Acobatic, sexy & so alive
Corky & Mark Ballas Burn The Floor in dance extravaganza
It was in the middle of the first act, when the lights briefly dimmed and the unmistakable samba rhythm opening of Sergio Mendez's "Magalena" rang through the Hobby Center, that I realized that BurnThe Floor is not messing around.
I'm certainly no expert — I find the ballet rather dull, and I've never sat through more than an episode or two of Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance. But Burn The Floor isn't about dispassionate viewing, it's about bringing the atmosphere of the world's best dance club to an auditorium — hence the numerous cha-chas into the aisles — with dazzling results.
Dancing With the Stars' Mark Ballas is the Houston run's big name, and he certainly earned the extra applause sent his way with legs and hips that seem to gyrate at impossible speeds. But the true star of the stage is Giselle Peacock, the other guest star and the only other American in the cast of Australians, South Americans and Eastern Europeans. Shorter and curvier than her gazelle-like costars, Peacock dances with sizzle and passion that can't be duplicated by anyone else in the cast — when she's onstage, you simply can't take your eyes off her.
The tempo moves from fast to slow, and not every routine is a winner — the occasional waltzes were beautiful, but sedate, and the paso dobles weren't memorable. I loved the action of the swing and the sexy spectacle of the Latin dances, but it was the jive to "Proud Mary" that truly brought the house down.
Although the dancers are the main attraction, showstopping vocals from Vonzell Solomon (who'll be familiar to American Idol viewers) take the show to the next level. Ballas also makes his first appearance as a singer, strumming his song "Burn for You" as dancers perform a bittersweet rumba behind him.
And the Houston performances also feature another dance legend from the Ballas family — former World Champion Corky makes an appearance during "Proud Mary" and stays through the finale, to dance with his son and the troupe.
I don't know if Burn The Floor breaks any new ground in dance musicals. All I know is that while watching, dance has never seemed so acrobatic, so sexy, and so alive.