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Monte Carlo replaces Lance Burton with dance crew

The Monte Carlo casino-resort has replaced longtime Las Vegas Strip headline magician Lance Burton with a hip-hop dance crew, hotel officials announced Tuesday.
Dance group Jabbawockeez arrive on the red carpet Aug. 2, 2008, at the MTV Asia Awards 2008 in Genting Highlands, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Lai Seng Sin / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Monte Carlo casino-resort has replaced longtime Las Vegas Strip headline magician Lance Burton with a hip-hop dance crew that shot to fame through a reality television competition, hotel officials announced Tuesday.

Burton ended a 14-year run at the Monte Carlo on Saturday. He and the Monte Carlo announced their split in April, less than a year after he signed a six-year contract extension.

Jabbawockeez, the first-season winner of MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew" competition, will replace Burton in October.

The group, whose name is an homage to a similarly named Lewis Carroll poem in "Through the Looking Glass," found success as a standalone act earlier this year during a run at the MGM Grand resort. The group has also made numerous other television appearances.

Terms of the deal between the dancers and Monte Carlo owner MGM Resorts International weren't immediately made public.

The show titled "Mus.i.c" (pronounced "muse I see") starts Oct. 7, with tickets on sale for shows five nights per week through December.

Hotel officials cited the Jabbawockeez' sold-out MGM Grand run in its announcement, saying the group was "back by popular demand."

"Adding them to our list of performers brings an enhanced level of excitement to the resort and will provide guests with another sensational entertainment option," Anton Nikodemus, chief operating officer of the Monte Carlo, said in a statement.

Burton, 50, has not announced his next plans beyond a vacation. He had performed at the Monte Carlo since the day it opened in 1996. Neither he, nor hotel officials, have given a specific reason for parting ways, but Burton in an April interview compared the split to a divorce for "irreconcilable differences."

"That's kind of what we have here. I think we've just grown apart, we have different philosophies, and we're going in different directions," he told The Associated Press, declining to elaborate.

Burton began performing in Las Vegas 28 years ago with an eight-week run at "Les Folies Bergere," the topless revue at the Tropicana hotel-casino that closed last year after 49 years. Burton's initial performances turned into a nine-year run at that hotel.

Before that, Burton was the youngest magician to win the Gold Award for Excellence from the International Brotherhood of Magicians, which is the world's largest organization for magicians.