Anna Brosnan reviews Anton and Erin at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton
It seems tough to remember the time, not so long ago, when the image of ballroom dancing was rather more dusty and old-fashioned than it is now.
Two dance stars who have been important in turning this image around, and in making dance vibrant once more, are Anton du Beke and Erin Boag - this year celebrating their 10th year of touring together.
The sparkling duo always debut their touring show in Northampton and this year was no different with the From Broadway to Hollywood tour beginning its run at the Royal & Derngate on Friday evening.
One thing the last decade has not changed is Anton and Erin's dance chemistry and bubbly, on stage charisma.
Accompanied by the London Concert Orchestra, conducted by Richard Balcombe, and by Strictly Come Dancing singer Lance Ellington, the whole evening was a brilliant celebration of music and dance.
This is not the first Anton and Erin tour I have visited, so I had the benefit of seeing how favourite elements from past shows had been refreshed and added into the mix of a new production.
The pair were also joined on stage by a group of ensemble dancers who were so skilled in their energetic routines, I felt they stole the show on more than one occasion.
I particularly enjoyed Erin's exuberant sequence, performed with two male, supporting dancers, to Nothing's Going To Keep Me Down. The speed of the routine and the difficulty of the lifts accomplished showed what a seasoned professional Erin really is.
Another highlight for me was Lance Ellington's fine vocal performance of Cry Me A River, as well as a passage of blended dance styles set to Chicago's All That Jazz.
Anton, who recently launched his first album From The Top, also delighted the audience with some vocal performances.
The tour opened to a packed crowd in Northampton and the couple were certainly not short of questions handed in by audience members during the interval. Anton and Erin both have such a natural sense of humour and their answers to some queries were enough to keep everyone roaring with laughter.
With some gorgeous costumes (how many outfit changes did Erin have?) and wonderfully choreographed dance numbers, this is a show bright enough to light up the darkest winter day.
Here's hoping there are plenty more Anton and Erin tours to come in the next decade.