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Before ballroom dancing became a left-field TV sensation thanks to So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars, there was Burn the Floor, a live production that began touring the globe in 1999. Floor artistic director/choreographer/dancer Jason Gilkison doesn't take credit for the success of these broadcast phenoms, but, he says, "I'd like to think our show had a big part in getting people thinking about bringing ballroom dancing to a new audience." Still, he views Floorplay — the latest opus from the Burn the Floor crowd, which begins its Denver run tonight — as "the next step" in ballroom's popular evolution. According to him, "We want to bring it back to the art form rather than the sport of it."

Floorplay features twenty dancers, plus two vocalists and a pair of percussionists who provide "a live-music element that we didn't really have with Burn the Floor," Gilkison notes. "It feels particularly good for the dancers to dance to." When all of the performers are on stage at the same time, the result could be a traffic jam. Instead, Gilkison says, "it tends to look like a very interesting tapestry." In his view, the results will provide newer ballroom aficionados with a greater understanding of the style. "With Burn the Floor, we skimmed the surface," he says. "Now it feels like we're really going in deep."

Floorplay kicks off at 8 p.m. at the Buell Theatre in the Denver Performing Arts Complex; tickets are $15 to $57. The show continues through June 24. For details, call 303-893-4100 or visit
June 19-22, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 23, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., June 24, 2 & 7:30 p.m.


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