Years before “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” turned ballroom dancing into an exciting type of dance on TV, one sizzling show was setting stages ablaze around the world. It is the Broadway production of Burn the Floor which is an electrifying Latin and Ballroom dance spectacular that has thrilled audiences in more than 30 countries because of the fire and passion of their live performance. The cast from Burn the Floor takes audiences on a journey through the passionate drama of dance fromt he hot nights at The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York City where dances such as Foxtrot and Charleston were born to the Latin Quarter where the Cha-Cha, Rumba and Salsa brought sexy to a whole new level.

The cast did a preview of the major dance acts that the Singapore audience will get to enjoy. The first act was the Ballroom Blitz which is a brand new number choreographed especially for the Asian leg of the tour. It turned up the heat as the number was raw and hot. After which, they performed a few more numbers including an Argentine tango and a Brazilian rhythm. All the numbers were extraordinary and performed to perfection. The moves were scintillating and remarkable. It combines both acrobatic and romantic notions into a single act.

The special thing about Burn the Floor is the chemistry between the dancers and with the audience. It draws the audience into the love story and the complexities of relationships. It is a groundbreaking show, serving as a melting pot of styles, energy and excitement for the audience. Audience will get to experience the exuberance of the Jive, the intensity of the Paso Doble, the rawness of the Tango, the elegance of the Viennese Waltz as well as other numbers which includes the Mambo, Quickstep and the Swing.

Popspoken’s curator, Abigail, scored an exclusive interview with the Company Managers of Burn the Floor, Gordana Grandosek from Solvenia and her partner, Trent Whiddon from Australia. Gordana has been dancing for 21 years and joined Burn the Floor in 2000. She came in 2nd place in Dancing with the Stars, Solvenia and was a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance, Australia. Trent Whiddon was also a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance, Australia. He began dancing when he was 7 years old and joined Burn the Floor in 2002.

Abigail Genevieve (AG): How important was parental support since you started dancing at a very young age?

Trent Whiddon (TW): It was definitely very important. When I was young, my parents would drive me dance classes and do whatever it took for me to get proper ballroom training.

Gordana Grandosek (GG): My parents were divorced and my mum brought me up. It was very hard for her but she managed to save enough money to put my brothers and I through dancing school. She gave me whatever she could.

AG: Who is your inspiration?

TW: I started dancing when I first saw a dance troop in my school. I love the leather jackets and I thought it was cool. After that, I fell in love with the fans and wanted to improve for them and to find better ways to dance to satisfy that urge inside to be a good dancer. My current inspiration is Brian Watson [He is a nine times Professional World Latin Dance Champion].

GG: My brother was my inspiration. He started ballroom dancing first and after I saw him danced, I knew that I wanted to do it too. My current inspiration is Anna Melnikova [She is a Russian female acrobatic gymnast].

AG: Why did you choose ballroom dancing?

TW: I feel that ballroom dancing allows you to tell a story and it is a personal story. It allows you to form a special bond with someone and for the audience to experience that bond that you share with your partner.

GG: Same as Trent Also, my brother is a ballroom dancer. I like ballroom music and I have always felt that it was my destiny to start ballroom dancing. Dancing helps me to forget all my troubles.

AG: What do you think makes a good dancer?

TW: Dedication and motivation. It is alright to be talented but if you do nothing about it, then you will amount to nothing.

GG: Talent can make you lazy like in school if you are good at a subject, you will tend to slack. But you need to put in a lot of effort to have good technique. It helps if you learnt ballet as a child as it helps with flexibility.

AG: What is it like managing the company?

TW: We have to look after ourselves and the dancers and make sure that they are well-rested and to tend to their injuries.

GG: We also have to take care of the show, transportation, scheduling, monetary considerations. We try to prevent injuries by warming up for an hour or an hour and a half before the show and we drink protein shakes. The guys exercise regularly and the girls do pilates.

AG: What is the most difficult part about managing the company?

TW: Keeping a good and high morale. The dancers must stay passionate in order to give their best.

GG: Keeping a happy balance. If the dancers feel negative feelings then we have to try to overcome that.

AG: How you motivate your dancers?

GG: We tell jokes. Humour helps. When they are tired, we make them laugh. At first, we tried to be serious but we soon realised that we get more out of people by giving them happiness. Now, the dancers know the right balance between when to be serious and when to joke around.

AG: How many costumes are there?

GG: We have 16 different costumes for Burn the Floor. We have a costume department to settle it so we only need to arrive about an hour before the show starts to ensure that everything is there. All our costumes are hand sewn. The buttons are glued together one by one manually.

AG: There have been a lot of dancing shows and movies lately like Step Up and So You Think You Can Dance. How do you feel about them?

TW: It is good. Any publicity about dancing is great. It is wonderful to get ballroom dancing or dancing into the mainstream. It helps to educate people about the ballroom dancing.

AG: You were both on So You Think You Can Dance. How was it like?

TW: We did choreography and it was difficult. There were many different expectations from different people. There were difficulties which the audience did not see. We had to put everything together.

GG: It was very hard to teach proper dancing techniques in such a short period of time. We needed to add a lot of tricks so as to appeal to the audience. But it was a good experience and we feel that it is a good show. We got about six or seven dancers from the show that joined the cast of Burn the Floor. It helps dancers to know that there is another route for them other than just competitive ballroom dancing. They can perform on shows like Burn the Floor.

There you have it! The exclusive interview with Gordana Grandosek and Trent Whitton.

Burn the Floor will heat up the stage at the Sands Theater, Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from 9th to 14th October 2012. Dance your way to this dazzling display of ballroom dancing!

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