Simply the hottest show in town

Burn the Floor

Birmingham Hippodrome


AT A TIME when the country is apparently gripped by "Strictly fever", Burn the Floor came to Birmingham Hippodrome to show there is a lot more to ballroom dancing than Brucie's bad jokes.

I must admit that this reviewer is not at one with his inner dancing queen, though my companion for the night has cut up a few rugs in her time, so I arrived at the Hippodrome with some trepidation as to what awaited me.

I needn't have worried - Burn the Floor is fantastic.

The show started early when Anita Dobson was spotted in one of the boxes with her dance partner from 'Strictly' Robin Windsor (a former cast member of Burn the Floor) both more than happy to play to the enthusiastic crowd.

At a time when most of the audience were getting settled for the night ahead, the performance began before we even realised it.

The elegance and beauty of dance flowing across the stage

Cast members were interspersed within the audience with the feisty and engaging Janette Manrara taking centre stage, interacting with some understandably delighted male audience members, before an excellent opening dance salvo with Robbie Kmetoni.

This unexpected turn set the tone for the whole piece. Burn the Floor has the ability to surprise and delight throughout, skilfully mixing genres of both music and dance with genuinely moving results.

The dancers move with a speed and grace that at times beggars belief. They are in time with not only each other but the music to such levels of near perfection that you can't help but marvel.

Added to which none of the cast members seemed out of breath at any point in the show, which in itself is impressive.

Though members of the audience asked about the plot in an aftershow Q and A session, I could not see a story as such. To me at least, each dance tells its own tale, with the style, grace, passion or frantic pace of each piece allowing for emotions to write a script to each of our imaginations.

Amazing lifts, slides and the almost hypnotic wiggle of hips (special mention goes to Karen Hauer for that) managing somehow to say more than words could.

Yet while it is the spectacle of dance that captivates the audience it is the music that manages to immerse them in the emotions of the piece.

Using two drummers on either side of the stage, the excellent Henry Soriano and Joseph Malone, gave the show not only balance but a heartbeat of sorts.

This combined with excellent song choices, backed up by engaging renditions by Peter Saul and the excellent Jessica Lingotti gave the show a lovely mix of entertainment mediums that catered for every taste.

The set was simple, but was used intelligently with couples mirroring each other to great effect.

Power and passion of dance leaves the floor smoking

 In many ways the greatest part of the set was the audience, with cast members dancing in the aisles, this managed to make the audience feel part of the show in a way which is both rarely experienced nor easily forgotten.

Continuing to surprise, the evening ended in two parts, firstly with a rousing finale to the show and then with a Q and A session with the cast.

This I think added greatly to the evening, allowing the audience a very real personal connection with the cast including local girl Emma Slater, which added greatly to the experience of the night.

Dancer Kevin Clifton summed it up best when asked about being tempted to go to strictly, when he said that “...there is nowhere better to be than Burn the Floor”.

The cast not only seemed genuinely nice, but it was clear that they love what they do and judging by the applause at the end of the show, so do the audience. To 29-10-11.

Christian Clarke


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