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Shaping Sound Dance Company

By Victoria Looseleaf

El Portal Theater

North Hollywood, CA

May 19, 2013

 

Never has the ‘C’ word—commercial—looked so great on the concert stage. That was the case when the 14 dancers of Shaping Sound, a new troupe founded and choreographed by Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and Kyle Robinson, kicked off its 13-city, 14-dancer tour (landing in New York on June 17), spiking the sizzle-meter to scorching.  

 

If these names sound familiar, it’s because Wall is a two-time Emmy nominee for his So You Think You Can Dance choreography, Lazzarini was that show’s Season One winner, Forance had a hand (and foot) in that show, as well as in Dancing With the Stars, and Robinson freelanced with contemporary troupes, including the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. As for the others, there was enough performance cred to fill a four-gigabyte hard drive.

 

The show, “That’s Where I’ll Be Waiting,” is divided into two acts. Basically a reverie, it was populated with characters such as The Dreamer (a divine Jaimie Goodwin), The Wayward (a pumped-up-on-pirouettes Lazzarini), The One (Forance never met a lift he couldn’t handle) and The Past (Wall, who should be renamed The Future, for his authentic drama-driven work that seems sprinkled with vision).    

 

Shaping Sound, photo by Charley Gallay
Teddy Forance and Jaimie Goodwin in "That's Where I'll Be Waiting"
Photo by Charley Gallay, Courtesy Shaping Sound

 

The full company shredded the stage with unison moves that blended hip-hop, jazz, ballet, and full-tilt charisma, before Goodwin awoke in bed under some flowy fabric in a scene that was too, well, New Agey. But she then danced a sultry duet with Lazzarini, after which several cast members billowed the satin from underneath (reminiscent of the Nutcracker’s Mother Ginger, whose skirt houses a gaggle of kids). Forance presented Goodwin with a rose, and as more men tried wooing her, she could have been Princess Aurora, dancing the Rose Adagio from The Sleeping Beauty, albeit a 21st-century royal.

 

The fantasy continued, with forays to a flapper-type nightclub, where the girls sported garters and cigarette holders, the men hats and skinny ties. This was jazz-hot for real, with nods to Fosse and Fitzgerald (F.Scott). Props included a rolling, honky tonk piano and the inevitable cabaret chairs, with the seven girls oozing sex and giving new life to that cane-backed prop. Although the stage was too small for this high-octane show, the dancers, including Chantel Aguirre (The Beloved), Channing Cooke (sultry in sequins as The Temptress) and Rory Freeman (The Desired), performed full out without fear of colliding into one another.

 

Indeed, ‘fierce’ was the operative word of the evening, along with ‘volcanic’ and ‘eclectic.’ Where else could one find neo-Charlestons danced to Nina Simone (the music was a madcap pastiche that even included Arvo Pärt’s haunting “Spiegel im Spiegel”), and a post-Baroque ball where girls looked as if they were both half Black/half White Swans.

 

The costumes by Oxyjen, a style-conscious new dancewear company, were bold and sensual; Jesus Rodriguez and Gregory Anderson’s set—mostly movable panels and cubes—proved effective, and Seth Jackson and Nathan Scheuer’s lighting provided rich ambience. Smart, sassy, and super cool, if this is commercial dance, we want more, please!

 

Pictured at top: Shaping Sound Dance Company in "That's Where I'll Be Waiting."
Photo by Charley Gallay, Courtesy Shaping Sound