Ballroom with a Twist: straight up good
By Glen Creason
It was guilty pleasure weekend at the Performing Arts Center as “Dancing With the Stars” met “American Idol” at the Performing Arts Center without anyone getting sent home or being unhappy. In truth, everyone was a winner, especially the audience who seemed to love every note and step of the gazillion notes/steps show. While I have many guilty pleasures in my DVR queue I have never watched either show so this was like sending a vegan to judge a barbecue contest. Yet, as a man who avoided cotillion like the bird flu and only sings to irritate my daughter I was completely won over by this charming and classy entertainment that danced right up to the edge of glamorous excess and laughed, showing perfect teeth. The show is book ended by DWS headliners Alec Mazo and Edyta Sliwinska for the dancing and AI finalists Gina Glocksen and David Hernandez who performed perfectly without a misstep or false note. However, there are many stars in this show, they being the dazzlingly attractive and sexy-elegant dancers who follow the direction of choreographer Louis Van Amstel. The dancers are so good- looking and fit they not only are a great ad for ballroom dancing they do cause reviewers to avoid their own reflection in the intermission mirrors. A trip to Walmart post-show was necessary to reset my self-image compass.
“Ballroom with a Twist” is expertly paced and does not allow for a dull moment as over thirty songs were used as inspiration for the energetic yet elegant dancing. This included the compositions of Burt Bacharach, George Gershwin, Count Basie, Sara Bareilles and Mark Cohn along with show tunes and plenty of Brazilian flair in the second half of the show. Standout moments for the singers in the first half were a duet of “Without Love” from “Hairspray,” “Gravity” by Gina Glocksen and “Walking in Memphis
” by David Hernandez. Without even a hint of irony I would say the “Girls Gone Wild” dancing number rated very high among the half dozen really terrific ensemble numbers.
The second half had a decidedly Latin flavor with songs and dance from Brazil
spicing up the proceedings. Variety is the soul of this show which covered techno, Broadway, salsa, samba, swing and tango all in a couple of hours. A soaring “the Prayer” bounced right into a wild “Bahia
” and Alec and Edyta showed how tango to Spanish guitar can be art. There was a fun and funny dance lesson that had a thousand people giddily out of their seats and grooving all at once with arms waving and huge smiles on their faces. A romantic duet between David and Gina (Cuando Se Quieres?) while surrounded by swooning lovers warmed the hall in body and heart but it was the a high energy finale that included “
Guantanemara,” “Chan Chan” and some wild jitterbugging that threw a cherry on top of this Sunday treat. While I still might not vote on AI or DWS I do give “Ballroom With a Twist” a solid two left feet up for both dance and song.