Burn the Floor: Walanbaa Yulu-Gi

Burn-the-Floor-Albert-David-and-Mitch-Tambo-with-BTF-Cast-photo-by-Belinda-StrodderFor 25 years, Australian Ballroom Dance Company, Burn the Floor, has toured the world, delighting audiences with their reinvented ballroom style.

To celebrate their 25th Anniversary, they have returned to Australia with the Walanbaa Yulu-Gi tour, featuring celebrated Gamilaraay performer, Mitch Tambo, and a troupe of new and seasoned dancers, musicians and singers.

This iteration of Burn the Floor offers a truly Australian flavour, embracing a cross-cultural fusion of Indigenous culture with ballroom and Latin dance styles.

With a stylised Welcome to Country, Tambo opens the show with Yaama (hello) featuring the Company and First Nations contemporary dancer, Albert David, closely followed by Tambo’s recent upbeat hit, Yugal Yulu-Gi, setting the tempo for the night. Tambo is certainly a charismatic host.

Directed by Peta Toby, with choreography by Jorja Freeman and Robbie Kmetoni, the dancing in Burn the Floor is second to none. Manipulating each dancer’s strengths, the various interplays are sexy and sensual, however, the choreography works best in the group numbers such as Stayin’ Alive and Absolutely Everybody.

The company of dancers include Sriani Argaet, Jemma-Sue Armstrong, Sermsah Bin Saad, Julian Caillon, Lily Cornish, Albert David, Jorja Freeman, Sophie Holloway, Robbie Kmetoni, Lyu Masuda, Craig Monley, Anne-Janette Phillips, Jessica Raffa and Gustavo Viglio. From the reaction received, it was obvious, many of dancers had plenty of fans in the audience.

The Burn the Floor soundtrack has a truly Australian flavour, featuring a complimentary mix of First Nation’s music by Mo’ Ju (Native Tongue), Archie Roach (Back to the Land), Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu (Wiyathal), with contemporary and classic anthems including High to Hell (AC/DC), Are You Gonna be My Girl (Jet), Never Tear Us Apart (INXS), Khe Sanh & When the War is Over (Cold Chisel), Chandelier (Sia), and the previously mentioned Stayin’ Alive (The Bee Gees) and Absolutely Everybody (Vanessa Amorosi).

Musical Director Tyler Azzopardi (vocals and percussion) and his top-notch band, Jamie Valente (lead guitar), Pat Madden (drums) are joined by vocalists Tia Gigliotti, Lea Firth and The Voice favourite, Mark Stefanoff (keyboards), easily navigated the various musical numbers, each given their moment to shine.

With The Voice referendum set to take place later this year, the evening appropriately finished with the John Farnham classic, You’re the Voice, sung by Tambo in the Gamilaraay language, who was joined by the Burn the Floor Company, and an appreciative audience, in a rousing rendition of this anthem.

Burn the Floor: Walanbaa Yulu-Gi
The Palms at Crown, Whiteman Street, Southbank (Melbourne)
Performance: Friday 21 July 2023
Season continues to 30 July 2023
Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au

Following the Melbourne season, Burn the Floor will tour the east coast of Australia from 1 – 13 August playing Maryborough, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, Canberra, Wyong, Sydney, Penrith and Chatswood. For more information, visit: www.burnthefloor.com for details.

Image: Albert David and Mitch Tambo with the Burn the Floor Cast – photo by Belinda Strodder

Review: Rohan Shearn