Sizzling showmanship melts the floor

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VENUE: The Mandela at Joburg Theatre

UNTIL: August 19.

RATING: **** (and a glitter ball)

Somehow, second time around Burn the Floor seems smarter, sassier and sexier. The subtitle, “The Temperature Rises”, is no idle promise.

For this return (now national), tour there have been a few cast changes, at least one new Latin number and a pair of red-hot new percussionists, but this show defies being stuck in a formula.

What is so refreshing is that the nine couples are not just bashing out dance-sport competition numbers or stage routines. The high-octane dancing (which admittedly starts on a contrived note in the auditorium) oozes spontaneity and enjoyment. After all, ballroom and Latin are essentially social dance forms.

And the men, like the amazing Santo Costa, who exudes macho elegance, look like the guy from the office or the building site.

Under the lights, bare-chested, with open shirts, and even in torn jeans, they rip into the cha cha, the samba, the swing, the rumba, you name it, with consummate artistry fused with Broadway show dance dynamics.

At the heart of this Australian phenomenon is artistic director and choreographer Jason Gilkison’s razzle dazzle choreography and the very clever, often very cheeky, costume design and superb, never overpowering, lighting.

The paso doble, all capes and testosterone, is a stunner.

An extra treat for South Africans is the addition of Mabopane’s Keoikantse Motsepe, paired with the experienced Australian KallyAnne Browne. Motsepe, with just the right buffed body, has loads of technique thanks to his Latin American champion pedigree and, most importantly, an electric stage presence and intelligence to match.

If you’re into no-holds-barred showmanship, inventive dance (which puts retro on a serious roll) and theatrical mastery, Burn the Floor is not to be missed.

• The show moves to Durban next: Playhouse Opera Theatre, August 22 to September 2.

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