DS had the chance to catch up with former World Champion Latin and Ballroom dancer Jason Gilkison to talk about his upcoming ballroom show, Burn the Floor. Jason and his company traveled to more than 30 countries to bring the heat of ballroom dance to internatinoal audiences. Now, starting July 25th, the company will be taking over NYC--but only for two weeks! Take a look at what Jason had to say about his sizzling ballroom phenomenon.
Q: How did you pick the dancers for the show? A: Actually, some of the dancers found and contacted us! The whole concept really appealed and attracted an array of dancers who wanted to join the cast. For others, we held auditions in different parts of the world. And in some cases, we stumbled upon a few dancers on our own.
Q: What is the show's choreography like? A: The choreography is a completely new level of ballroom. Each dancer must have strong technique as well as training and range. With those key elements in tact, they are required to take the traditional boring ballroom dance and think outside of the box. A strong ballroom background is a must, but it's not what the show is about. The show is about fusing dated ballroom with what dance has evolved into today. Each couple really experiments with their technique to create a more contemporary and interesting show!
Q: What can DS readers expect from the show? A: Current dance reality shows have helped educate audiences' understanding of ballroom dance. They're able to see how each dance, such as the Tango for instance, should be executed. Burn the Floor however, wants to take those dances that reality programs are showing and reinvent them, make them new. The dancers on our show take their purest training and form a style that is more "now".
Q: What are the costumes like? A: When people think of ballroom dance, the first thing that may come to mind is the sexy costuming with a lot of sequins and minimal coverage- our goal was to stray away from that stereotype. Of course you will see dancers in the traditional competitive ballroom uniform, especially towards the end of the show, but along with reinventing the choreography we wanted to reinvent the costumes. We really wanted the dancers to look like they would wear their outfits out to a club for a long night of dancing. The idea is that each and every dancer should be able to walk out of the theater in what they're wearing and feel comfortable and stylish.
Q: How does it feel to be working on the show again? A: I really love this show! I myself have been so blessed with a long career as a performer and now, I get the chance to work with such inspirational and upcoming stars. Working with a company is always great because each dancer wants to work hard and most importantly, dance! They don't care about the long hours or injuries; they just want to get everything as perfect as possible. Everyone is so passionate and it's a pleasure to work with a group with that much drive.
Q: What are your hopes for the show to accomplish? A: My main goal is for the people to feel every emotion. I want the audiences to experience the connection between each couple. And mostly, I just want everyone to leave the show with the urge to go out and dance!
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Isabella Boylston in "The Bright Stream" (Rosalie O'Connor, courtesy American Ballet Theatre)
Beloved by ballet fans for her lucid technique and onstage effervescence, by her Instagram followers for the deftly curated photos and videos she shares of her glamorous life, and by fangirl Jennifer Garner for all of the above, American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston is one of the rare ballet stars who's achieved mainstream fame. A native of Sun Valley, ID, Boylston trained at the Academy of Colorado Ballet and the Harid Conservatory before joining the ABT Studio Company in 2005. She entered the main company as an apprentice in 2006, and attained principal status in 2014. In addition to her successes with ABT, where she dances nearly every major ballerina role, Boylston has served as artistic director of the annual Ballet Sun Valley Festival, which brings high-level performances and classes to her hometown. And speaking of famous Jennifers: Boylston recently appeared as Jennifer Lawrence's dance double in the film Red Sparrow. Catch her onstage with ABT as Manon, Odette/Odile, and Princess Aurora during the company's Metropolitan Opera House season this summer in NYC. —Margaret Fuhrer