‘Ballroom With a Twist” delivers an evening of rollicking fun

By By Andrea B. Bond
For the Gazette

Fans of reality TV music and dance shows can get their fix in one rollicking evening of live performance, and if Thursday night’s presentation of “Ballroom With a Twist” was any indication, the merger is a successful one.

The Clay Center’s audience laughed, applauded and stomped its collective feet to the feast of music and movement featuring Kym Johnson and Tristan McManus of “Dancing With the Stars,” Gina Glocksen and Von Smith of “American Idol,” and Jonathan “Legacy” Perez, Randi Lynn Strong and Jonathan Platero of “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The show followed no central theme, but rather consisted of a mishmash of music and dance numbers ranging from big band and mambo to contemporary dance and pop.

Some numbers were more standout than others. One misstep might have been in Smith’s opening with “Feeling Good.” Smith was a Top 36 semifinalist from season eight of “American Idol.”

Adam Lambert, breakout star of the same season, did a more memorable performance of the song on the TV show. Smith had the pipes, but not the stage presence.

Fortunately, Smith later redeemed himself with a playful vocal and dance rendition of the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies’ 1990s swing/ska hit, “Zoot Suit Riot.”

A very pregnant Glocksen proved she could still move with the best of them, shimmying in a red sequined dress and teasing, “Which one is the father?” referring to the two hot male dancers that accompanied her performance.

The show’s hosts, Johnson and McManus, injected a bit of light-hearted humor into the evening, inviting the audience to ask them questions.

“I imagined myself with George Clooney,” Johnson said in response to a question as to how her dance partners were selected, “but I got Jerry Springer.”

She went on to add that Springer turned out to be a great dance partner and she had a lot of fun with him.

Johnson and McManus also led the audience in a group dance session, cheering and encouraging everyone to get out of their seats and shimmy to the beat.

But if applause was any indication, the evening’s mega star clearly was Jonathan “Legacy” Perez, who captivated and awed with his gymnastic, gravity defying break dancing moves.

Indeed, ballroom dance is alive and well, but with a few contemporary tweaks. These twists provided enough oomph to satisfy audiences of all ages and leave them on their feet and cheering for more.

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