The Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) stage transformed into a ballroom for the dazzling January 19th double performance of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) Live 2023 tour, co-hosted by American television personality Gabby Windey and English-born dancer and choreographer Emma Slater.
The opening ten dance medley, featuring such dance styles as the Cha Ca, Rumba, Foxtrot, and Tango, were performed by male dancers Alan Bersten, Gleb Savchenko, Brandon Armstrong and Sasha Farber. Their female partners were Windey and Slater, along with Britt Stewart, Alexis Warr and Kateryna Klishyna. The costumes were stunning, and changed with each routine, the action was non-stop as each routine flowed into the next, and the musical selection was superb.
Windey and Slater welcomed the audience and were outgoing and a rather comical duo. That set the tone for Savchenko, Armstrong, Bersten, Warr, Stewart and Klishyna as they danced to Duffy’s 2008 sensational hit single Mercy. The song got the audience moving in their seats as they saw firsthand the extraordinary physicality of the dancers. The lighting visuals were a delight to behold.
Armstrong and Slater rocked the stage to KC and The Sunshine Band’s 1975 tune Boogie Shoes. The funky disco song became a worldwide hit when it appeared on the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever. The set list billed Boogie Shoes as a retro great, and it certainly was. Stewart, along with Farber, Bersten, and Savchenko, followed with a seductive dance to Sam Sparro’s 2008 tune Black and Gold.
Slater and Windey returned with a cute shtick where Windey explained she was making her own Mirrorball Trophy, having taken 2nd in season 31 of DWTS on T.V. Slater informed the audience that many of the performers were competitive ballroom dancers and worked out tirelessly to be in shape for the demanding schedules they kept.
“Tonight you’ll see what they have spent their whole lives doing…You be the judge.”
Bryan Adams’ Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman was danced in flamenco style, but an impressive seductive tango with 4 couples dramatically dancing to Electrocutango’s Felino brought deafening applause. The audience continued its clapping participation and was rewarded to the entire troupe dancing to Rihanna’s We Found Love, along with special effects smoke and confetti.
After a short intermission, all were treated to black top hats and tails on the male dancers and pale yellow gowns on the females, as they performed what was billed as Classy Kickin, featuring L.O.V.E., Dancin’ Fool and Mack the Knife and dancers dressed in boas and sparkling gowns and men still in tails. Stewart and Savchenko were magnificent in their coupling during Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing.
Emma took the mic, showing us A Week in the Life of a DWTS Pro, one day which would wear out just about anyone. It was nonstop dancing through another group of songs, like Stevie Nick’s Dreams performed by Bersten and Stewart. The entire troupe pulled the audience into action, performing Chic’s Everybody Dance. And dance the theatergoers did.
The dancers may have shown the evening’s final steps in Never Not Gonna Dance Again as they took their final bows, but all in attendance were rewarded to a once in a lifetime chance to see performers who live that song’s mantra day after day.
Mayo Performing Arts Center presents Dancing With The Stars Live 2023, with co-host guest star Gabby Windey. Cast includes co-host Emma Slater, Britt Stewart, Alan Bersten, Gleb Savchenko, Brandon Armstrong, Alexis Warr, Sasha Farber, and Kateryna Klishyna.
MPAC, 100 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960. Tickets available at https://secure.mayoarts.org/events?k=Main-stage
Dancing With The Stars Live 2023 runs nationwide through March 2023. Running time is approximately 2 hours with a 15-minute intermission.