Dance News

To quote my grandma: Goodness gracious, the members of Shaping Sound are busy busy bees! It feels like we just saw the company give an amazing performance in NYC as part of a super-intense tour—and now it's about to begin yet another tour cycle.

Shaping Sound's (from left) Teddy Forance, Kyle Robinson, Nick Lazzarini and Travis Wall (photo by Joe Toreno for Dance Spirit)

What can we expect from this latest round of Shaping Sound? Well, as co-founder Travis Wall told us a few weeks back, the production will have "the same outline as our first...but it will be an overall cleaner and better show," with two new numbers and a lot of small-but-important improvements. Obviously, TWall will be performing, as will fellow co-founders Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson. A lot of our other favorite SS dancers are also back, including Jaimie Goodwin, Chantel Aguirre, Chelsea Thedinga and Channing Cooke. And there are some exciting new additions to the company, too—notably "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 10 champ Amy Yakima (YAY!).

Um, how stunning does Jaimie Goodwin look in the company's latest campaign image? (via shapingsoundco.com)

The tour will hit 20 cities across the U.S. between October 11 and February 15. Is your city one of them? Click here to find out—then take a look at the high-drama preview video:

Dance News

"The swaggiest thing I have is like, kick-ball-change. It's a really good kick-ball-change." —Nick Lazzarini, Voice of Reason, "All the Right Moves"

Last night's episode of "All the Right Moves" was mostly hilarious (Nick compares riding a bike with "Toddlers & Tiaras") with a tiny touch of boy drama (don't kiss your best friend's girl, people) and, naturally, an explosive blow from Taja, who threatened to leave the company. There wasn't enough dancing for my liking, but there was still plenty of action, so let's talk about that, OK?

The 10 Lessons We Learned From “All the Right Moves” Episode 3:

1. The backpacks on this show continue to be amazing. I realize that during the first scene I was supposed to be focused on the blowout between Travis and Taja and the whole "this needs to squash" drama. But really, all I could think was that last week, Travis rocked a black sequined backpack (which appeared again this week before he did his solo), and this week Taja made her exit wearing a yellow fur backpack thing. I would like to pitch a spin-off to Oxygen called "Backpack Shopping with Shaping Sound." I will gladly let Travis and Taja hook me up.

Oh yeah, and Taja quits the company. She says her work ethic is "misunderstood," and this makes Travis sad because he feels like he and Taja have such a long-standing relationship and she would never do this to him. Luckily the other female dancers in the company are pretty much awesome, so I think everyone will be OK.

2. At some point, you have to make a decision: Are we best friends or are we professionals? Obviously leading a company of your peers is going to be challenging, and this came to a head in last night's episode with the Taja/Travis stuff. I think Travis could have come down on Taja a bit harder, honestly, which I know is tough. But by saying, "Enough is enough, shape up or you're out," he would have maintained the upper hand instead of letting her be the one to leave.

Travis made a great point later when he was talking with Jaimie, and it's a point I wish he had made directly to Taja: "You would have never done that with Brian Friedman. You would have never done that on 'X Factor.' " It's so true. Look, I like Taja, I really do, and I get where she's coming from sometimes. But she does act differently around Travis than she does around Nicole Scherzinger, I'm sure, and that's not fair.

Also, Taja's hair bouf gets bigger every week.

3. Jaimie and I have the same bunny onesie. I got it for Christmas. It's really snuggly and wonderful. It's no sequined backpack, but it's still pretty cool.

4. Travis doesn't want to be a dancer. "It may be hard for people to believe, but I don't like dancing as much as I like choreographing," he said last night. I like that he's evolved, and that he's done it consciously and at his own will. It wasn't like he stopped growing as a dancer or got injured or dried up. Travis was always a really good performer. But he realized it wasn't what he wanted to do, and so he took action to transition into choreography, and ultimately he wants to be a director. I give him a lot of credit there.

"My life as a dancer, to me, means nothing," Travis said. It's kind of a bummer because he's really talented and he can do something like 4,200 pirouettes, but hey, if he's not digging all that spinning, why do it? Power to you, Trav, for doing what you want and not just doing what you're already good at.

5. Kyle and Noelle together should be illegal. It's just too much good-looking-ness happening.

6. Chantel Aguirre is my favorite female dancer right now. She doesn't even have to dance. I just think she's so stunning.

7. The whole "Teddy kissed Kyle's girlfriend" thing from the episode previews was just slightly blown out of proportion, don't you think? First of all, it didn't really seem clear to me that Noelle and Kyle were actually dating. Were they? Did I miss that? I don't know. So yeah it's a bit shady that Teddy and Noelle kissed (where were the Oxygen camera crews for that one?), and Teddy says it was all "intense," but the bro code didn't seem quite as broken as the previews indicated.

What have we learned from all this, dancers? Don't drink tequila. It's evil and it ruins lives and friendships.

Also, in the "morning after everyone got drunk and kissed the wrong people" scene, Teddy's Gatorade matches his bright-green shirt. I realize this has little relevancy, but it's something I noticed and appreciated.

8. Nick taking hip hop is the best ever. He walks into Bryan Tanaka's class with a sideways hat and a greeting of "What up, gangsters?" Nick claims he's terrible at hip hop. "I'm stressed out about this!" he exclaims. He says he doesn't like doing hip hop because he's not good at it. I get that—but I thought he looked pretty good! Granted, he was dancing next to Teddy, who crushed the choreography effortlessly, but Nick held his own. Still, Nick doesn't want Shaping Sound to do hip hop in its show, and then he drops a "You go, Glen Coco." Just...yes. Yes, Nick.

Then, Nick and Travis have a heart-to-heart back at the house, which is great. Nick recounts his day of hip hopping, dropping great lines like "Not to mention, Teddy was like DJ Swagaroo." He tells Travis that when he's not good at something, it stresses him out. And that brings us to knee pads...

9. Travis teaches Nick how to ride a bike, but it's about so much more than that. This was, hands down, the most excellent part of the episode. To summarize: Nick agrees to learn to ride a bike (which he refers to as "a machine") if, in turn, Travis will overcome his fear of performing a solo. Travis is practically giddy about getting Nick into knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet and it's so ridiculous to watch.

Nick in a helmet is cute enough, but Travis wanting to teach him to help him "overcome his control issues" is even more precious. Then Nick slams his head into the ground to make sure his helmet works. Now, we all realize this scene wasn't just about learning to ride a bike, right? There's deeper contextual meaning here as Nick "takes one for the team, bites the bullet and tries not to break his face" on the bike. This was about Nick pedaling around ("pushing like a mom from 'Toddlers & Tiaras' ") and overcoming his own fears so Travis could take that energy onstage with him to perform a solo. That's friendship, man. Bromance—brodance—at its best.

10. Kyle is angry. Luckily, anger looks good on him. Everything looks good on him. Teddy confesses that he and Noelle kissed, and Kyle seems a little "kicked while I'm down." He tells Teddy he's "been lost the past couple weeks" and ultimately snaps that he's "over L.A. and over Shaping Sound." But considering he's in the previews for next week's episode, I don't think he's going too far. And I predict he forgives Teddy, because they are besties.

Next week: tWitch is back! Plus, the boys plan to go to NUVO to perform a Shaping Sound piece, but then everyone bails and it is scandalous. 

Until then, tell us what you thought of this week's episode!

Dance News

Dance Spirit's May/June 2014 issue. Shot by Joe Toreno.

The day I found out Jeremy Hudson and Mark Kanemura were dating, I sprinted across the office and practically shouted to the rest of the Dance Spirit staff, "We have to put them on the cover!" You know Mark from Season 4 of "So You Think You Can Dance," and from his work on Season 10. (The couch piece he did for Jenna Johnson was my favorite of the entire season.) You know Jeremy from...well, everyone knows Jeremy. Commercial dance insiders regularly refer to him as "the most-booked dancer in L.A.," and during our cover shoot last September, Jeremy confessed to me that he hasn't had to audition for a job in years—people just hire him.

Jeremy and Mark have each found incredible successes in their dance careers so far, but put them on a stage together and they light it up. Case in point: just about every Lady Gaga video or tour you've ever seen. (And take a look at this album of outtakes from their shoot. There wasn't a less-than-perfect picture in the entire bunch!)

It's such an honor having these two oh-so-in-love superstars on the cover of our May/June issue. We're in love with their love story. Click here to read it, and enjoy this video from their photo shoot with photographer Joe Toreno in Hollywood.

Of course, Mark and Jeremy aren't the only crazy-hot pair making their mark on the Hollywood dance scene. Dancing power duos are all the rage right now. Once you're done reading about Mark and Jeremy's journey to coupledom, enjoy the sweet stories of Jaimie Goodwin and Bryan Tanaka, Chantel Aguirre and Michael Keefe, Keone and Mari Madrid, Randi Kemper and Hefa Tuita and, of course, our September 2012 cover stars (and newlyweds!), Stephen "tWitch" Boss and Allison Holker.

Prepare to be awwwww-ed by all of it. We certainly were.

(L to R) Shaping Sound's Teddy Forance, Kyle Robinson, Nick Lazzarini and Travis Wall, photographed for "Dance Spirit" by Joe Toreno

Last night, the DS staff got all gussied up and headed to the Beacon Theater for Shaping Sound's That's Where I'll Be Waiting. So did pretty much everyone else in NYC.

No, but really: The crowd at this show, which was the last stop on the company's month-long tour, was incredible. Along with mainstream dance fans like Jesse Tyler Ferguson (a.k.a. the best "So You Think You Can Dance" judge of all time), there were a host of familiar dancers and choreographers milling through the lobby of the Beacon. Joey Dowling! Kenny Wormald! Dana Wilson! Ida Saki! Catherine Hurlin! It was like a reunion for all the dance world's cool kids.

Not that that's surprising. The members of Shaping Sound are some of the most exciting people on the commercial scene, after all—and definitely not less famous since their turn on the reality show "All the Right Moves." Almost every Shaping Sound dancer is a dance celebrity, and the people most prominently featured in That's Where I'll Be WaitingTravis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson, who also created and choreographed the show—have become legit stars. More celebrities onstage = more celebrities in the audience (and also = more opportunities for us lesser non-celebrities to totally freak out because Jesse Tyler Ferguson is sitting one seat away from us, eee!).

The Shaping Sound foursome were smart about how they presented their well-known team, too. That's Where I'll Be Waiting gives each dancer a specific character—i.e., "The Trouble" (Alexa Anderson), "The Temptress" (Channing Cooke), etc—and at least a few moments in the spotlight. While the piece is threaded through with a love-triangle dream-story involving Travis, Teddy and Jaimie Goodwin, it's really driven by all the strong personalities onstage—personalities the audience already knows and loves.

Does that always work? Well, not quite. (Frankly, I'm still not sure why Chelsea Thedinga is "The Being.") Could I watch Nick, a.k.a. "The Wayward," do his flamboyantly fabulous David-Bowie-in-Labyrinth-meets-Herr-Drosselmeyer act (which is really just Nick being Nick) in his leather cape-vest alllll night? Oh, totally. And so could the rest of that star-studded crowd, which went standing-o bonkers for the entire cast at the curtain call. Congrats, guys!

Dance News

I don't like magic.

Card tricks confuse me and I don't like it when I can't figure things out.

And yet, I loved the most recent Macy's Stars of Dance performance on "Dancing with the Stars," which was filled with visual trickery and was, well, magical.

My first thought during this performance was, "I want a checkered outfit." My second thought: "OMG WHAT ARE THEY DOING???"

The routine, choreographed by RJ Durell and Nick Florez, featured a few of my favorite dancers, including Jaimie Goodwin (she tends to steal that spotlight time and time again with her picture-perfect side tilt extension, doesn't she?), Taja Riley and Will Wingfield. But more importantly, it just blew my mind.

This piece wasn't about amazing technique or fancy choreography—it was all in the special effects.

Check it out and help me figure it out! I'm thinking some of it was pre-taped and then it's being played backward. Criss Angel, a little help, here?

I expected the borderline-inappropriate jokes. I expected the appearance by Ted (sighhhhh). I even kind of expected the tribute to boobs on film.

But what I didn't expect from Seth MacFarlane's turn as host of the Academy Awards was a whole bunch of dance numbers. Dance! And here I was thinking the Busby Berkeley-style opening to "Family Guy" was a joke! Who knew that Mr. MacFarlane, the modern master of the fart joke, was a legitimate song-and-dance man?

Anyway, I think I'm not alone in feeling that the dancing elevated what could otherwise have been a very "meh" Oscars show. Let's run down all of the fun dance-y numbers, shall we?

We got off to a strange but, let's be honest, hilarious start with the boobs song. I know, it's terrible and tasteless and everything everyone hates about Seth MacFarlane, but c'mon. It was funny, and not less so thanks to the troupe of tux-clad backup dancers.

Next up, my personal favorite: Charlize Theron (who studied at NYC's Joffrey Ballet School!) and Channing Tatum channeling Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire in an elegant foxtrot that was even better for being totally unexpected.

Then we were treated to a cute little softshoe by Daniel Radcliffe and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Harry Potter's dance skills could use a little polishing, but points for effort—and Gordon-Levitt looked pretty darn legit. (Remember that time he redid the entire "Make 'Em Laugh" number from Singin' in the Rain on "Saturday Night Live"? I'm striking out in my search for video of the performance, but trust me: It was amazing.)

And then there was that big ol' reworking of "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast. It wasn't the biggest hit of the night, but I'm never really going to knock any production of a classic Disney song. Plus it featured some of DS's fave dancers, including Alex Wong, Spencer Liff, Cody Green and Jaimie Goodwin.

(I can't find any good video of this number, so you'll have to settle for a screenshot from the original instead. Just pretend Lumière is Seth MacFarlane. Not such a stretch, actually.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least: Catherine Zeta-Jones and a Fosse chorus in "All That Jazz" from Chicago. Girl's still got it! And it was another chance for our dancer friends to show off a little, too.

My only regret is that Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence didn't get to re-enact their so-bad-it's-awesome dance from Silver Linings Playbook. But I guess the two of them had other things on their minds, what with being nominated for Academy Awards and everything.

(Side note: Jennifer Lawrence. You are amazing. You basically fell on your face last night and it only made everyone, myself included, love you more. I feel like you and Emma Stone and maybe Sandra Bullock should hang out and be awesome and funny and super-stylish together.)

Dance News

Remember "All the Right Moves?" And remember during those last few, tension-filled episodes, when Shaping Sound co-founder and resident fedora-wearer Teddy Forance was repeatedly missing in action?

Teddy was busy—and today we finally get to find out exactly what the contemporary choreographer (and awesome freestyler) was up to.

It does not involve kissing Noelle or any of his other friends' girlfriends.

Ohhh, burn! Sorry, Ted. We love you.

And we love your new project!

It was clear during the eight episodes of "ATRM" that Teddy was always wanting to do more. He was committed to Shaping Sound and the company's work, but Teddy seemed to have this constant desire to add more choreography, more classes, more inspiration to his growing plate of extracurriculars.

So Teddy and his friend, producer/composer Jon Arpino, joined forces and created Movement One.

Movement One is a documentary following Teddy and Jon's quest to create a 30-minute performance (set to an original score) using 20 dancers—in just eight days. The task was ambitious and the camera crews were there for every gorgeously-executed step along the way. You get to see every rehearsal, every brainstorming session, interviews with the dancers and, of course, the final show.

But—no surprise here—not everything goes oh-so-smoothly in those eight days. One of the show's stars (spoiler: Teddy) has to bow out of the performance with little time to spare. Can the guys find a replacement? Will Teddy be OK? Does anyone wear a tank top?

Oh, and did we mention the superstar lineup Teddy gathered for Movement One? Name your favorite "So You Think You Can Dance" alums and you'll find them in the cast. tWitch! Allison Holker! Jaimie Goodwin! Kathryn McCormick! (So basically all of Dance Spirit's 2012 cover stars, plus a few other OMG-so-good dancers including Michael Keefe, Jason Parsons and Ben Susak.)

The documentary is an hour long and, lucky you, you can watch it today for free!

Check out the trailer here, and then "Like" Movement One on Facebook, where all the details are being leaked throughout the day. Enjoy!

Dance News

"You look so pretty tonight. Did you get that in jail?" —Nick Lazzarini, Voice of Reason, "All the Right Moves"

Last week on "All the Right Moves," Shaping Sound had a successful premiere show at the Saban Theater. There was a standing ovation and an after party with booze and, thankfully, no inappropriate kissing. Success! (Although Alana, Robert Ulrich's assistant is there, and from the first .2 seconds of her interaction with Kyle, it seems like something's gonna happen there, am I right? Am I also right that she looks strikingly like Noelle? You have a type, Kyle. Sorry that I'm blonde. Dang it.)

And now, it's time to wrap up the season, but not before Travis books roughly 1,200 jobs and everyone's dreams come true. Here's what we learned in the process...

1. Hey, it's Gil! Gil, the owner/director of JUMP and NUVO, is famous now. "He's the Daddy Warbucks of the dance community," Nick says. Gil was at the Shaping Sound show, and he adored it and hey look it's Ray Leeper, too! This may not seem like a big deal right now, but trust me...it will become a very big deal. For the guys, at least. Not so much for the rest of us.

2. Injuries are the worst. The absolute worst. Especially when you are a dancer and your body is your instrument. But Jaimie Goodwin, lovely lovely lovely Jaimie Goodwin, handled her knee injury with so much poise, composure and maturity. It must be impossibly difficult watching your best friends form a company and gain so much exposure while you're sidelined. But guess what? She's baaaaack! "I can't keep away from this," Jaimie says. "I have to be in it." And Travis is ready to take her back. Yaysies! "You're the best friend I've ever had," Jaimie tells Travis and what is happening to me right now? Am I tearing up? No, I was chopping onions while watching the show, I swear.

Then, when Shaping Sound books "Dancing with the Stars" and Travis tells Jaimie—on her birthday!—that she's going to be the star of the piece, I was all "awwwwww" because what else is there to say?

Oh, and the "DWTS" piece? Loved it. I really did.

3. Teddy is always missing. It's the day after the show and the rest of the crew is chilling on the couch at The Manor, while Teddy is out hustling and running his "Misery Loves Company" rehearsal. The boys worry he's going to get hurt or he's going to burn out or something and I'm totally concerned, too—wait! Hold up!

Allison Holker.

Now I'm distracted because I love her so much. Plus, I'm sure Teddy will be fine. And while the concerns the other dudes have are valid, I admire Teddy. I like that he's ready to jump into another project, and I get it. Life's more fun on the go, right? Way to keep it exciting, Ted. Just, um, try to be on time for stuff. Your crew hates it when you're late. Also, Allison Holker. Girl can do no wrong.

4. Kyle is good at a lot of things, like being hot. He is not, however, good at hiding his emotions. It's clear from the start of the "Misery" rehearsals that Kyle's not fully invested. Unsurprisingly, after they run the routine, Kyle tells Teddy he's "exhausted." He's not up for it. "I've been giving so much of myself and my time to my friends' projects," he tells Teddy. Naturally Teddy is bummed, but Kyle is being smart. It's time for him to further his own career, which is essentially what all the other guys are doing now anyway. I applaud Kyle for going right to Teddy and talking it out with him rather than just idling and sucking it up and not doing what's right for his own professional career. Also, not being in "Misery Loves Company" will free up Kyle so he can spend time helping me plan our wedding.

5. Write this one down: Having a mentor is so important. Travis has found someone who has successfully pursued the exact career he wants for himself. Adam Shankman is a dancer turned choreographer turned director turned producer. Travis is so smart for solidifying a strong relationship with Mr. I Wear Vests And Many Layers All The Time And Everything On "So You Think You Can Dance" Makes Me Cry Shankman.

Travis tells Adam Shankman he wants to branch out into a solo career, and Adam is happy to offer advice, which is "talk to the guys ASAP." This scene was great. Good working relationships are so so so important in this business! "You have to make your own opportunities to get paychecks," Travis says later, when he's talking to the guys about his offer to choreograph a video for Ingrid Michaelson (who, BTW, is one of my favorite singers, in line right after Celine Dion). Travis, you are inching closer to becoming the new Voice of Reason on this show. As long as you don't eat any more bananas, you're a shoe-in. Give me your sequined backpack and we'll call it a deal.

6. The guys are great together—but is it possible that they really flourish and prosper best on their own? In this episode, after weeks of trying to get Shaping Sound off the ground (I rhymed! See what I did there?), suddenly the focus isn't on the company. Travis is booking individual projects left and right, including a video for Ingrid Michaelson and getting the company on "Dancing with the Stars." Teddy is busy with "Misery Loves Company" and Nick is off auditioning to be a host for the web series "DanceOn." "People have been wondering where I've been for the past, oh, 80 years," Nick tells us. Meanwhile, Kyle is just trying to figure out his purpose in life.

Instead of planning his dream proposal (to me), Kyle decides to have a talk with his boy Teddy, who invited him to L.A. to be a part of this company and Kyle thought that meant being co-director but TWIST, he's just another member of the company. Let's listen in on their conversation, shall we?

"You hooked up with Noelle...and I didn't even know what to make of that," Kyle tells Teddy. "My friend, who asked me out here to be part of this process, is now kissing the girl that I was seeing..." Your response, Teddy? "When you put it like that...that's terrible, actually." Later, Kyle goes on a date with Alana (called it!) and quips, "I will not be introducing her to Teddy anytime soon." Ohhhh, burn!

7. Travis gets it. Watching him run rehearsal for the Ingrid submission is really cool. I love getting into his head a bit. He says he wants to direct and eventually produce, and that seems like an absolutely attainable goal for him. Beyond choreography, he understands costumes, camera angles and what will and will not look good to an audience. His submission for the video was impressive (I mean, duh, it starred Kyle and Jaimie, and my fave girl Chantel Aguirre was in it, too) and Jaimie's knee held up just fine. Hooray!

Then, as if he's not busy enough, in this episode we also see Travis get his offer to choreograph the Off-Broadway show Bare. (He's living in NYC and working on the show now, kids—stalk accordingly.)

P.S. Kyle you're a dashing groom. Just saying. My old, new, borrowed and blue are ready to go. xoxo.

8. If you lie, you will get caught. "Did we invite Taja today? Or was she too busy getting pulled over by the cops again?" Nick asks after the group teaches a class at Crunch Gym. Scandal! Taja didn't really get pulled over that time she said she did. Jaimie confesses that the whole thing was a little lie, according to Taja's big sis, Deja. Evidently Taja didn't want to perform in the Madonna submission video, and she wanted to have a day to herself, so she lied. Big time. Yikes. "No bueno. She's out," Nick says. Travis says he no longer trusts Taja, and as much as I've always liked her, I've gotta say I'm with the guys on this one. If you are a liar, people will find out.

9. You've heard this before: It's not what you know, it's who you know. And it this case, man does it pay to know (and impress) Gil Stroming. He's going to produce the Shaping Sound live tour! "This is something bigger than a few guys just getting together and dancing," Gil tells the boys. And Nick says, "You hate everything...except Frank Sinatra." Funny jabs aside, Gil is their biggest fan and he's ready to prove it by sending the Shaping Sound crew out on a 2-year national (and maybe international) tour. NBD.

Hey Gil, I would like a mini pony and a home in Turks & Caicos and also a sequined backpack. Let's discuss. Preferably at a rooftop party. We can unveil the mini pony there. BYOBackpack.

10. There's always a "but": "It's everything I've ever wanted, but..." All of Travis' dreams are coming true—at once. "I don't know what to do," he says to Nick during an adorably honest heart-to-heart by some hotel elevators. He's worried about disappointing people and he's worried about hurting himself. He wants to do it all, and everyone wants everything from him. Everyone wants a piece of Travis Wall! It's an awesomely difficult situation to be in. Enjoy it, Trav! No more bananas.

Remember, kids, say it often and with meaning—and sometimes sarcastically if needed: "I cherish our friendship!"

So that's it: Season 1 of "All the Right Moves" is a wrap. Thoughts? What'd you love? What'd you hate? Which performance was your favorite? Sound off and let's chat.

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