Catapult, the dance company best known for their time on “America’s Got Talent,” will perform on Oct. 23 in Edmonds. (Catapult)

Catapult, the dance company best known for their time on “America’s Got Talent,” will perform on Oct. 23 in Edmonds. (Catapult)

Catapult troupe sculpts shadow illusions with their bodies

You can see the dance company of “America’s Got Talent” fame at two shows in Edmonds on Oct. 23.

EDMONDS — Catapult, the dance company best known for its time on TV’s “America’s Got Talent,” has a tour stop here.

The Connecticut-based dancers who specialize in shadow illusion will perform “Magic Shadows” at noon and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

The dancers work behind a screen to create silhouettes of shapes from the world around us. Their work is an art form that combines dance, theater and sculpture.

“Catapult is a shadow illusion dance company — there’s nothing really like us,” said Adam Battelstein, who founded Catapult in 2009. “We tell stories using music and dance and shadow illusion.”

You’ll see Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” play out on stage. You’ll watch their bodies transform into a mountain, an elephant, a dragon and even a helicopter, and travel the world from Paris to Beijing in less than 10 minutes.

Adam Battelstein is the founder and director of Catapult. His shadow illusionists are Anjuli Bhattacharyya, Lily Minkowitz, Spencer Grossman, Sawyer Newsome, Korinne Manjarres, Natalie Stys, Brittany Posas and Chloe Markewich.

Not only can they dance and act, they can sculpt their bodies.

“They really have to know where their bodies are in space and be able to move in fine-tuned ways,” Battelstein said. “Sometimes when we say, ‘Move a little to the right,’ we’re talking millimeters. We’re talking about flexing a muscle a little more or less.”

“Magic Shadows” is made up of seven dances: “Four Seasons,” “Milestones,” “Berlin Wall,” “Spy,” “Bullies,” “Go West” and “A Traveler’s Tale.”

Vivaldi inspired the opening dance. “The Four Seasons” are a group of violin concertos written by the Italian composer for each of the four seasons of the year. They were composed around 1723, when Vivaldi was the court chapel master in Mantua.

The six other short dances in “Magic Shadows” are Battelstein originals, choreographed in collaboration with the Catapult team. Bhattacharyya serves as rehearsal director, helping to make improvements to each of the dances over the years.

“Catapult is collaborative by nature,” he said. “One of the ways that we live up to our unusual name is by launching ideas at each other. Sometimes these ideas land with a thud and sometimes they explode and blow us away.”

Battelstein was inspired to form his own company after working on a Hyundai Santa Fe commercial with Pilobolus. That dance company was hired to transform themselves into the car through shadow illusion in “Life Shapes.”

Catapult made it to 12th place on the hit show “America’s Got Talent” in 2013. They performed four times for the show’s judges and millions of viewers. The dance company was eliminated from the competition in the top 12 finals.

“That show launched our career,” Battelstein said. “I will never say anything bad about ‘AGT.’”

Thanks to their “America’s Got Talent” fame, Catapult has performed all around the world, including in China, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany and Nigeria. Right now, they’re touring the U.S. for the fifth time.

Bhattacharyya has been touring with Catapult since 2015.

“What I love about Catapult is being able to combine so many art forms that I love,” she said. “The feeling you get as a performer when you see an audience cheer and stand up on their feet is inexplicable.”

You get your pick of two shows. The evening performance is 75 minutes long — it shows “Magic Shadows” in its entirety. Tickets are $19-$34. The matinee show, which is a condensed 60 minutes, is recommended for children. Tickets are $10.

If you’re still playing it safe with COVID-19, you can register to watch Catapult’s matinee show via Mandolin. Tickets are $5. A Mandolin link will be emailed to you with registration. You’ll be able to replay the performance from the comfort of your own home for 48 hours.

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

If you go

Catapult, the dance company best known for their time on the hit show “America’s Got Talent,” performs at noon and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Edmonds Center for the Arts, 410 Fourth Ave. N., Edmonds. Dancers who specialize in shadow illusion work behind a screen to create silhouettes of shapes from the world around us. Tickets are $10-$34.

If you stream

If you’re still playing it safe, you can register to watch Catapult perform “Magic Shadows” at the Edmonds Center of the Arts at noon Oct. 23 via Mandolin. A Mandolin link will be emailed to you with registration. You can replay the performance for 48 hours. Tickets are $5.

For more information, call 425-275-9595 email boxoffice@ec4arts.org or visit www.edmondscenterforthearts.org.

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