New York City Theater
"Burn the Floor"
Sitting through “Burn the Floor” isn’t recommended for the sober and rational. Purporting to be a revue, that now-ancient form in which musical numbers were interspersed with clever sketches and witty takes on contemporary mores, the show is too one-note and unsophisticated to fit the category."
Burn the Floor” is a knock-off of TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” plopped unceremoniously into a theater. It even features the championship hoofers Karina Smirnoff and Maksim Chmerkovskiy from that Las Vegas-like program, plus 18 other dancers and two vocalists (not to mention 22 producers). Although the printed program promises a variety of dances (waltz, foxtrot, tango, cha-cha, samba, paso doble, rumba and jitterbug), what’s on stage quickly begins to look all alike, at least partly because the music, with a few exceptions, has much the same rhythm throughout.
Credit director/choreographer Jason Gilkison with energizing his young, sexy, buff cast. Thrusting hither and thither, jumping off chairs and onto tables, doing somersaults and daring flips, the lithe men and women exhaust all possibilities for body positions. The way they throw their physiques around would make any geezer wistful about letting that gym membership lapse. These boys and girls do indeed burn the floor in adrenaline-pumping moves, backed by pounding drums.
Never mind that it all becomes a blur after a while. Just as you’re eyeing your watch and searching for the nearest exit, something breathtaking happens: a couple – she in blue, he in a tux – glide through a Viennese waltz. Or, better, two couples tear through a fiery, earthy paso doble, nostrils flaring, the men as matadors, the women as capes. It’s a mini-play, filled with rivalry and passion. But it doesn’t last long and only serves to highlight what the rest of the evening lacks.
David A. Rosenberg
Aug. 16, 2009