LONG PART­NER­SHIP PAYS OFF

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - LIFESTYLE -

PERTH chore­og­ra­phers Peta Roby and Ja­son Gilk­i­son both reach the mile­stone birth­day of half a cen­tury this year; the same point in El­ton John’s life that changed theirs for­ever.

It was at John’s 50th birth­day party when pro­ducer Har­ley Med­calf was in­spired to tour a com­mer­cial ball­room and latin pro­duc­tion, and the vi­sion for Burn the Floor was con­ceived.

For the last 17 years, Burn the Floor has toured the world un­der the di­rec­tion of Roby and chore­og­ra­phy of Gilk­i­son, a dance part­ner­ship stretch­ing al­most a life­time.

“We’ve known each other since we were ba­bies and have a long fam­ily his­tory from grand­par­ents to par­ents to us,” Roby said.

“We started danc­ing to­gether at the age of seven and it’s quite rare that we had the good for­tune to dance our whole 35-year ca­reer to­gether.

“It’s so nice to share the jour­ney with that one per­son.”

Roby – who grew up in Mor­ley, moved to Sal­ter Point once mar­ried and now has a house in Italy – said the up­com­ing Perth sea­son of Burn the Floor – Fire in the Ball­room at Re­gal Theatre was the third show in the pro­duc­tion’s his­tory and catered to a wider au­di­ence through its fu­sion of dance, vo­cals and live band.

“It’s a brand new show for us, so even if you’ve seen it, you haven’t seen this one; it’s a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach,” she said.

“This time around we’ve brought in more rock and roll.

“We have a nat­u­ral fol­low­ing of fe­male au­di­ences but we’re try­ing to this time tap in to the male au- di­ences and have done a lot of that through mu­sic.

“There’s songs like Stair­way to Heaven, which is an iconic piece of mu­sic pair­ing rock and fla­menco gui­tar into it. We’ve taken an edge to en­hance our dance side but kept the mas­culin­ity.”

Roby said the risk paid off af­ter open­ing night on Queens­land’s Gold Coast when many male au­di­ence mem­bers com­mented on how much they loved the mu­sic.

“It has en­ergy and a flair of the- atri­cal­ity with an edge of rock, sex­i­ness and the un­ex­pected.

“It’s a feast for the senses; whether it’s the mu­sic, the danc­ing or per­haps the eye candy, there’s some­thing that ev­ery­body can take on what­ever level.”

Com­mu­nity News­pa­per Group has 10 dou­ble passes to give away to Burn the Floor – Fire in the Ball­room on March 23. En­ter at www.com­mu­ni­tynews.com.au by March 11.

Tanya MacNaughton

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