Review: Broadway goes Latin 

5 stars

Cultural Explosion, Broadway goes Latin, Pike Performing Arts Center, Feb. 26.

Exuding energy, glitz, elegance, humor and pure pleasure, this is the kind of program to bring non-believers to embrace dance.

Choreographers/dancers/teachers Juan Calderon and Christina Piedra founded New Jersey-based Cultural Explosion 15 years ago to teach salsa. Five years ago they started a touring company to show what selected Hollywood and Broadway musicals would be like if they incorporated Latin dancing including salsa, mambo, flamenco, merengue, bolero, Latin hustle, Latin jazz, cha-cha-cha and rueda.

The standout was the modern and contemporary bolero choreography and dancing by Bellasmin Aquine and Ivan Taylor set on “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” as a tribute to Lion King.

Smart choreography, electrifying footwork, on-the mark lighting and costumes, and a merger of three Latin dance companies filled the stage with production number “tributes” to West Side Story, Lion King, Saturday Night Fever, Sound of Music (yes, “My Favorite Things” to a Mambo beat), Sweet Charity, Singing in the Rain (softshoe up scaled to salsa footwork and Afro-Cuban), Chicago (upping the sizzle for “All That Jazz”) and Grease [7-man cha-cha-cha footwork and macho exuberance brought a roar from the already “into it” audience).

Presented by IntoSalsa Dance Company with Cultural Explosion [and Chicago Latin Street Dance Company dancers. Bravo to IntoSalsa’s Erin Lamb and Yang Xiao for bringing Cultural Explosion to Indianapolis and reaching out to other Midwest salsa companies.

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