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Everyone's a Critic

Burn the Floor It was with great interest that I read a recent review of the Broadway Show “Burn the Floor”.

I have been dancing for 50 years, 40 of those years involved in Ballroom and Latin American dancing in New Zealand, my native country, and all around the world both as a competitor, coach, choreographer and judge. I currently reside in the U.S.A. and my specialty is producing shows involving the genre of Ballroom/Latin dancing.

I know Jason Gilkison very well and remember him competing with Peta Roby. They are both excellent dancers and very innovative in our genre, often pushing the envelope with their creativity. Talent and vision is necessary for all art forms to progress and continue to entertain. If we simply repeat the same outdated ideas, we would be doing the choreography we did 40 years ago.  Traditional dancing is also to be commended and I believe there is a place for both in any show or concert but after reading this scathing review of this excellent show I feel the need to voice my well-qualified opinion.

I do not know the reviewer or their background of dance, but when they pontificated about rumba I realized they knew nothing of any consequence about our genre of dancing.

The American Rumba is based on a box step and is done to a faster rhythm, the International Rumba, as danced in "Burn the Floor", is a slower tempo with a completely different basic step and foot action.

The reviewer also attended a concert in Vail, Colorado celebrating all forms of dance. I found his views on all the dance styles interesting, and while he may have valid points in general, he needn’t berate the ballroom dancers themselves.

Hanna Karttunen and Victor da Silva are the most innovative exponents of the Theatre Arts genre and have produced some wonderful routines in this style. Theatre Arts is one of our dance categories that has less of a Ballroom/Latin feeling and there are no rules as to what may be incorporated into the choreography. It is judged on its appeal, musicality and the precision of execution. Hanna and Victor are one of the greatest couples in this style and still our reviewer had no positive comments.

J.T. Thomas and Tomas Mielnicki, our U.S.  & World Professional Smooth Champions, also came under his chopping block. His comments of their tango being cliché were thoughtless and out of line. I know these routines very well. Their tango combines both International and American style genres, is set to great music and is always seamlessly executed.

These four dancers mentioned above are some of the best dancers currently competing and performing in their respective styles, yet not good enough for our reviewer. Please state your opinion, but steer clear of comments by which you are grossly misinformed.

Broadways is always full of the same old shows being repeated and “revived” with the same music and same choreography. Now that someone has come along with a fresh idea, some half-baked dance critic slags off on it.

This is one of the first real Ballroom/Latin shows to appear on Broadway and I applaud the producers, directors and my fellow dancers Jason and Peta for their insight and courage to lay it on the line and show the world the great art of ballroom dancing in an innovative, entertaining show.