Review: ‘Ballroom With a Twist’

Aug. 20, 2014 | 2 Comments
KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Sharna Burgess of "Dancing with the Stars" perform in "Ballroom with a Twist" at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall  on Tuesday.

PHOTOS BY KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Sharna Burgess of “Dancing with the Stars” perform in “Ballroom With a Twist” at the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall on Tuesday.

REVIEW BY STEVEN MARK / smark@staradvertiser.com

It was all hips and dips and flash and dance as “Ballroom With a Twist” took to the stage — and floor — of the Blaisdell Concert Hall on Tuesday.

FTR ballroom 2

‘BALLROOM WITH A TWIST’

Featuring the stars of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and ‘Dancing With the Stars’

» Where: Blaisdell Concert Hall, 777 Ward Ave.
» When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
» Cost: $35-$95
» Info: (866) 448-7849, ticketmaster.com

“Dancing With the Stars” professionals Maksim Chmerkovskiy (last season’s winner), his brother Valentin, Karina Smirnoff, Tony Dovolani and Sharna Burgess showcased an evening of high-energy song and dance numbers in a snappy two-hour show. It was a polished, exciting performance, made somewhat suspenseful by the preshow announcement that Cheryl Burke, another “DWTS” pro who was scheduled to appear, had to leave the tour due to a family matter.

No matter. Burgess learned Burke’s routines in a day, partnering beautifully with Dovolani in a graceful waltz and a sensual rhumba, while longtime dance partners Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Smirnoff charged through a couple of the more energetic numbers. Valentin Chmerkovskiy and Burgess also contributed a dynamic paso doble.

In case you’re wondering whether these dances look just as good live as on TV — it’s better live. Yes, you might see some sweat, but the moves are that much snappier, the extension that much longer, and the balance and control that much more apparent, making for a much more powerful emotional impact.

The glint off the fingernails adds a bit of spice to the action. And when Maks took off his shirt, the definition of his pectorals popped and seemed worthy of the screams he elicited from females in the crowd.

One might have wanted to see more of the “DWTS” stars, but the evening was amply supplemented by several ensemble numbers performed by dancers from “So You Can Think You Can Dance.”

Especially impressive among this group was Jonathan “Legacy” Perez, whose breakdancing stylings combined with his gymnastic athleticism to create some wicked spins and stunning crablike moves, all on his hands with his body almost horizontal to the floor.

"So You Think You Can Dance" contestant Jonathan "Legacy" Perez breakdances on stage during "Ballroom With a Twist" on Tuesday.

“So You Think You Can Dance” contestant Jonathan “Legacy” Perez breakdances on stage during “Ballroom With a Twist” on Tuesday.

The singing part of the show was provided by Von Smith, whose YouTube videos earned him a place on “American Idol,” and Haley Scarnoto, a quarterfinalist in the sixth season of “Idol.” Smith’s clear tenor proved amazingly elastic, while Scarnoto had a slight huskiness to her voice that paired nicely with Smith.

The show also gave the audience an opportunity to interact with the “DWTS” stars. An audience Q&A might have gone a bit better, since many of the questions focused on the pros’ personal lives (no, Maks is not marrying Meryl Davis), but it was interesting to realize all of the dancers who appeared Tuesday were from foreign countries.

 Tony Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Sharna Burgess, Karina Smirnoff and Valentin Chmerkovskiy of "Dancing with the Stars" take questions from the audience.

Tony Dovolani, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Sharna Burgess, Karina Smirnoff and Valentin Chmerkovskiy of “Dancing with the Stars” take questions from the audience.

Dovolani, a native of Albania, said he always wanted to dance in America, but it was only when he got here that he realized “dancers are not that popular, which I couldn’t understand because all the boys were playing with other guys, in tights, playing football, while I was dancing with the girls. So I didn’t mind being not that popular.”

It was also charming when the late Don Ho’s wife Haumea was invited on stage to help the crowd learn some dance moves. That soon gave way to a rather large crowd up on stage with the stars.

There might have been a few more people up there than even the performers expected, but they handled it with aplomb, with nearly everyone getting a personal hug or handshake by the time they left.

So if you go on Wednesday, you too might get to dance with the real stars of “Dancing With the Stars.” The show is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $35-$95 and available at ticketmaster.com or 866-448-7849.

  • lowaithe

    Great recap..enjoy reading. Wow. Is this breaking news? Maks actually said he is not marrying Meryl?

  • Sharon Morgan

    Maks simply didn’t answer the question of the 6 year old girl who asked if he and Meryl would get married.