Wall woos Cincinnati


Anisa Khatana

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. An “After the Curtain” program partially eclipses the view from the loge section of Procter & Gamble Hall. Wall and his cast raked in a nearly full house in Cincinnati, even offering a VIP experience that could be purchased in addition to tickets for the show.

There is, quite obviously, no way to physically travel to the height of the Roaring Twenties while simultaneously experiencing what has been called the best of contemporary dance today.

Artistically, dancer and choreographer Travis Wall and his company are working to fulfill this fantasy and more.

Wall’s inimitable company, Shaping Sound, brought its latest piece, a show entitled “After the Curtain,” to Cincinnati on Fri., Nov. 3. The show’s cast of 11 graced the stage of the Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall.

The two-time Emmy-winner, highly renowned for his work on competition TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” (“SYTYCD”), founded the company in 2012 with dancers Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and Kyle Robinson.

Wall currently serves as the company’s artistic director. He and Lazzarini are both members of the cast that traveled to Cincinnati.

Joining the duo were the critically acclaimed Chantel Aguirre, Barton Cowperthwaite, “SYTYCD Australia” winner Michael Dameski, Mia Dilena, Jay Jay Dixonbey, Rory Freeman, Kate Harpootlian, Michael Keefe, and Lindsay Leuschner.

“It was so interesting to see professional dancing. Travis Wall is an incredible choreographer and dancer,” said attendee Riley Lauterbur, 10.

Shaping Sound’s style, while portrayed by ostensibly contemporary dancers, is best described as a fusion of dance styles that incorporates a variety of music. This particular show is set to music by Ryan Lott of musical group Son Lux.

“Music is such an important part of all our repertory. As a company, we like to think of ourselves as visual musicians, which is how the name ‘Shaping Sound’ came about. We shape the sound we hear.

“When we are creating, we can actually see the music while we are dancing,” Wall told Dance Informa Magazine in an interview.

According to Shaping Sound’s website, “After the Curtain” tells the story of “a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love.”

The show’s starring character, Vincent Allen Whitlowe (played by Wall), was a playwright with close connections to the members of his performing company. The struggles of the show’s close-knit web of characters provoked dark, explosive, intensely emotional choreography.

The company also made use of dynamic set pieces including a mesh screen, handheld lights, a desk and mirror on wheels, a rolling chaise lounge, and a few bare-bones rolling staircases and platforms.

“[The show was] very eye-opening because the story it told was easy to understand and relatable. As a dancer, I could appreciate its difficulty. It was a very fun experience,” Lauterbur said.

Browse future tour dates on Shaping Sound’s website.