Gotta Dance?


Yellow waxy buildup never had a chance against the dripping, streaking sensuality of the dancers who torch the tiles of “Burn the Floor.”

Or is it all a linoleum litmus test?

Doesn’t matter; when you’re hot, you’re hot — and the dancers who sizzle smoke from mopping the floor with their Fahrenheit 500 don’t so much answer “So You Think You Can Dance” as affirm it in veleta-vision.

Gotta dance?

Da, responds Sasha Farber, Soviet Jewish-born participant in “Burn the Floor,” stepping to the Academy of Music stage for performances from Nov. 12 to Nov. 14.

Actually, his response is more of an “ay, mate”; the Soviet émigré from just outside Chernobyl has been living in Australia since he was a youngster.

On stage he goes nuclear, a smashed atom of aplomb and agility that steams sexuality — scenes of a marriage of mambo and Melbourne-burn that belie his mainly Sydney upbringing.

Where did he learn the ABCs of dance? More like the aleph, bet.

“I started showing my stuff at my Bar Mitzvah,” he recalls with a smile in his voice of that twist of providence as he stepped away from Torah for a tangle with the tango 14 years ago.

Burn the bimah? “Of course!” he exclaims in that clipped Aussie accent.

Yeshiva ‘Bucher’

It’s been a singe since, says the “Burn the Floor” star, all part of the line dance that led him from shul to stage, both important elements in his awesome Aussie education, involving “going to a private yeshiva in Sydney and then on to Moriah College,” a prominent Modern Orthodox model of success in Queens Park, New South Wales.

“My parents wanted to make sure I learned about my heritage, and I want the same things for my children,” says the dancer deeply steeped in the rites and rituals of Judaism.

A star of Sydney’s version of TV’s “Dancing With the Stars” and a member of the company that presented the endgame sensation of closing ceremonies at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Farber goes far back in figuring out his fancy-footwork derivation.

“My genes,” he says, “are very Russian. There, in Russia, you dance all the time — at school, at home. You dance.”

But as for “DWTS” rather than DNA? “It’s a mixture of both, Australian and Ru3ssian,” he avers of his stage steps.

Is there something in the water, possibly a chemical reaction — nothing to do with Chernobyl — that inspires so many erstwhile Russian Jews to jive on stage? (“DWTS”-American style has been a revolving door of Russians dancers, it seems.)

“Yes,” he muses, “maybe there is something in the water.”

Got a match? The “Burn the Floor” star has been called incomparable. Farber may be a merengue mercenary, but is he hip to the hora?

He laughs. “No, actually, I’m not good at the hora.”

Bunny-hop, take a hike. “Burn the Floor” multiplies in stages, with tours now worldwide. The show has taken Farber far from home — from Sydney quays to the keys of Broadway.

“A dream come true,” he says of the “amazing” time he had playing there, which elicited applause for the amazing grace he exhibited on stage.

It was a teaching moment for the time he would like to return to Broadway. For now, Farber offers a lesson or two himself with the black box being his blackboard: He is scheduled to instruct in Philadelphia, offering a master class during his stay here.

Dancing in the streets? No, he says with a laugh of how he’ll step into his Philly whirlwind of a weekend.

He thinks again. “Well, maybe after a couple of drinks.”



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