Sunday, February 1, 2015

Accessibility Review of State Theatre (and Why the Shaping Sound Tour Was Amazing)

Photo credit: Angelica Agents

Last night, I got to see the Shaping Sound tour at State Theatre in Minneapolis.  I've never gone to a concert, but have gone to a dance show previously (the So You Think You Can Dance season 3 tour), where I sat in accessible seating, way at the top in the very back row of a very big venue.  It was possible to see, but we were so far away.  All of our photos from this tour required a lot of zooming, and even then, remained distant.

Sabra Johnson and Dominic Sandoval perform Make It Work on the So You Think You Can Dance 2007 tour

So, even though the State Theatre had accessible seating, I was glad my sis got us seats on the main floor, only eight rows away from the stage.  I also made sure to call ahead of time to check on parking, elevators, and if there was a safe location for my wheelchair after I transferred to a seat.  I was told the theatre had parking under the venue, and an elevator to take to the main doors.  Also, my wheelchair would be secure, all I needed to do was speak to an usher on the way in.

Prior to the show, I decided to use the restroom, because we were fairly early.  I was prepared for a line, and crowds, but was pleasantly surprised to see an actually accessible bathroom, just across the way from the door leading out of the theatre.  There were ushers beside it, and opened the door.  The doorway was wide enough for me to fit through, and the door closed and locked easily behind me.  There was plenty of room to maneuver, and grab bars, too.  The usher was right there again, opening the door for me afterward.

My favorite parts of the performance were definitely this moment from early on, captured brilliantly by a friend, seated a few rows ahead of us:

Jaimie Goodwin performs in Shaping Sound (Photo credit: Angelica Agents)

It was a lot to absorb, but portions do stand out in my mind: entire sections dedicated to swing music, which were so much fun, and where Daniel Gaymon absolutely shone.  I pointed him out to my cousin during this section "See the dancer in the front?" and my cousin just nodded and said, "I know."

Swing music section (Photo credit: Angelica Agents)
The second half was full of drama and so much emotion.  The first number after intermission was an entire dance to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, which was amazingly executed.  I loved the push and pull as Jaimie's character and Teddy's character were constantly pulled apart by other dancers.  

Photo credit: Angelica Agents

Definitely a job well-done by everyone!

Jaimie Goodwin's curtain call (Photo credit: Angelica Agents)

Shaping Sound's founders take their bow (Photo credit: Angelica Agents)

Loved being able to connect with several of the dancers afterward.  All were so genuine, sweet and polite, introducing themselves and thanking us for coming.  Definitely, if you have the chance to go (especially if you're a dance fan) you should.  Call ahead to your venue and see about accessibility.

Jaimie, my sis and me, after the show.  (Photo credit: Jacob Hillman)

For more on Shaping Sound:

Shaping Sound website (for tour dates, merchandise and more)
Shaping Sound on Twitter or Shaping Sound Dance Co. on Facebook (for updates and exclusive behind the scenes photos.  See them arrive at their tour stops and post pictures of the venues and audiences.)

Overview of the show:

If you think the Shaping Sound company looks familiar, they were cast in Carrie Underwood's music video, Something In The Water, which was released late last year:

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