Review: Alberta Ballet Presents Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound

This week, I was so thrilled to attend Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: After The Curtain presented by the Alberta Ballet. As I recently shared, I used to be a huge So You Think You Can Dance fan back in its early seasons, and Travis Wall was (and still is) one of my absolute favourite dancers. 

I haven’t watched SYTYCD, or any dance performance in a long time, but wowwee, did watching Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound: After the Curtain make me feel all sorts of emotions, and pull me right back into why I was so obsessed with watching dance before. 

Shaping Sound: After The Curtain tells the tragic story of a man fighting his inner demons after the death of his one true love. The video above shows one of so many incredible scenes throughout the two-hour performance that puts you in a trance, and leaves you wanting more. 

Human lanterns, dance fighting, ropes and flying— I saw things in this show that I’ve never seen before. With haunting music by Son Lux, Shaping Sound: After the Curtain is deeply moving and pulls your emotions in a lot of directions (not unlike Travis Wall being pulled in multiple directions by rope, while flying, in another epic scene below). 

Travis Wall Shaping Sound

Epic flying rope scene in Shaping Sound: After The Curtain. Photo Credit: In Motion Photography

Bonus interesting fact: Travis actually came up with the story for Shaping Sound: After the Curtain while he was in Edmonton two years ago, feeling stressed and pulled in so many directions with so many different struggles going on in his life at the time. That led to this breathtaking, heart-wrenching, show. 

Travis Wall Shaping Sound After The Curtain Alberta Ballet Edmonton

Hosting the pre-show Alberta Ballet DanceTalks Q&A with Nikole Vallins of Shaping Sound.

This night was extra special to me because I was asked by the Alberta Ballet to host the pre-show DanceTalks Q&A with Shaping Sound’s producer Nikole Vallins, in addition to getting a peek of their rehearsal, and, best of all, finally meeting Travis Wall.

Travis Wall Shaping Sound After The Curtain Alberta Ballet Edmonton

Travis Wall is the loveliest, kindest human.

As I walked up to Travis and the Shaping Sound cast after the show for a photo, Travis called out “oh my god, it’s you!” He told the cast, he used to visit the fan page I ran for him (I told you, I used to be a big SYTYCD fan!) for updates on his own life, because it knew more about what was going on in his life than he did! 

Travis is truly as lovely in person as he is on TV and online, and I’m just feeling very happy that I got to meet him, that he knew about me and about that old fan page, and that I got to see him perform live.

It is something I will remember forever.

Travis Wall Shaping Sound After The Curtain Alberta Ballet Edmonton

The cast of Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound After The Curtain!

Watching Shaping Sound: After The Curtain, and all of the feelings I had associated with it, reminded me just how much I enjoyed getting lost in a performance, being totally moved by the movements and storytelling of dancers. It reminded me how powerful dance and the arts can be in addressing social issues, and making you think about different narratives, and their meaning, long after the show wrapped up. 

I was telling friends the next day about the storyline, and the characters’ struggles, and how emotional it was, and one comment that stuck with me was “you got all of that from dancing?” Yes, indeed. 

Travis Wall Shaping Sound After The Curtain Alberta Ballet Edmonton

My Shaping Sound date, Jasmine, and I were blown away by Shaping Sound: After The Curtain.

Shaping Sound: After The Curtain also reminded me how programs like SYTYCD are such a wonderful gateway for people— who may not otherwise be interested or know they could be interested in dance. There was such a diverse group of people in the Edmonton audience for this show—from young to old. During the DanceTalks pre-show, I asked how many people were there because they had seen Travis Wall in SYTYCD, and about half of the almost 100 people raised their hand. That’s truly impactful. Travis, Nick Lazzarini, Lex Ishimoto, and all of the incredibly talented dancers, are pulling so many people in to the arts. It’s so important.

If you get a chance to see Shaping Sound: After the Curtain, I could not recommend it enough. 

Check out their tour schedule here (Alberta is one of just two Canadian provinces on the tour, so, go us!)

You should also check out the Alberta Ballet dance company’s performances for the rest of this season too.

The Alberta Ballet’s mandate is to connect Albertans with the art of dance. They do this by creating and performing contemporary and classical ballet with its company of 28 professional dancers. They also do this by bringing to our province, internationaly-recognized dance companies like Travis Wall’s Shaping Sound.

I am grateful to the Alberta Ballet for inviting me to Shaping Sound, and happy to continue to promote and be an advocate for arts and culture in our province.

The rest of the Alberta Ballet’s season includes: 

Learn more on Alberta Ballet’s website.


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Disclaimer: I will always provide my 100% honest opinion on this blog. The Alberta Ballet invited me to check out one of their performances. I chose Shaping Sound. This does not impact the opinions stated in this post. If you can’t tell, I am a HUGE Travis Wall/SYTYCD/Shaping Sound/ and now, Alberta Ballet fan. 

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