A large Portland audience had help fighting off the November cold on Saturday night as the latest PSO Pops! program provided a hot blast of dance.

Flashy costumes and flashier movement filled the front portion of the wide Merrill Auditorium stage as professional dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With the Stars” arrived to headline an amazingly energetic program called “Ballroom With a Twist.”

Fans of those TV competitions know that the emphasis is on such things as style, athleticism and dazzle within popular dance forms. There was no shortage of all those factors as just about every piece earned wows from the crowd.

Anna Trebunskaya and Damien Whitewood acted as masters of ceremony for the dancing and performed a couple of featured numbers. With vocal backing from Gina Glocksen-Ruzicka (of “American Idol” fame) and Mykal Kilgore, the pair partnered with extroverted flair to the classics “I Got Rhythm” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” The Portland Symphony Orchestra behind them, with augmented percussion, provided the foundation for the duo’s intensely choreographed work.

The vocalists stepped forward for a few dramatic pop numbers, such as “Without Love,” riding atop the orchestra’s surging accompaniment. Perhaps their best moment, though, came in backing the dancers on “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” the rousing theme from the musical “Hairspray.” On this, four pairs of dancers tore up the polished floor in true, let-it-all-out Broadway style.

A male dancer named simply Legacy defied gravity on a breakdance number that was a solo highlight in a program that mostly emphasized diverse, up-tempo choreography for multiple performers.

Latin dance figured prominently in an infectious take on “Guantanamera,” while blues and boogie ingredients came to a boil on a piece that began with Kilgore invoking a “Zoot Suit Riot.” As if possessed, dancers ripped through swing dance variations to a full-tilt rumble of sound from the orchestra (at that point, perhaps more accurately called a band).

For the first half of the program, well-traveled guest conductor Bob Bernhardt led the PSO through engaging performances of familiar, folk dance-inspired works by Dvorak and Brahms before arriving at what the conductor jokingly referred to as an unknown work.

Of course, the “Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker is anything but unknown and was given a lovely performance. The bows of the string players glided gracefully across their instruments, filling the hall with Tchaikovsky’s beautiful ballet music.

Selections from “Chicago” provided a jazzy transition to the exuberant dance numbers that followed the intermission.

Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.