From its opening, featuring a stage flooded with dry ice, a mirror ball and neon-coloured lights filtering through the haze, you know where you stand with ballroom show Burn The Floor.
This is not a show about subtlety and deep emotion, this is a show about pizzazz and style, offering more sweaty bare flesh than a party in Yogi’s sauna.
Drummers can be seen through the mist at the rear of the stage, mounted atop an imposing staircase that dominates the dance area. From here the show’s singers – Rebecca Tapia and Ricky Rojas – emerge to lend their vocals to tunes – some well known, some less so – including Nights In White Satin, I Just Wanna Make Love To You, Sway and History Repeating.
The show, celebrating its 11th year, splits the performance into four sections, each with its own essence. We move from a ritualistic, blindfolded tribal feeling rumba to a swinging speakeasy in the blink of an eye. The talented dancers perform mostly large scale routines, both rotating the couples in the spotlight and as an ensemble, displaying the wide variety and scope of ballroom and Latin dancing on a stage which may leave them feeling a little cramped.
Yet the moments which hang in the imagination longest are the piece’s most simple offerings, when a pair of dancers commands the stage telling a simple, heartfelt story. This may not happen enough in Burn The Floor, which has its heart firmly in the fast-paced, energetic group numbers, but when it does, it has the power to immediately cut away the hype and make the performance feel very personal.
Burn The Floor may have Strictly Come Dancing golden couple Brian Fortuna and Ali Bastian dominating its poster – and the Strictly alumni were out in force at the press night – but in truth this is an ensemble show in which no one couple dominates; a fedora-wearing, muscle-rippling, panpipe-playing, brightly-coloured celebration of the resurgence in ballroom’s popularity.