PASHA & ANYA TAKE BROADWAY!

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I remember several years ago — maybe five now — sitting in another, much smaller theater on Broadway watching a Dance Times Square teacher / student showcase and nearly falling out of my chair during the all-pro part when my teacher, Pasha (Kovalev), and his partner, Anya (Garnis), danced a West Coast Swing-turned Jive to Tina Turner’s Proud Mary. They also danced a Samba and, if I remember correctly a Rumba and though I’d started lessons with him, it was the first time I saw him dance with her. It was one of those performances where you feel kind of sick afterward because you don’t have a DVD or any kind of recording and you fear you’ll never see dance like that again. I also remember thinking how they should really be on Broadway. I mean, real Broadway, like in a regular theater.

So this is, to make a massive understatement, Surreal!

Several of my friends from Dance Times Square and I went to the Longacre Theater tonight to see our friends made their Broadway debuts in Jason Gilkison’s Burn the Floor. Of course we had to go to the (insanely packed) stage door afterward.

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Pasha’s about to give me a hug here :) I guess I repaid him by flashing my camera right in his face. Oh the endlessly annoying paparazzi…

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How gorgeous is Anya?! Posing with my friend Steve and his wife, Ina.

They took over the roles of Maks Chmerkovskiy and Karina Smirnoff and of course they were radiant. I think they worked better with the show size-wise because of that small stage (which Maks was too large for — I love him, but he made it look all the more crowded up there).

If you didn’t read it, see my earlier review of the show here.

I think the dancers got used to the small floor; everything went much more smoothly. My favorite parts remain the extended Swing / Jive section that ends the first half and the two Rumbas in the second half (Peta Murgatroyd’s classic, dance-hall Rumba, and the more contemporary, sensual, half-dressed Rumba by the leads — although I noticed Pasha and Anya wore more clothes in that number than Maks & Karina did :) ). But … I also like the Tango- turned dual Paso Dobles in the second half. Okay, I like the whole second half (mainly devoted to Latin).

In my earlier review, I don’t think I mentioned Sasha Farber as one of the dancers who most stood out to me. He’s a character dancer, kind of like Craig Salstein, and he has a rather fun part early on during a Jive where he’s trying hard to get the girl and gets carted off, kicking madly, by two men. He’s lively, actorly, and can really move quite fast. And Murgatroyd, which I wrote about in the earlier review, captivated me again, with her long limbs and gorgeous balletic lines. I mean, I really liked everyone; it’s hard even to single people out.

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Here is Peta Murgatroyd exiting the stage door, on a bike! Actually, almost all of the dancers were on them. Apparently the show’s producers or someone from the company had given them the bikes so they could get around town more easily. Peta was popular with autograph-seekers too.

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Ooh, wonderful night. I miss them…

Oh and this seems to be making headlines.

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The Walter Kerr Theater across the street from the Longacre is advertising the show as well. See the arrow in the sign on the right side of the street. It’s pointing across the street. It’s the first time a Broadway theater has ever advertised for another show!

10 Comments

  1. Anne Coburn Whitmore

    Aww, this is so cute and wonderful to read!
    This is such a nice tribute, your writing about your friends – I can see how genuinely happy and excited you are for them! – you are a fabulous person, Tonya. :)

    And … OMG!: Hurley's!!!
    (man, I miss NY.)

    I loved when you wrote about “nearly falling out of my chair during (a performance)” … it's such a dancer's reaction, isn't it? The physicality hits you innately, instinctively on such a profound, intrinsic level that it jars you, well, physically, doesn't it?! It's like a jolt gets sent, and your body perceives and receives it and “dancer-reacts”, somehow. 😉

    I also loved reading this: “…it was the first time I saw him dance with her. It was one of those performances where you feel kind of sick afterward because you don’t have a DVD or any kind of recording and you fear you’ll never see dance like that again.” I have SO been there – thank you for putting it into words.
    Anne

    PS: And you just had to go ahead and mention Craig S. again, didn't you! 😉 (just kidding!)

  2. Great writeup, Tonya! Did Peta Murgatroyd have that same slow sexy Latin dance (sorry, I think it's rumba, but I'm not familiar with the subtleties between the different slow Latin dances) where several guys blindfold her and then dance with her, blindfolded? It was very sexy. They did that in SF, although I know that they change up the show quite a bit as they continue to travel.

    I hope you'll indulge me while I shamelessly plug my review of their show in SF: http://www.saturdaymatineeblog.com/2009/02/burn… . Also included are photos from their warm up, which I was kindly invited to.

  3. I think you're way off base to be critical of Maksim's size vis a vis the small dance floor. How rude can you be??? He stood out appropriately for a lead dancer and certainly is a fine figure of a man and a wonderful dancer as well. Who is interested in watching munchkins only? Poor taste on your part.

  4. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thank you so much Anne! You are such a thoughtful, careful reader who pays such close attention to details! You're every writer's dream and I'm so happy you read my blog :) Thank you!

    Hehe, regarding Craig — yes, now I love him, can't stop talking about him!

  5. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Thank you Jolene for linking to your review. I totally forgot you'd written about it! Yes, Peta Murgatroyd performed that number and I thought she did it very well. The NY Times hated it — I don't think it was Macaulay who wrote that review but the theater critic, Charles Isherwood, but he thought it looked misogynistic since she was blindfolded. Funny, because I kept thinking how they'd done that to us in ballroom lessons — blindfolded us so we'd learn to follow and not back-lead. So that's what I was thinking when I saw that, not that it was sexist. I also thought it showed her stagecraft and her dance ability — momentarily not being able to see and still getting around the floor like that without missing a step.

    Were there any dancers who did the main roles there, like Pasha & Anya and Maks & Karina did here? Great pictures and video!

  6. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    JoAnn, I didn't say he was a bad dancer. Throughout my blog I've often spoken of being captivated by larger dancers (Marcelo Gomes, Veronika Part, Vaidotas Skimelis, etc. etc.) I think Maks is a great dancer. However, in this particular show, because of the unfortunate smallness of the stage, he had a hard time dancing full out and the stage tended to look crowded, particularly when he was dancing in numbers that included an ensemble. It's not his fault of course that the stage was so small but it is my honest observation of the show.

  7. Anne Coburn Whitmore

    :)) Aww, thank YOU!

    I also *loved* this bit:
    “Pasha’s about to give me a hug here :) I guess I repaid him by flashing my camera right in his face. Oh the endlessly annoying paparazzi…” :
    — haha, so funny and clever, Tonya!

    [An aside: I still can't believe the last shot – it's like that arrow in the sign for BURN THE FLOOR just sling-shotted my eyes across the street over to the Hurley's sign!! I used to work in an office bldg right around there … memories … wait, that's another show! ;)…]

  8. Tonya! YAY!!! Panya and the Company of BTF just got their Broadway run extended! From http://www.broadwayworld.com...”The producers of BURN THE FLOOR, announced today that that the show will extend through January 3, 2010. The Latin and ballroom spectacular had originally announced a limited 12-week run. The first new show of the Broadway season, BURN THE FLOOR broke the box office record at the Longacre Theatre two weeks running. Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev of Fox's “So You Think You Can Dance” joined the company on August 18.” I am so happy for their success!

  9. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Hi Jonathan — thank you for the info! I know, it's excellent news! Just to let you know, though, the BTF publicist told me at this point they are only confirmed to perform through October 18th. They may end up staying longer, but just in case get your tickets for a show before October 18th. Let me know what you think!

  10. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Hi Jonathan — thank you for the info! I know, it's excellent news! Just to let you know, though, the BTF publicist told me at this point Pasha & Anya are only confirmed to perform through October 18th. They may end up staying longer, but just in case get your tickets for a show before October 18th. Let me know what you think!

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