“Shaping Sound”: Fabulous, Weightless Contortions

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Photo Credit: Shaping Sound website, http://www.shapingsoundco.com/media

Produced by Break The Floor Productions
Created and executed by the Creative Team

Colonial Theatre
Boston, MA
June 10, 2012
Touring Schedule
Shaping Sound Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Break the Floor Productions’ Shaping Sound is a slick beast.  It unfolds like a series of pop music videos, surreal not in how the company experiments with choreography but in how the dancers create a synchronized smoothness.  Set to artists like Florence and the Machine, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes, and Queen, each number is a crowd-pleasing mechanism of synthesized glamour.

Before the show on Monday night, the theater crackled with the energy of So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars fans.  I love a world where reality competition shows enrich dance theater, attracting audiences to forms and venues where they may not otherwise venture. Dance shows are titans of television and their fans are legion.  Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson, Massachusetts natives, were welcomed warmly into Boston even as it rained outside.

The show is choreographed by and stars So You Think You Can Dance alums Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, and Forance as well as Robinson, who performed a ballet piece on Dancing with the Stars this past season.

Each dancer in the show plays a character archetype. Jamie Goodwin is The Dreamer, Alexa Anderson is The Trouble, Matthew Peacock is The Drifter, Rory Freeman is The Desired, Chelsea Thedinga is The Being, Joey Arrigo is The Antagonist, Channing Cooke is The Temptress, and so on.  The characters are all straightforward and not particularly complex.

Shaping Sound’s segments have a melodramatic edge.  There appears to be less of a storyline and more of a vague connective tissue that deals with lust and love, carrying dancers from nostalgic 1940’s night-clubs to masked ballrooms.  It’s weightless, pretty, and really fun.

The show’s over-the-top flourishes are cheesy (a red, recurring rose appears when characters fall in love) but the dancers sell it. Lazzarini and Forance’s contortions are athletic and confident, easily feeding on the enthusiasm of their audience.  Every company member appears to run on unfiltered charisma.  Shaping Sound is show that looks effortless in design and fabulous in execution, a love letter rather than a cash-in to a loyal audience.

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