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Friday, June 10, 2016


(Dancers Kylee Brown with Stephen Vincent and Johannes Radebe with Megan Wragg are pictured in front of the iZulu Theatre. Pic by Val Adamson)

Pulsating rhythms, splendid choreography, fantastic lighting effects, great costumes and incredible dance. (Review by Caroline Smart)

The eagerly-awaited Burn the Floor: Fire in the Ballroom opened last night at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino. The production is brought to South Africa in 2016 by Dance Partner Productions, in association with The South African State Theatre and Bernard Jay.

To quote the publicity: “The original concept of Burn The Floor grew from an electric display of ballroom and Latin dancing at Sir Elton John’s 50th birthday party in London, March 1997. There, producer Harley Medcalf discovered the ballroom dance world and its charismatic people, with their deep intensity, commitment, discipline, burning passion and total love of the ballroom art form.”

Last night’s capacity audience delighted in what is an incredible piece of entertainment choreographed and directed by Peta Roby. It includes music from Santana, Janis Joplin, Christine Aguilera and Led Zeppelin.

With pulsating rhythms, splendid choreography, fantastic lighting effects, great costumes and incredible dance, the production is hugely energetic with brilliant performances. At times the action is so dizzying that it seems as if there are at least 30 people on stage but in fact the cast only numbers 15.

While those with dance backgrounds will appreciate the immaculate footwork – often at lightning speed – this is a production that will be enjoyed at a much wider level.

Burn The Floor has the reputation of being the world’s toughest dance show and it’s easy to see why. Handpicked to embrace a new Latin American feel, the international cast now includes South African dancers Johannes Radebe and Kylee Brown (who has a Durban link in that she appeared in Shall We Dance while she was still at school) as well as vocalist Lelo Ramasimong. All three were highly impressive, proving their skills are undeniably at an international level.

The opening sees a bewigged courtier wandering among the audience creating some amusing moments. He is joined by a crinoline-clad female and together they tease each other – even taking selfies – while gentle operatic music plays in the background. The curtains open and the dancers in period costume present a stately Viennese waltz before they are interrupted by a punk rocker with a massive Mohican hair style.

One of the highlights for me came from the backing track for this scene which sees the two dance styles juggling for supremacy. Moving from classical waltz with full orchestra to the thumping rock beat without missing a beat, the track was superbly mixed. So much so that one almost felt that the music was specially written.

From then on the pace is fast and furious. Ballroom styles intermix or cross over each other creating captivating scenes often with heart-stopping leaps, twirls and pirouettes alongside the dazzling footwork. Complicated manoeuvres are handled with such skill, it makes it all look so easy but this is only achieved with extreme talent and discipline.

If you were able to harness the energy per second on the stage during this show, you would surely have enough power to drive a nuclear power station!

However, it wasn’t all hectic. There were numbers filled with poignancy and sensuality, particularly in the number I’m Loving Angels Instead.

It was vocalist Mikee Introna (Italy) who completely stole the show. He blew me away with his energy and breath control – one minute leaping around the stage then, within seconds, launching into song behind the microphone. He also showed his comedy skills in an amusing sequence before interval.

The set features baroque arches, a winding metal staircase and a top platform. Elegant drapes fill the height of the theatre, falling behind a balustrade. Simple but effective and providing a few different performance levels. “Burlesque meets Dickensian London!”, quipped the show’s publicist, Illa Thompson.

Burn The Floor: Fire in The Ballroom runs at the iZulu Theatre at Sibaya Casino until June 19, Tickets are available at Computicket on or call 0861 915 8000 or any Checkers, Shoprite or CheckersHyper store.

For block bookings and group discounts contact Ailsa Windsor of Going Places:, or 083 250 2690. – Caroline Smart

The trailer video and be viewed on