Los Angeles-based dance group Shaping Sound bring their fresh form to Edmonton
Shaping Sound is the brainchild of four dancers that have been likened to Cirque du Soleil with a twist of contemporary dance. The dance troupe’s creators have all danced or choreographed with such popular TV shows as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars.
Having known each other since they were young, Travis Wall, Teddy Forance, Kyle Robinson, and Nick Lazzarini decided to create something entirely new that accurately depicted where dance is headed in the 21st century.
“We kind of try to walk that line of still being artistic and free, while still having movement and storytelling and music that the normal everyday person who doesn’t know much about dance can appreciate and really connect to,” co-founder Lazzarini says.
Their second production to date, After the Curtain, has challenged the cast of 11 dancers to clearly portray a narrative that Lazzarini calls “a show within a show,” exposing the sometimes tragic world of a dancer and what can happen after the curtain drops.
While the company uses a blend of dance styles, including jazz, contemporary, aerial, and tap, the hardest work for the classically-trained performers was creating a hybrid of dance and theatre acting.
“There’s a lot of gestural work,” Lazzarini says. “As we were choreographing the show, we worked for about a week on sign language and how to incorporate speaking with your hands into the movement that we were creating because we’re telling a story. Travis says it best: ‘It’s like a silent film told through dance.’”
Shaping Sound is not only awe-inspiring contemporary dance, acrobatics, and theatre, but also a production that holds creative elements rivalling Broadway. Their outfits are made by Emmy Award-winning costume designer Marina Toybina and the music is scored by Los Angeles composer Ryan Lott and his bandmates Rafiq Bhatia and Ian Chang—a.k.a. Son Lux.
Working with Son Lux’s dream-like electronic pop in his previous choreographing work, Wall knew who he would approach to create the music of Shaping Sound’s newest production.
“It’s a really cool blend of new music and old-timey music,” Lazzarini says. “[Lott] did a beautiful job with the part of the score he wrote for the show. Half of our show is brand new tracks from him.”
The show’s artistic style follows a 1930s cabaret-feel, with all the glitz and glam one could imagine set in tumultuously juxtaposed worlds. Focusing on both onstage and offstage life, After the Curtain is the heartbroken story of a man whose love is ahead of his time.
“Being where we are in the world right now and where we’re at as a society, I think it was an important story that Travis really wanted to tell and people need to see,” Lazzarini says. “[It] really encompasses what is happening and, maybe, what should happen in the future, and how everybody should get along and love one another.”
After the Curtain challenges previously outdated notions of sexuality, as well as female and minority roles that have recently come into question in many industries. It’s something that stands as evidence to Shaping Sound’s active role as the reformers of modern dance.
Tue., Jan. 16 & 17 (7:30 pm)
Shaping Sound: After the Curtain
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium