In Review

Shaping Sound

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars - 'Sweet Stuff'
San Jose Center for the Performing Arts
Review by Cy Ashley Webb

The So You Think You Can Dance crowd was out in force for Shaping Sound, as enthusiastic as any audience at a Rolling Stones concert. This show, which appeared at the Flint Center for a single performance, forces one to wonder once again, at this strange force of reality tv.  Short of Riverdance or The Nutcracker, one doesn’t expect crowds like this – let alone such enthusiastic crowds – for dance performances.

Act I opening with a pounding techno beat and left no doubt as to the capabilities of these dancers, almost all of whom had performed with So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, or similar programs. This touring show has even more of the flash and glitz of the reality TV performance shows, which audience reveled in, often breaking into spontaneous applause after sequences of multiple male pirouettes.

Shaping Sound - San Jose
The cast of ‘Shaping Sound’, seen here in “Mosh,”

As technically impressive as these first numbers were, the narrative  remained unclear. That alone wouldn’t matter, but their attempts at shock and awe relied too much on gimmicky effects like overly loud sound, lights shining directly into the audience’s faces, special effects like strobes, and acrobatic moves,  – all of which  gave the impression of trying too hard.

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That sense of ended roughly two-thirds through the first act, with the very first notes of In the Mood when dance numbers became visibly more unified with the music, rather than simply movement (albeit really, really good movement) to a beat. The final number Rouge Lounge, which had the edgy feel of a good production of Venus in Fur.

Shaping Sound Review
“Do Right”.

The unity lasted through Act II, as sound, choreography, and special effects worked together to achieve more of a total effect, than just to numb the senses of the audience. Like the first half, this second act was based on recorded music selections, almost all had a big feel, including (of course!) Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.

Perpetual tweaking keeps folks returning for that shot of electricity this show provides.

The audience included many repeat visitors, folks seeing this a second or third time, all of whom were psyched at the new choreography. This perpetual tweaking keeps folks returning for that shot of electricity this show provides.

Shaping Sound
“Love is Blind”.

The 15 member cast of Shaping Sound continues on tour… but stay tuned to Stark Insider for more dance coverage throughout the Bay Area.

Photos courtesy Shaping Sound.

Cy spent the ‘80’s as a bench scientist, the tech boom doing intellectual property law, and the first decade of the millennium, aspiring to be the world’s oldest grad student at Stanford where she is interested in political martyrdom. Presently, she enjoys writing for Stark Insider and the SF Examiner, hanging out at Palo Alto Children's Theatre, and participating in various political activities. Democracy is not a spectator sport! Cy is a SFBATCC member.