That Place Between Sleep & Awake: Shaping Sound at the Beacon Theater….
The scene outside the Beacon Theater on the night of June 17th was a bit of a mob-fest, long lines with people milling about in confusion and a level of excitement that was palatable. The event was for Shaping Sound’s New York City performance and the last of the company’s first national tour.
Shaping Sound is the collaborative vision of twice Emmy nominated Travis Wall, winner of the first season of So You Think You Can Dance Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, who received an honorary Emmy nomination for his work on SYTYCD and Kyle Robinson who was mentored by Mikhail Baryshnikov. The four were chronicled on the Oxygen’s television show, All The Right Moves as they combined their energies, talents and resources to create a vehicle for their joint artistic voices.
Inside the Beacon Theater the vibe was more of a rock concert than for a dance performance. The audience seemed to lack Lincoln Center’s blue-haired ladies wearing a Channel suit crowd and instead consisted of avid SYTYCD fans of all ages with more than a couple of tweens with a parent in tow. Melanie Moore and Billy Bell were there, both former SYTYCD contestants, as well a host of professional dancers from most of the dance companies in the city.
The performance was entitled That’s Where I’ll Be Waiting and inside the playbill was a bookmark sized printout that read….
“You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” J.M. Barrie
The piece in itself was interesting with the usually pluses and minuses…The sound system in the Beacon was not the best and the bass was very distorted…The work itself, which seemed to be Jamie Goodwin’s dream being enacted, was so abstract in it’s make up that I had a very hard time seeing a storyline, much less follow it…..
But was it chockfull of fantastic dancers, yes…was it visual appealing, absolutely…was it close to my expectations after having watch All The Right Moves, yes and then some…
That’s Where I’ll Be Waiting is a work that is unashamedly commercial in nature and very proud of it. The dancers all have very impressive resumes that range from dancing in top award shows such as the Oscars to touring with some of the biggest names in the recording industry. So to say these kids know their stuff is an understatement.
There was an abundance of jaw-dropping tricks, endless pirouettes and dazzling footwork with lots of screaming and shouting by the audience in appreciation. It’s visual arresting and conceptually lies somewhere between a Broadway production and Cirque du Soleil.
The music is an über-trendy techno inspired mix of artist such as Florence and the Machine, Edward Sharp and Queen. The show focuses around Jaimie Goodwin as the The Dreamer, whose dreams are invaded by the dancers.
The dancers exit and enter at random intervals, either alone, in duets or as a group. Set designers Jesus Rodriguez and Gregory Anderson created a series of curving walls that could be moved about the stage as need and allowed the dancers to lie on, crawl upon and hide behind. Seth Jackson and Nathan Scheuer stylized lighting imbued a certain ambience, though at times a tad too dark.
But the men were the stars of the show; their dancing was unbelievably larger than life. Kyle Robinson would execute turns that would seemed endless. Alexa Anderson and Joey Arrigo performed a tantalizing duet, scantily clad and bathed in sea of red light, it was sensational.
If you have never seen Teddy Forance perform live than you cannot truly grasp just how great of a dancer he truly is. Teddy has an intrinsic fluidity of movement that flows from motion into shape and back into motion with seamless lyricism. But it is more than that, when he dances it’s as if has been god-smacked to an elevated level of existence.
Travis Wall is Travis Wall for a reason. His smooth blend of technique and artistry makes his every moment on stage electric. Mr. Wall’s dancing is sheer poetry, his approach to movement flows from his heart and is enduring to the eye.
Jaimie Goodwin and Teddy Forance performed a memorable duet to a synthesized a cappella version of “I Will Always Love You” by Our Lady J. They created a moment of such tender intimacy that watching them dance seemed almost voyeuristic.
The second act opened with Into the Ether, the men; led by Travis danced to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. With frequent blackouts and bouncing lights it was one of the many highlights of the show.
Shaping Sound and their production of That’s Where I’ll Be Waiting is not a deep intellectual piece of soul searching intensity, it is what it was meant to be, a commercially viable production meant to be fascinating and entertaining. Well, the production was that and then some, for the company’s first national venture it was an outstanding success.
The full company includes Chantel Aguirre, Alexa Anderson, Joey Arigo, Channing Cooke, Teddy Forance, Jaimie Goodwin, Kayla Kalbfleisch, Nick Lazzarini, Noelle Marsch, Matthew Peacock, Kyle Robinson, Rory Freeman, Chelsea Thedinga and Travis Wall.