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The Great Wall of Travis

Arguably one of the most insightful, influential artists of the century … and I don’t use 100 years lightly … is the phenomenal 29-year-old choreographer/dancer/artistic director/limelighter Travis Wall. “After the Curtain” falls on Salt Lake City this October, and Wall hopes people will come to the show with “an open heart and open mind.”

According to Wall, the two-hour, 12-character production, created by and featuring Wall, may have the audience asking, “why is he doing that?” The answer [by the second act] is “transcending,” Wall tells QSaltLake. “It’s a very dramatized fictional piece developed on personal, family and friends experiences.”

“After The Curtain” is the second production from Shaping Sound, the eclectic dance company, following on the heels of the spellbinding “Dance Reimagined,” which toured North America for four years.

“‘Dance Reimagined’ was made up of individual songs by several artists, and the music was really all over the map,” Wall says. “Our new show is very different. It is all music created by Ryan Lott of Son Lux. I reached out to him last year about collaborating and I knew he had to create all of the music for this new show. We are using some already existing songs; plus, he is re-imagining a handful of them and adding new original music. Hearing why he wrote the songs helps us as dancers connect to each lyric. It has really changed the way I create as an artist; it’s helped me craft the storyline.”

Conceived and choreographed by Wall, “After The Curtain” tells the story of a man fighting to find his creative voice after the death of his one true love. “It’s about mental illness, putting yourself in other’s shoes, death and ultimately an honest confession,” Wall says.

Wall has been working since age 12 and received a 7th consecutive Emmy Award nomination for ‘Outstanding Choreography’ earlier this year for his groundbreaking work on the popular FOX television show So You Think You Can Dance. He’s nominated for the routines ‘Send In The Clowns,’ ‘The Mirror’ and ‘She Used To Be Mine.’ 

On Sep. 10, the Creative Arts Emmys were handed out and Wall took another home … but so did first-time winner Mandy Moore, in a tie in the voting. Wall was the Emmy winner in 2015.  

Wall has choreographed a number of music videos, stage and awards shows, television and film. When asked, Wall says his most memorable shoot was choreographing his first full-length music video of Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water,” (how apropo Salt Lakers) which won the CMT Video of the Year.

“It was my first music video and it was October in Los Angeles, so it was cold,” Wall remembers. “And it was a 10- to 12-hour shoot. It was really cold. But as we were waiting for the production people to get ready for the final take, we all got in the pool together. I was sitting next to Carrie, who was like three-months pregnant, and she started to sing. Her voice was so soft and I could feel her diaphragm in the the calm water as she sang, it was incredible.”

Wall also had the privilege of working with former First Lady, Michelle Obama on her Let’s Move Campaign, an exercise and health wellness program, creating the GimmeFive routine that was performed on Ellen and at The White House.

“After the Curtain” is produced and presented by MagicSpace Entertainment, and Sean Bayles, a representative of the company, tells QSaltLake: “We work closely with the agent representing Shaping Sound and when she told us about the new tour, we felt it would be a great show for our Salt Lake City market. Not simply because it would play well to an LGBTQ audience but because it will play well to any audience that loves powerful works of art. In many ways the success of Shaping Sound or any great artist whether LGBTQ or not is a reflection of its relevance and meaning to the audience in attendance. While this new work will have particular meaning to the LGBTQ community it will have an equally powerful impact on the entire audience because these stories are meaningful to all of us.
“MagicSpace Entertainment has been presenting in Salt Lake City since 1979. We have a long history presenting shows that play in stadiums, arenas, theaters and even club spaces from NSYNC at Rice Eccles many years ago to The Book of Mormon at the new Eccles Theater today.   Coming up we have a number a great shows at the theater including Seu Jorge and the Life Aquatic, Hamilton — An American Musical and An American in Paris to name a few. We believe any of these shows are of interest to Q readers, not because they may be related to the LGBTQ community, but because we find Q readers to be smart, articulate and culturally aware people, which is exactly the demographic we hope to continue presenting our shows to.”
“After The Curtain” performs Tuesday, Oct. 24, 7:30 p.m. at the Eccles Theater, 131 Main St. Tickets are on sale now at Live-at-the-Eccles.com, by phone at 801-355-ARTS and at the Eccles Theater Box Office (M-F 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m.–2 p.m.).

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