I have seen numerous BWAT shows – some with Tristan, some without – but when I heard about the new Ballroom With A Twist-Mas show starring Tristan and Chelsie Hightower coming to a venue only a couple of hours from my home, I jumped at the chance to see it. This performance was in Bel Air, Maryland at the Harford Community College APG Federal Credit Union Arena.
Ballroom With A Twist-Mas is all about the holidays and it’s a joy from start to finish. With nearly two hours of non-stop performing (with one 15 minute break), you don’t have a chance to get bored. The cast is stellar. Tristan and Chelsie engaged the audience start to finish. They performed a few dances together and a finale with the entire cast, but they were on stage a lot. They did some introductions, chatted with the audience throughout, did the signature BWAT question and answer segment, hosted a few audience members in an impromptu dance lesson on stage, and more.
Tristan came on stage at one point and said he had been asked to speak about the importance of the holidays. He talked briefly about how this year would be his first away from home, but he wasn’t complaining about the warm weather where he will be spending Christmas (Florida). He also said the cast is much like a family as he has performed with most of them over the last few years in many different places. It is obvious that Tristan has a very close connection to the show and the amazingly talented dancers who rotate in and out of the cast.
In the question and answer segment, Tristan and Chelsie were asked about whether or not they have any input into what celebrities are on DWTS (they do not). In addition to several other questions, they were asked if they prefer performing or teaching. Both stressed how much they love performing, but to nobody’s surprise, Tristan once again emphasized his love of teaching.
I love the cast, and it is a cast of top performers from American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, and, of course, now Strictly Come Dancing. These are my favorite dances from any show, any time – Kiki Nyemchek, Magda Fialek, Oksana Dmytrenko Platero, Brent Borbon, Anya Fuchs, CJ Blair, Tony Pututau, Legacy, Jon Platero, Taylor Banks, Nick Garcia, Patricia Kaniowski…an impressive cast indeed. There were loads of memorable moments and just about every dance style imaginable. It didn’t get much better than Legacy and Jon Platero singling out a lovely lady in the audience and performing for – and with – her. This was my first time to see Brent Borbon dance live, and it was a special treat. Tony and CJ are always brilliant, and I am in awe of Kiki and Magda who deliver every single time. I could go on and on about the rest of the cast – Oksana, Anya, Taylor, Nick, and Patricia – this is top quality all the way and every dance was brilliant.
Jaymz Tuaileva did a fabulous job choreographing Ballroom With A Twist-Mas.
The musicians were a nice touch and the onstage band brought a new flair to the show. The talent on that stage is unbelievable – I will never get tired of hearing Von Smith sing and this time he was paired with Vonzell Solomon. They are seriously talented and delivered magical vocals every time. Kudos also to the singers from the band who had beautiful voices and incredible presence.
The dancers are superb. The audience interaction was wonderful, and the after show meet and greet was special. It’s always nice to see Tristan, and as you would expect, he was very kind to both me and my daughter. But then Tristan is always a gentleman and gracious to everyone. If you ever get the chance to meet him, you will feel like you have known him forever.
The show has returned to Florida for the last few days of the tour (December 23-27) and this time Tristan will be dancing with Sabrina Bryan while Gleb Savchenko joins the cast with his wife, Elena Samodanova. It should be a wonderful final few days. If I had the opportunity to go again, I would to it in a heartbeat. The show is that good. Think high octane, high energy, high performance.