For a two-day only event, it’s no surprise that the Buell Theatre located at the Denver Peforming Arts Complex had a full-house of attendees at Ballroom with a Twist. With star studded hosts Anna Trebunskaya, Jonathan Roberts, Tristan Macmanus and Chelsie Hightower and an impeccable cast selected from “So You Think You Can Dance,” Ballroom with a Twist displayed a variety of ballroom dances including samba, swing, fox trot and salsa and incorporated more “modern” styles such as contemporary and hip hop.
Ballroom with a Twist was a very lively performance with flips, twists, turns and spins that would precaution the crowd that it is best left to professionals only. Whether you’re familiar with ballroom or not, everyone can agree that it takes practice, control and skill to be able to dance like the professionals dance.
Choreographed by Louis Van Amstel, dances included solo, duets and group acts. One of the notable dances was a contemporary piece performed by Randi Lynn Strong, Legacy and Jaymz Tuaileva where they danced to the live (and strong) vocals of Gina Glocksen, an “American Idol” finalist. Contemporary was the perfect choice to tell the story of a woman trapped in love with two men. The execution was brilliant and the controlled movements were breath-taking, so it is definitely a piece to look out for in their tours.
Von Smith, another “American Idol” finalist, also provided live vocals where he hit the high and low notes with perfect pitch. He sang a variety of songs including a big-band piece and a duet with Gina Glocksen, which was borderline opera. Both Gina and Von even chimed in with a few dance in one of their solo pieces.
One thing that lacked in the show was the production. Background design was a little soft, which could be on purpose since the stars of the show were the dancers and singers. On the other hand, it didn’t give it enough pizzazz, such as the advertising displayed. However, what it lacked in production was made up by the dances and, at one point, a few attendees were invited on stage to dance, mingle with with the hosts – Tristan McManus seemed to be the belle of the ball – and take photos, which wasn’t allowed any other time of the show.
A two hour long show and a 20 minute intermission, Ballroom with a Twist ended with a swing performance where the entire cast, hosts and vocalists joined the stage leaving the audience with high energy and appreciation for ballroom dance.