Floor Play

Christchurch Town Hall, Christchurch

03/09/2006 - 03/09/2006

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

06/09/2006 - 08/09/2006

Westpac St James, Wellington

29/08/2006 - 01/09/2006

Production Details

Directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison

Presented by BURN THE FLOOR

Six years after its world premiere, and playing to more than 3 million people in 93 cities, the dance production Burn the Floor presents Floor Play. This breathtaking show is finally coming to New Zealand.

“Burn The Floor® is all about harnessing the sensual and dynamic energy of Latin and ballroom dance, adding to that the elements of a Rock n’ Roll concert and Broadway theater to bring it bursting on stage,” said Jason Gilkison, director and choreographer and 3-time World Champion Latin Ballroom dancer.

The lavish and steamy production stars 16 of the world’s best dancers, a red-hot eight piece band, two extraordinary vocalists, sensational costumes, spectacular lighting sets, featuring all style of dance including Salsa, Samba, Jive and Jitterbug, the Waltz, Tango and Rhumba.

New Zealand producers Ian Magan and Gray Bartlett said today: “With Championship Dancers from Germany, England, Italy, Finland, Sweden and Australia, we believe BURN THE FLOOR to be the most ambitious and wide-ranging Dance show to ever tour New Zealand. It unashamedly caters to the vast audience that recently enjoyed TV1’s excellent “Dancing With The Stars” – our only regret is that we only have two weeks available to present the live show in New Zealand!”

Dance ,

For those who like to watch

Review by John Smythe 30th Aug 2006

If producer Harley Medcalf had not witnessed “a scintillating display of Ballroom and Latin dancing” over “20 mesmerising minutes” at Sir Elton John’s 50th birthday celebration at the Hammersmith Ballroom in London (March 1997), his Burn The Floor company might never have been born.

Over the past six years Floor Play, directed and choreographed by three-time World Champion Latin Ballroom dancer Jason Gilkison, has played to more than 3 million people in 93 cities. Now it’s our turn, in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland [click on the hyperlinked title above for tour details].

Basically a highly accomplished demonstration of Latin and Ballroom dancing (described by some wit as the vertical expression of a horizontal desire), with 16 lithe dancers, two live singers and four live musicians – more often than not doing orchestral karaoke to a recorded band and (sometimes) backing singers – Floor Play is a show for people who like to watch, especially if they like lots of salsa on their ballroom floors.

Judging by the enthusiasm of many at the opening night, it appeals mostly to people who want to dance competitive ballroom, are already into it, or have done it in their relative youth. If it’s in your blood and bones, you are more likely to share the experience vicariously. Others may feel like wallflowers after a while, not necessarily enraptured by other people having lots of fun when all that’s available for us is to watch how clever they are.

By comparison, Swan Lake On Ice, on the same stage six weeks ago, used the rich emotional textures of a classical good versus evil love story as a mean of delivering much more skill and spectacle. With no through-story and a relatively limited palette of man-woman subtexts informing the choreography, you have – as I say – to really be into ballroom culture to sustain your interest in, let alone get much of a genuine thrill from, Floor Play.

Salsa permeates most of the show, otherwise varied with Samba, Tango, Jive, Jitterbug, Cha-Cha, Charleston, Rhumba and Waltz – all danced with great energy and flair. Most of the time the individuality of each dancer, pairing or tripling (etc) is given the freedom to express itself so that most pleasure is to be gained from watching the detail, while hoping you’re not missing something even better elsewhere.

Book-ended with the rather banal lyrics of John Miles’ ‘Music’ (Music was my first love / And it will be my last / Music of the future / And music of the past …) the more memorable moments of the score range from Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Tonight’ from Westside Story through Aretha Franklin’s ‘You Make me Feel’ (like a natural woman) and Duke Ellington’s ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing’ (if it ain’t got that swing’) to Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’, culminating in Creedence Clearwater’s ‘Proud Mary’ (rollin on the river) for the encore.

High point of the first half for me was a Tango sequence involving one woman and five men, where her being blindfolded and abandoning herself to their supposed leading made her shine even more, thus accentuating the essence of Tango. In the second half – which I expected to change gear but largely served up more of the same – the ensemble work to ‘Carmina Burana’ was especially powerful.

While there was no programme available for the audience and no rundown of the show, the dancers – hailing from Australia (7), Russia (2), Sweden (2), Italy (2), Britain (2) and Germany (1) – the two singers from Australia and the New Zealand musicians were introduced at the end to great acclaim. They clearly love their work and their pleasure is infectious to susceptible types.


John Smythe September 5th, 2006

You might be right, Bill. I took careful notes in consultation with my companion who is expert in dance styles and I'm sure the scribble I tried to decipher said 'tango'. And having done some classes in same, I remember thinking very clearly, 'She may seem to be at the mercy of the men but she is also clearly the star' - which is more the tango that the rumba ethos (to mix my lingos), is it not?

Bill Robinson September 5th, 2006

I saw this production and I could have sworn that the blindfold routine was a Rumba not tango.

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