THE SILHOUETTES will be on See Dad Run, Nickelodeon’s amazing show starring Scott Baio! Stay tuned for the airing in April, 2014
THE SILHOUETTES™, the Denver-area shadow dance troupe that launched into the spotlight on television’s “America’s Got Talent” last year, create a special message for Cedar Rapids before and during their sold-out show at the Paramount Theatre in creator Lynne Waggoner-Patton’s hometown. (Lynne Waggoner-Patton photo)
CEDAR RAPIDS — “Homecoming” takes on so many different meanings in the talented hands and feet of THE SILHOUETTES™ a shadow dance troupe
that mesmerized “America’s Got Talent” judges and viewers last year came home to where it all started, with a sold-out show at the Paramount Theatre on Tuesday night (11/20/12).
Creator and choreographer Lynne Waggoner-Patton grew up studying with various Cedar Rapids dance studios before she spread her wings westward and landed in the Denver area. That’s where she built her own dance studio 21 years ago, and in response to a challenge to create something new and memorable for a corporate client in 2009, that’s where The Silhouettes were born.
The young dancers are memorable, indeed. More than just clever, pretty shape-shifters, they are refined dancers at the top of their form — and good actors, as well.
Fifty members of the troupe, ages 9 to 24, came to Waggoner-Patton’s hometown and cast their spell over all the budding ballerinas in their pretty party dresses — and everyone else in the audience.
Their 90-minute show is titled “Homecoming,” revolving around lifelong friends Johnny and Annie who spend their childhood in blissful imagination games, then set off on different life paths, trying to maintain their ties across time and space. Each one makes huge mistakes along the way, learning life’s most harsh lessons, before finding their way home to each other.
The story is, at times, simplistic and cliche, but never the artistry. It’s always stunning and precise, calling on the very best of dance technique and interpretation to achieve the glorious “pictures” the audience sees on the giant screen and on smaller rectangular and circular screens.
The “wow” factor “AGT” judge Howie Mandel spoke of so often plays out in every scene of the show. A couple of the winning routines are woven into the story, as well, giving us glimpses of the giving tree that holds a swing for Annie and tosses its leaves into the wind, as well as all the beautiful patriotic symbols that moved us to tears during “God Bless America” and the simple, powerful words formed in complex body poses, from “c-o-u-r-a-g-e” to “h-o-p-e.”
Those are the hallmarks we’ve come to love from The Silhouettes. The unexpected pleasures come from athletic, agile twirls, leaps and lifts, showing just how well these dancers are rooted in all the loveliness of ballet.
The show is full of yin and yang.
A ship carries Johnny on exotic adventures in The Silhouettes’ 90-minute show, “Homecoming.” (Ruth Miller photo)
The first half is sweet and charming, moving through Annie and Johnny’s childhood and adolescence. Annie stays home and dreams of becoming a dancer, while Johnny embarks on a jaunt around the world, stopping at iconic pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the Eiffel Tower and more, which the dancers form with their bodies before the images morph into actual photos of the sites.
The second half is edgy and dark, incorporating hip-hop, techno clubbing and Broadway dance as Annie follows her dreams to Hollywood and New York, interspersed with the horrors of war and personal demons engulfing Johnny overseas and at home.
Even though we’re pretty much guaranteed a happy outcome for the all-ages show, the adults in the audience have plenty to take in for themselves, opening the door for some good, serious discussions with their children and grandchildren afterward.
The evening began with a sweet audio introduction by a young Silhouette, then moved into a haunting look at Waggoner-Patton’s hometown during the Floods of 2008. Those images faded into an equally moving video message from the evening’s major sponsors and enthusiastic show-outs from The Silhouettes to the local people who helped bring the show to town. In another classy nod to Waggoner-Patton’s roots, members of Orchestra Iowa’s youth Discovery Chorus sang “The Artist Who Teaches Us All” and “Me and My Shadow” while 29 dancers from five area studios became the Cedar Rapids Silhouettes, the first outside group to use the Silhouettes’ choreography. All performed superbly and professionally under the tutelage of vocal director Amy Hanisch of Walford and choreographer/collaborator Lynne Waggoner-Patton. I’ve been seeing a lot of standing ovations throughout the Paramount’s grand reopening celebration. All have been deserved, but this one was especially poignant, honoring world-class talent springing from our hometown.
“THE SILHOUETTES™ were created in March 2009 when I was asked to create a show using my dancers from Rocky Mountain School of Dance, Inc. I was asked to use shadows, pictures and dance in a way that would make the audience remember Denver.
When I presented the idea of making the shape of the pictures with dancer’s bodies – and then having the photograph appear on the stage – I didn’t realize how truly difficult that would be. The children worked incredibly hard and together we made it happen! I was in the stairwell at the theater 10 minutes before show praying for the dancers to hit the “Blue Bear” shape… and they executed it perfectly!!!!!!
Channel 9 news Denver aired coverage of our work for several days after the event. A Denver Entertainment Company, Starkey Productions, saw the coverage and asked me if they could book THE SILHOUETTES™ dancers for corporate events! The big break came when Chris Starkey contacted me and asked if the dancers could attend the America’s Got Talent audition in Denver. This chain of events led us to the most incredible experience of our lives!
Since our exciting time on AGT, we have been traveling all over the nation performing for corporate events, Christmas shows and our very own 90 minute show called ‘Homecoming’ by THE SILHOUETTES™ children’s dance group. Our highlight was performing outside on the beach in Mexico! Our goal is to help homeless children through our performances by donating a portion of every show’s proceeds to foundations for homeless children. Our mission is to spread love and change lives and we can’t wait to see what the future brings!”
– Lynne Waggoner-Patton
THE SILHOUETTES™ performed with Lincoln Brewster and Le PeTiT CiRqUe during the holiday season at Bayside Church in Sacramento! Standing ovations from over 42,000 audience members and reaching 150,000 with live streams! The passion, grace and incredible energy made this Christmas season one to remember!