Wall Behind the Curtain

Star Choreographer Comes to East Lansing

BY JONATHAN W. THURSTON

Losing the love of your life is never easy. How can anyone recover from that? And how can anyone find their muse after that?

After the Curtain is a brand-new dance show that is coming to the Wharton Center in East Lansing on Nov. 1, and it strives to answer these questions. Marketed to a predominantly LGBTQ audience, this show will inspire hope in those who have lost it and remind all watchers of the importance of expressing oneself in a world that isn't always forgiving.

And who heads this great show? Travis Wall himself. Most renowned perhaps from his prolific work on "So You Think You Can Dance," Wall and his dance team, Shaping Sound, have excelled with their show, "Dance Reimagined," in the past.

Usually, Wall's followers refer to themselves as SuperFans and will be coming from all over the state to see this spectacular show. While much of the SuperFans are made up of teenage girls, families often come, and anyone who's ever danced or had an interest in dancing can benefit from the show. With the heavy LGBTQ theme of this latest show, everyone in the local community can feel welcome here.

Wall himself felt a lot of personal connection with the themes in the show. "I really wanted to add a piece of myself and a piece of my soul into this show," says Wall. "And that's why I created a love story between two men."

Regarding the reception of the themes of the show, Wall speaks proudly of his plans. "It's bold, and it's brave, and there's multiple levels to this relationship, and I thought what was something that was really hard to do growing up was coming out. That is very hard to come to terms with it, to understand how to put that into words." However, Wall excels by not having to put this into words, but into motion, telling the story through body language and dance.

While the story deals with very relevant themes, the setting is a bit distant. "I set the show in the 1940s," Wall says. "Just to think about how easy I had it compared to them, how hard it must have been for someone back then, and how they probably never did come out, and they probably went to their grave with the secret, and that's something that kills me." That strong sense of mortality paralleled with morality factors heavily into this show.

Wall will be playing a character in this show, the heroic Vincent. Paired against him as Vincent's alter ego is the character Jude, who will be played by Michael Dameski. Dameski was the 2014 winner of the Australian "So You Think You Can Dance" show, and has been touring with Wall since March of this year with "After the Curtain"'s premier. Joining them in the cast is another "So You Think You Can Dance" winner, Nick Lazzarini (from season 1).

Wall himself has choreographed for "So You Think You Can Dance," "Dancing with the Stars," Carrie Underwood's "Something in the Water" music video, stage shows for Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato, and the 82nd Academy Awards. His choreography has received an Emmy and CMT Awards already, an impressive feat for the renowned dancer.

So, make sure to come and watch these talented visual musicians when they come to MSU's Wharton Center on Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35, and there are student and group discounts available.

For information on purchasing tickets, go to http://whartoncenter.com, and for more information on Travis and Shaping Sound, visit http://shapingsoundco.com.
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