully wide range of dance styles on display; Tango, Pasa Doble, Cha Cha, the Samba, Rumba and Jive. There was nothing these kids couldn’t do!

Mention must be made of the fabulous costumes. They were lavish and colourful. The lightening costume changes by the dancers added immeasubly to the excitement of the show.

Singers Leon Madden and Vonzell Solomon provided stylish ambiance to the stage. Percussionists Pat Madden and Giorgo Rojas kept up the blistering beat.

The show can only be described as breathtaking. The choreography was bold, sexy and extremely demanding. The dancing was superb, both individually and as an ensemble. The show closed with its namesake number Ballroom Blitz. The crowd were ecstatic and the cast gave generous encores.


Director and choreography Jason Gilkison

Venue: Regal Theatre, Subiaco, West Australia
Dates: 10 – 26 April, 2014

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