I'll be honest, the art of dance had really lost its magic for me in the years since George Sampson and Diversity shot to fame in Britain's Got Talent. It seems like the variety show is swamped by dance acts and the shine has really gone from the performances we're shown. Couple that with Strictly Come Dancing ruling the small screen each and every year and I felt all danced out, even if I hadn't done a step of dancing myself. So, going into Keep Dancing at the Palace Theatre in Manchester this week, I wasn't expecting the show to be one I'd remember, and I expected a half empty auditorium. How wrong I was.
Within minutes I was hooked and realised this was a show that many wanted to see. The Palace was packed and I couldn't have been more surprised. The energy, passion and professionalism brought to the stage by Robin Windsor, Anya Garnis and a cast of incredible dancers was enough to make any dance doubter instantly do a complete 180.
Three incredible vocalists - Lisa-Marie Holmes, Harriette Mullen and Adam Warmington - took on songs such as Fleur East's 'Sax', Enrique Iglesias' 'Bailamos' and Ricky Martin's 'She Bangs' - encouraged the crowd to get involved by clapping and grooving along to all the upbeat numbers.
Then there were the slower dances, with 'A Thousand Years' - danced to by Windsor and Garnis - almost moving me to tears. Not a reaction I thought I'd be having.
Strictly Come Dancing 2012 winner and Rio Olympic medallist Louis Smith was the special guest for the show, and it's easy to see just why he took home the Glitterball those four years ago. He's a brilliantly skilled individual, but when he's making appearances between performances from the true professionals, the difference in ability is clear to see. That's not to say he wasn't entertaining because he really was, but it's clear that the only reason he's in the show is to garner 'pop culture' interest. He was used however in the right way, with four short numbers alongside Anya Garnis, and came out for the closing number. Other than that, it was left up to the big players from the dance world.
It wouldn't be fair to review this show without mentioning all of the extraordinarily talented people that went into making it such a riveting success. So, a major thank you to Robin Windsor, Anya Garnis, Louis Smith, Mason Boyce, Arron Brown, Victoria Burke, Florence Edge, Yanet Fuentes, Jordan Hinchcliffe, Joshua Moore, Shane Seal, Lisa Welham, Rose Wild, Adam Warmington, Lisa-Marie Holmes, Harriette Mullen, Joelle Barker and Adam Green for one heck of a night.
This is one show I'd really love to revisit in the future, and I really hope it's a success and runs for many years to come. This is its first tour on the theatre circuit having debuted in August of this year - it'd be great to see it really stand the test of time.
Keep Dancing runs at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until Saturday October 8.