Keep Dancing is a brand new dance show celebrating the world of Ballroom and Latin, starring Strictly Come Dancing professional dancer Robin Windsor. Having previously toured the country with shows such as Burn The Floor and Puttin’ On The Ritz, this year Robin decided to take part in his most spectacular show yet, alongside a talented troupe of dancers including Anya Garnis.
Promising a night of breathtaking ballroom, along with special guests and reigning Strictly champions Jay McGuiness and Aliona Vilani, we put on our dancing shoes and went to New Wimbledon Theatre on Saturday night to check out the Keep Dancing action for ourselves.
From the get-go, we were impressed. Bursting onto the stage dancing to ‘You Should Be Dancing’, it was evident that we were in for a brilliant night full of high energy performances. Over the course of the evening, Robin, Anya and the troupe demonstrated a fusion of popular ballroom dances as well as integrating less traditional elements such as hip hop.
Whilst a large proportion of the show included all of the dancers, everyone was given a spotlight moment, whether solo, in pairs or small groups. Combining modern tracks such as ‘Sax’ with old show classics such as ‘There’s No Business Like Showbusiness’, Keep Dancing provided something for everyone. Highlights for us included an all-male paso doble, a hip hop routine to a jazz-inspired version of The Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’, and the Charleston section, because who doesn’t love a Charleston?!
During the show, there were also four sections specially reserved for the night’s special guests, which on this occasion were Jay and Aliona. Whilst the audience were extremely appreciative towards all of the dancers, for many, the main attraction of the night was Jaliona. The popular duo performed four dances – the Paso, Charleston, Salsa and the Jive – to rapturous applause from the audience. Due to BBC copyright, Jaliona had to change their dances slightly, meaning that we didn’t get to witness that superb Pulp Fiction jive exactly as performed on Strictly. Despite changing the music for their songs, there were still some familiar elements to their dances which made the audience fall in love with the beauty of Jaliona all over again. They truly are a special pairing, without doubt one of the most significant to come from Strictly, and their chemistry, talent and vigour was just as electric in person as it was on TV.
The dancers had many costume changes during the evening, with each outfit more eye-catching than the last. For many of the costume changes, the three incredible singers had the opportunity to take centre stage and further entertain the crowd. Adam Warmington, Lisa-Marie Holmes and Harriette Mullen were superb – not only did they wow us as a trio, but they also gave several solo performances over the course of the show. They also incorporated perfectly with the dancers during the show, often performing choreography alongside them and even getting their own costume changes!
We must also give a mention to Joëlle Barker and Adam Green on percussion, who not only kept spirits high throughout the evening, but were also given their moment to shine, blowing us away with their instrumental solos.
For us, one of the most special things about the show was the relationship between the entire crew. There was a great deal of respect to be had for each dancer, singer and instrumentalist and it was heartwarming to see them all being given a chance to show off their talents.
Whilst we enjoyed the show thoroughly, it didn’t come without a couple of hitches. There seemed to be a bit of difficulty untangling flags during the Candyman section, but as expected, the dancers carried on professionally. Also, during the handclap section entitled ‘Applause’, Robin lost his way which gave the audience and dancers a bit of a giggle. However, when they repeated it again at double speed, he nailed it without any problems!
To end the show, the Keep Dancing crew performed a disco medley, before asking the audience to get up and dance to the Gloria Estefan medley. Not that anybody needed any encouragement, as we’d all been itching to show off our best moves all night! It was an incredible sight to see the entire theatre on their feet and dancing along, and the smiles on the faces of the cast proved how much it meant for them to see the crowd enjoying themselves. Jay and Aliona also made a final appearance for the curtain call, which again provoked a deafening response from the audience.
Whether you’re a dance lover or not, the Keep Dancing show has the ability to give anyone that warm fuzzy feeling. The combination of traditional and modern ensured that there was something for everybody. The entire cast performed with such enthusiasm and joy, that it was impossible not to be sucked in by the feel good factor. Despite a couple of minor mishaps, the cast remained professional and delivered a spellbinding show.
Keep Dancing continues across the country with shows in Cardiff, York, Manchester, Woking, Glasgow, Liverpool, Eastbourne, Edinburgh and Birmingham. For tickets and more information, visit their website.