Shaping Sound Dance Co.

by Yumiko Sakuma

You got a killer Arabesque, brah.
Sweat, endorphins, pushing the limits of the human body, and exploring beauty in all its physical forms: ingredients often found in brothels, high schools, and dance studios. Emmy-nominated choreographer Travis Wall and his friends Teddy Forance, Nick Lazzarini, and Kyle Robinson are heavily devoted to the latter, without any serious objections to the former—art imitates life after all, and dancing is one of its riskier acts. 

For the commoner, the risks of dancing might be limited to the extreme surprise of discovering sets of muscles and maybe even pulling one or two, but for the professional devotee the stakes have always been higher. It’s been a couple of decades since underage ballerinas were last advised to be extra careful with their splits for fear of losing their virginity in an inglorious manner. And maybe virginity is no longer held in such high regard—but fame is. Fame, and the pursuit thereof, is an exhausting, dangerous monster that can rip your soul—and, in this case, your joints—apart. From torn anterior cruciate ligaments to the crippling fear of rejection, the physical and emotional risks of devoting yourself to the art of dance are always higher than your arabesque penchée.

Travis, Teddy, Nick, and Kyle are best friends and roommates who have known each other since they were kids. Now adults, and each with high-profile dance experiences under their belts, their dreams are coming to fruition with the launch of their dance company, Shaping Sound—an experience chronicled for the world to see by the Oxygen Channel on All the Right Moves. People will watch them, and people will judge them, and sure, there’ll be a lot of bromance, arguments, and silliness to witness, ’cause this is real life. But there’s also hard work, determination, bravery, innovation, and immaculate talent involved. Most importantly, there will be mind-blowing bodies making all the right moves.

Flaunt: You’ve all met success in the world of dancing already. What was the tipping point to deciding it was time to launch Shaping Sound into reality?

Travis Wall: I wanted to perform again, and work and dance with my best friends. It just felt right and the opportunity fell into our laps. Also, there isn’t a show out there like what we do. So we wanted to be the first ones to do it.

Nick Lazzarini: We had just finished up dancing and working together for the first time on Dancing with the Stars and thought ‘Why can’t we do this all the time?’ The way we worked together was easy. We had always been great individually but together we were so much better. It was the perfect time to join forces. After that everything just fell into place.

From the chance for injury to high stakes of competition, dance is a high-risk endeavor. What are some of the challenges up-and-coming dancers face as they try to make it big?

NL: I think not being prepared mentally for the hardships of dance can weigh on you if you’re not ready for it. Some kids move to L.A. or New York City and expect to dance right away. They stop taking class and focus only on working, but most people don’t know that you do your best networking in class. I know choreographers who handpick dancers right out of class for jobs. It’s important not only for your career but to keep your skill-set up to par.

Teddy Forance: Being a dancer is never going to be an easy career choice no matter who you are. It plays with your head just as much as your body, and you have to have a drive that no matter how many times you get cut, you know deep down that your moment will happen. In today’s dance world the talent is so vast and accessible that you have to be in top shape and never give up on being a student.

What draws people to dance as a spectator sport?

Kyle Robinson: Athleticism, emotion, and the element of surprise. People love to root for favorite dancers and see them succeed in competition. With dance competition, the combination of athleticism and emotional blows is compelling for viewers. Dance is such an underrated and underfunded art form, but it’s been enjoying a major resurgence thanks to TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the Stars.

TW: I think everybody wants a piece of it! Dance makes people feel good. It’s either entertaining or makes you cry because it makes you feel without using any words. Dance is a universal language. It goes along right with music. I love how addictive dance is and how popular it’s becoming. The world would be a better place if everyone would just shut up and dance!

How is dance evolving, and how will Shaping Sound affect that evolution?

TF: Dance evolves rapidly; it’s incredible. Being a part of this generation of artists is truly a blessing and honor. Shaping Sound is the only commercial dance company—not to say that we just do tricks and flashy movement but that we opened a new path for many up and coming dancers that grew up with us. We are such babies in the choreography world that time will tell what we accomplish and aspire to share.

NL: Dance is everywhere now. I see more and more opportunities for dancers in TV, film, commercially. The sky’s the limit. I think you can say the same about Shaping Sound. I want shows on Broadway, shows in Vegas, world tours…I want it all.

What excites you most about Shaping Sound right now? Any concerns at this juncture?

TW: I love this company. There is no better feeling in the world than a standing ovation at the end of one of our shows with all of my best friends’ hands in mine during bows. My only concern is how to juggle my schedule working in the industry as a choreographer and touring with my dance company. But I love what I do. And I make room for everything I love in my life.

KR: I’m most excited about our audience. Normally, the audience at a concert dance performance is mostly members of the AARP. The benefit of our company’s commercial edge is the amount of youth and families we attract to our performances. I love it when a father of a young dancer comes up to us after a performance to tell us how much he enjoyed the show. If we can get the sports-loving forty-plus men in our audience to appreciate dance, then I consider it a victory for the art form.

 

 

Photographer: Jack Waterlot for jorgeperezreps.com. Stylist: Beau Barela for opusbeauty.com. Hair: Gareth Bromell for ateliermanagement.com. Makeup: Homa Safar.

Grooming Notes: Private Blend Neroli Portofino body oil by Tom Ford. Wicked Wax by Unite Hair.