Travis Wall's newest dance show will take audiences on a journey through love, loss and learning how to move onward.EXPAND
Travis Wall's newest dance show will take audiences on a journey through love, loss and learning how to move onward.
Matthew Murphy

Travis Wall's After the Curtain Dances on the Dark Side of Love

Dance fans have a whole new show to get excited for. Travis Wall and his dance company, Shaping Sound, are back with their brand-new production After The Curtain at Jones Hall on June 7, courtesy of Lott Entertainment Presents.

In the show, visual musicians dazzle audiences as they tell the story of a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love.

“You’re watching this man’s life unravel before his eyes. You see what happens onstage, and then we flip it and see it happen backstage. You see what happens when he goes insane,” Wall says. “It deals with dark matters, and you see what he goes through. It rips your heart out.”

The show is a case of art imitating life. The openly gay artist pieced together the show to portray a love story, and the twist comes when the audience learns that the object of his affection is another man.

“It is set in the 1940s, and he couldn’t come to terms with his sexuality. He couldn’t tell him he loved him because he was taken too soon,” says Wall.

To help bring the story to life, Wall needed dancers who could step up to the challenges of the show. He didn’t have to look too far, bringing on two SYTYCD alums: Season 1 winner Nick Lazzarini and Season 12 winner Gaby Diaz.

Chantel Aguirre, Mason Cutler, Teddy Forance, Rory Freeman, Austin Goodwin, Kate Harpootlian, Lex Ishimoto, Lindsay Leuschner and Chelsea Thedinga round out the cast. Lazzarini, Forance and Kyle Robinson also earn credits for co-creating the show under Wall’s artistic direction.

The company of After The Curtain includes tappers, b-boys, ballet dancers and many other types of dancers.EXPAND
The company of After The Curtain includes tappers, b-boys, ballet dancers and many other types of dancers.
Matthew Murphy

“This is such an eclectic group of dancers, and they’re the best around. There’s so much dimensions and levels,” Wall says. “There are b-boys, a ballet dancer, tappers…we come together to create music with our bodies.”

After the Curtain is the latest creation to come from the powerhouse dance figure America first got to know on Season 2 of SYTYCD. Wall took second place before making frequent appearances as a guest choreographer and mentor in subsequent seasons.

His work often received praise and awards. After several years as a nominee, he clenched an Emmy Award in 2015 for Outstanding Choreography. The pieces evaluated for the award include "Wave," "When I Go" and "Wind Beneath My Wings."

Wall's tour comes at just the right moment for followers of the SYTYCD franchise. The show ran for 12 seasons featuring talents between the ages of 18 and 30, before switching formats to a junior version in Season 13 in which contestants younger than 18 competed. Season 14 will return to the original format of adults vying for a chance at stardom.

Even better, this season Mary Murphy will return as a judge. She'll be bringing her sharp eye for technique, an unparalleled expertise in ballroom styles, and there's always that Hot Tamale Train.

Wall has often been a guest choreographer for the show. While SYTYCD is remaining tight-lipped about who will be appearing this season, if precedent holds, we can pretty much expect to see him at some point helping to provide new dances and thorough notes.

The new season begins airing on FOX June 12.

Travis Wall's Shaping Sound: After The Curtain will play June 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. Tickets range from $35.50-$80.50. For information, call 832-487-7041 or visit houstonfirsttheaters.com.

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