Dance King Jason Gilkison Makes His Move 

Out Aussie ballroom champ Jason Gilkison looks to give Dancing With the Stars a run for its money on the new Superstars of Dance.

BY Greg Archer

January 14 2009 1:00 AM ET

Well, you must also have fun on So You Think You Can
Dance,
both the American and Australian versions.
Yes. I am not a big fan of Dancing With the
Stars.
I mean, I have friends on it, but I like what
So You Think You Can Dance stands for, which is
taking young dancers and giving them an incredible
apprenticeship, and seeing what they can get out of it
in the end. I wanted to be part of the Australian show
in the beginning, and it was the first of its kind in
Australia and I was on the judging panel.

You’re forte is ballroom. What about men and men
doing ballroom dance? Ever thought of choreographing
something like that?
Definitely. In [the stage show] Burn the
Floor
we experiment with men and men, and women
and women. In the Gay Games they have ballroom dancing
sections, so I have worked with couples before. But in the
ballroom dance competition world, they do it very
cliché style -- somebody takes the male role, the
female role. When we choreograph two guys together in
something like Burn the Floor, we take on the
qualities of the guy actually doing it, how they would
actually react to another man if they were in the
scenario we are presenting -- a bar, etc. It’s
an interesting thing to explore.

Speaking of Burn the Floor, it’s this big
ballroom dance hit; a huge international stage sensation
that you helped launch. It’s been going
strong for nearly 10 years. What were your
thoughts when it really took off?
Ballroom dancing didn’t have a lot of
street cred when this whole thing started, and we
wanted to pave the way and take it to a theatrical form.
And then, all of a sudden, the whole TV dancing thing
happened. Suddenly, people came pouring back into the
dance hall and knew what ballroom dancing was.

So what’s different about Burn the Floor
now, which you’ve said you’d love to be a
big Broadway production someday?
Three years ago we started from scratch again.
We wanted to take ballroom dancing back to the organic
form so that people could see and understand the
essence of the dances that they are so used to seeing, done
in competition form, and how they were meant to be
performed. We recreated those old dance halls, but
with today’s energy and today’s technique. The
dancers were more comfortable. They’re
“reacting” off each other -- we have 20
performers onstage: two percussionists, two vocalists, and
eight couples.

How has dance transformed you? Dance has been everything for me. Everything in
my whole life can fall apart, but dance, it’s
the one thing that has never left me. It’s always
surrounded me my whole life. I see things all the time and
I'm influenced. I watch West Side Story at
least once a week.

Really? Do you find something new every time you
see it?
I do. To me, that is groundbreaking the way I
want Burn the Floor to be groundbreaking. It
probably has a long way to go to hold a candle to
West Side Story, but that is what I aspire to. I
constantly find that I have to see stuff. I put myself
in the way of seeing as much live performance as I
can. That inspires me.

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