Music Review: Firedance

Words: Ian C Douglas
Friday 31 March 2023
reading time: min, words

Ian C Douglas reviews Firedance at the Royal Concert Hall...


Strictly comes to Nottingham in the rather fit form of Gorka Marquez and Karen Hauer, two of the show’s longstanding pro dancers. Firedance showcases their talents in an evening of top rate physical theatre.

With a strong Latin theme running through the show, the audience is treated to breath taking dance routine after breath taking dance routine. And it’s not just the dance. Each number is accompanied by an excellent band. Among the smorgasbord of well-known tunes were works from Gloria Estefan, West Side Story, Mambo, Carmen, Marc Anthony and some intriguing interpretations of Lady Gaga, Mamas and Papas and Madcon.

Gorka and Karen are the stars, of course. Gorka began dancing while 12 years old and has represented Spain in the World Latin Championships. Karen has appeared in shows across five continents. Two outstanding dancers at the peak of their prowess.

Simply put, they were both amazing: a triple whammy of charisma, stamina, and talent. And the backing dancers were awesome too. In particular, Lex Milczarek wowed the concertgoers with his hoop dance, (like a hula hoop but man-sized) and later his fire juggling. Yes, the smell of paraffin reached the upper stalls regularly.     

Sex appeal was definitely one of the show’s assets

Singer Sandy Grigelis led the band, belting out those anthems in perfect pitch while jiving with the dance troupe. Towards the end, he had the audience up and bopping in the seats with the showmanship of a Freddie Mercury.

A feast for the senses then, with eye-catching costumes, plenty of fire effects, perfect sound quality and dramatic lighting. And, it has to be said, an awful lot of heaving, manly pectorals are on display. Ay caramba! This might explain the predominantly female presence in the theatre. Sex appeal was definitely one of the show’s assets.     

Gorka sums the performances well in the souvenir programme when he describes it as ‘a twist of ballroom with the spice of modern and contemporary dances’. So, for fans of Strictly and ballroom dancing in general, a night out doesn’t come better than this.

Firedance performed on Thursday 30th March 2023 at the Royal Concert Hall.

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