While the rest of the Chicago dance world was watching the amazing (so, I’ve heard) Joe Goode Performance Group at the Dance Center, I was at the Bank of America Theater at Burn the Floor, a Broadway in Chicago tribute to the growing fascination with ballroom dancing — or something I like to call “the Riverdance of Ballroom”. A bit cheesy at times, but ridiculously sexy and high energy, Burn the Floor is a fun mash-up of all the ballroom dance styles presented in a variety of settings (a ballroom, a swing club, a disco, etc). Featuring live vocals from Peter Saul and American Idol finalist Vonzell Solomon, some of the world’s best ballroom dancers took the stage to strut their stuff. The international crew (US, Russia, Ireland, UK, Australia and Venezuela) was lead by So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) alum couples Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev and husband and wife team Ashleigh and Ryan Di Lello. Clearly the familiar fan favorites, these couples grabbed the spotlight on the not-so-big stage for the group numbers and each performed a duet from their time on SYTYCD.
I’m partial to the quicker styles like Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, Swing and Jive, but one of the most memorable moments was during a waltz. While one couple was Fred and Gingering it up, another couple, identical in coloring, size and costume, came on the stage behind a scrim to create a perfect mirror image. It was a beautiful moment and a noteworthy pause in the frenzy of shakes and shimmies surrounding it.
The cast is stunningly talented (HOT!) and, even if ballroom isn’t your thing, it will make you want to get up and shake your groove thing. Shake it!