The girls and the gays (including Jesse Tyler Ferguson!) came out in droves last night to The Beacon Theater to see Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson’s dance company Shaping Sound do their thing. I was there…and loved every minute of it.
Disclaimer: Though I’ve seen every episode of So You Think You Can Dance — twice– I’m no dance expert. As such, please forgive my lack of sophisticated vocabulary with which to discuss Shaping Sound’s work. Last night I made no pretense of sophistication — in fact, at one point I couldn’t hold back any longer, and channeled my inner 13-year old girl by screaming “Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavis!!!” Yeah. That happened.
The show, choreographed by the four young men featured on the Oxygen reality show All the Right Moves, is ostensibly built around the J.M. Barrie quote “You know the place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.” Members of the 14-person company were given identities like “The Beloved” and “The Temptress.” The stunning Jaimie Goodwin was at the center of it all as “The Dreamer,” with “The Wayward” (the devilishly charming Lazzarini) leading her through the sometimes frightening, sometimes sexy dreamscape.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in — maybe a series of So You Think You Can Dance-like numbers choreographed to pop songs — so was a bit surprised by the presence of a longform narrative. I’m sure there was some very detailed storytelling work going on — something about “The Dreamer” losing her love and trying to find her way back to him — but at a certain point I gave up trying to follow it and just enjoyed the beautiful dancing. And what beautiful dancing it was! These magnificent performers wow’ed with their grace, athleticism, and sensuality. The group numbers were especially powerful, with a high-energy swing number in the first act a sexy highlight. I also adored a number between Wall, Forance and Goodwin at the end of the show, in which the leading lady was torn between “The Past” (Wall) and “The One” (Forance), as well as a gorgeous duet between Forance and Goodwin set to a unique version of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” sung by Our Lady J.
While there wasn’t a weak link in the company, Goodwin was the undoubtable star of the show, featured in almost every number. She was a total knockout. Personally, though, I couldn’t take my eyes off of Wall and Lazzarini — perhaps it’s because I’ve experienced their work so often on So You Think You Can Dance, but their charisma and talent is undeniable. Watching the strength of Lazzarini’s pirouette is thrilling, and Wall’s intensity is captivating. And, let’s be honest — it also doesn’t hurt that they are both gorgeous.
Overall I was very impressed with Shaping Sound’s New York City debut, and pleased that they are using their reality television exposure to bring contemporary dance to an audience (like me) that might not otherwise have an interest in experiencing it. If they come back, I’ll be there — shouting “Traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaavis!!” all the way.
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