‘Ballroom with a Twist’ at Strathmore

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Celebrity dancers from Dancing with the Stars, along with finalists from So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, and X Factor shimmied into Bethesda to entertain audiences last night with its glitzy, glam-pop touring show, seamlessly showcasing the choreography of DWTS’s Louis van Amstel, a three-time world Latin dance champ.

Highlighting a who’s who of the dance and singing world, the critically-acclaimed international dance production features Dancing with the Stars celebrity professionals Lacey Schwimmer and Dmitry Chaplin and dancers Alla Kocherga, Oksana Dmytrenko, Magda Fialek, and Kiki Nyemchek; So You Think You Can Dance finalists Nick Garcia, Tanisha Belnap, Casey Askew, Jonathan Platero, and Jonathan “Legacy” Perez; world champion dancers Patricia Kaniowski, Jenya Shatilova, Tony Pututau and CJ Bair; American Idol finalist Von Smith; and X Factor finalist Caitlin Koch. joining forces for an evening of grace, athleticism and passion.

Reminiscent of a live television production, Ballroom with a Twist pushes the boundaries of traditional dance by combining numerous styles, including the samba, merengue, cha cha, waltz, foxtrot, tango, quickstep and jive, boldly reconceptualized with acrobatic flair amidst a broad cross section of song medleys. A particularly noteworthy performance was when Smith soulfully sang John Lennon’s “Imagine” while Perez captivated the audience with his breathtaking breakdancing moves and remarkable gymnastic dexterity. In addition to demonstrating his immense physicality while spinning on his hands and back, he was able to spin wickedly on his head for what seemed an astoundingly long time.

Photo courtesy of The Music Center at Strathmore.
Photo courtesy of The Music Center at Strathmore.

Set on an intimate stage, solos, duets and full ensemble performances kept the near-sell out crowd riveted with finger-snapping, toe-tapping music and sizzling dance steps.

Dance captain Kaniowski opened the show, leading the troupe with great enthusiasm and high-octane from start to finish.  Adding to the dimension of first-rate talent was a combination of ever-changing costumes and complimentarily spotlights.

Without the encumbrances of the cameras,  the dancers and singers seemed more accessible, interacting with the audience throughout the evening at regular intervals. Schwimmer and Chaplin served as emcees, encouraging audience members to ask them questions mid-way through the show, as well as inviting all the “dancers” in the crowd to come up on the stage to launch a mini-dance lesson, summoning the audience to their feet.  On other occasions, performers, like Koch, even walked into the audience area, sashaying her way around the entire parameter of the theater to rally attendees.

An electrically-charged, beautifully-orchestrated fluid fusion of magnificent music and dazzling dance, Ballroom With a Twist promises something for every lover of dance from jazz to hip-hop, contemporary to ballroom, accentuated with powerful vocals, and provides an enchanting evening of engaging entertainment for the entire family.

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, with one 20-minute intermission.

Ballroom with a Twist performed for one night only on July 12, 2015 at The Music Center at Strathmore – 5301 Tuckerman Lane, in North Bethesda, MD. For future Strathmore events, check out their performance calendar.

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