BWW Interviews: Kyle Robinson of SHAPING SOUND Talks Heading Back on Tour With a Brand New Cast
Acclaimed Dance Company Shaping Sound has become a household name among dance professionals since its first national tour back in 2013. Under the artistic director of Emmy Award winner Travis Wall, alongside founders and choreographers Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, and Kyle Robinson, the group has come a long way since its beginnings on Oxygen's "All The Right Moves" in 2012. Following a successful tour this past winter, the group is back on the road with a reincarnation of their hit shoW. Robinson, who toured with "West Side Story" before joining the company, spoke to us about bringing in a new cast for the production and gearing up to perform a truly spectacular masterpiece.
BroadwayWorld: How did Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and you go about choreographing the show?
Robinson: "It all started with us just sitting in our garage, like any good American startup. We mostly decided on the set list first. We decided what songs we wanted to use and then, similar to creating a mixtape, we decided on the progression that the songs should be and weaved a story line together based around our principal female. We decided we would focus mainly on this one character who would bring us through the entire show. It's mostly about realizing your power, your worth, and kind of finding true love along the way, which kind of happens within a dream for her."
BroadwayWorld: This time around, however, Travis, Nick, and Teddy won't be touring with the company. Can you tell us about some of the cast you've gathered to fill their spots?
Robinson: "We have Gaby Diaz, who won season 12 of "So You Think You Can Dance," as our principal female dancer. We have Jim Nowakowski, who was also on Gaby's season of "So You Think...," who is filling in for Nick's role in the show. He's kind of like Peter Pan/ the white rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland" role where he takes her hand and brings her into her dream world through a sequence of duets and group pieces that explore the different facets of love. All of our dancers are really incredible and are going a great job at picking up the choreography and really making it their own."
BroadwayWorld: Once you put together this phenomenal cast, how did you all go about learning the choreography?
Robinson: "We started from the very top of the show. We have our show from the Beacon Theatre that we finished our last tour with [recorded] in a drop box account...so everyone basically brought in their computers and we opened it up. We were able to identify which dancers were who on stage. Like for Jim, he is pretty much playing Nick's role the whole show. So we pretty much assigned the dancers who they're looking at and then we go bit by bit and count by count, putting the choreography back together. This time we have Travis in the studio pretty much every day. We also have Channing Cooke, who has been one of our original dancers who is extremely intelligent, and she'll be our rehearsal director for the entirety of this run."
BroadwayWorld: What can audiences expect when they come to see Shaping Sound?
Robinson: "Shaping Sound is dance theater. We tell our story through moments of soft expressive movement and explosive musical choreography. It's almost as if a musical, a contemporary story ballet and a rock concert had a threesome. Our audience can expect to see world class dance set to a soundtrack that will have you shazaming every song and a story that will leave you warm-hearted and wanting more."
BroadwayWorld: What has been your favorite part of working with Shaping Sound since its beginning?
Robinson: "I think the coolest thing is when the dads are ecstatic at the end of the show because it's not often that the straight, male, middle aged man will come out to a dance show unless they are being brought along by their daughters. But at the end of the night, they love what they just watched and I think a part of that is the music selection that we do: we do anything from Bohemian Rhapsody to Nina Simone to contemporary music."
Shaping Sound will perform at The Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater on October 22. For more information, visit www.shapingsoundco.com.