On Saturday, Feb. 24 at Miami Theater Center, talented dance, music and theater YoungArts winners will present a culminating performance after just one short week of rehearsal. In this inter-disciplinary show, they will be given the exposure, the experience and opportunity that becomes a part of thriving and indeed, surviving, in the highly competitive field of performing arts. The short week is joyful, demanding and eye-opening as the students discover what a true collaborative environment is. They will garner respect for fellow artists, push their creativity to the max and ultimately, meet and work with influential individuals to create a show that showcases the abilities of each young student.
Caleb Teicher, director of CT&C (his dance company), dancer, choreographer and New York who’s who, will be the responsible party for putting all this together. A YoungArts finalist, he credits the YoungArts week in Miami as being one of the most inspiring in his life.
“I found a community of young people who were equally dedicated, focused and driven to pursue their particular artistic skill. I was 17 and it was a total dream.”
Over the next years, Teicher was brought back to work with YoungArts numerous times as an alum. He performed in the yearly gala, was hired as a creative team fellow, was the creative director for a web series, became assistant director, and in 2015, he directed the large collaborative performance, which is held at Kennedy Center in Washington DC each year.
“I keep returning to YoungArts wearing different hats. I think I feel a bit more pressure for this experience because I know the kids are so talented. I want to do my best work for them. I feel a great responsibility, (and it is) a responsibility that I’m happy to take, to provide that once in a lifetime experience that I once had.”
He wanted his creative team to have experienced that same “once in a lifetime” feeling so he amassed a team comprised of former YoungArts colleagues.
“I knew they would understand the responsibility in making this experience as good for the students as it was for us.”
The team will make sure that the collaboration feels fun, musical and appropriate. Former YoungArts colleague, holding Broadway, film and television credits, Michael Benjamin Washington is the dramaturg. Vocalist, India Carney, as the music director, is an a capella music arranger and coach who Teicher felt would be especially inspiring for young people. Juilliard graduate, Macy Sullivan, as the dance supervisor, is not a YoungArts alum, but serves as Teicher’s “right hand gal” in his dance company.
Teicher says he has a cast of over 23 performers to work with. One-third of the artists are dancers, one-third are theater artists, and the final third are vocalists; some classical, some pop singers and two singer songwriters.
Teicher is no stranger to working with a highly multi-disciplined group.
“Most of the time I’ve worked with YoungArts, as a performer, as an assistant director or as a director, it has been highly inter-disciplinary. That’s part of what makes YoungArts so special. So this is not so unfamiliar to me.”
“I have a framework and a concept. I have a reason to start and end the evening. One of the best things about YoungArts is that it’s not just coaching, bringing in your rep. This is an experience for the students to learn how to work with one another, which is one of the most valuable qualities that you can have as an artist. To be able to expand and contextualize your art. We are looking at 23 people who are soloists. Part of my job is to make these people understand that their potential and their capacity has not found its limit yet, to take them out of their comfort zone for the week. With a hand to hold, it usually works quite well.”
True to form in Miami, for this performance, the artists are going to be spending a day at the beach . “The curtain will come up to reveal the most talented people you’ve ever seen lounging on beach blankets, wearing sun hats and pretending to tan under the theater lights. I wanted to create a scenario that would allow for ultimate play.”
Presently in the role of directing, when it is mentioned to Teicher that is quite young to have had the many experiences that he has already had in his career, he responds:
“As far as being a young director/choreographer, everything has happened much earlier than I expected. I thought I would be in my early thirties, and I’m in my early twenties. I have been very happy with the work I’ve been provided. I try not to overthink it.”
YoungArts Dance, Theater and Voice Performance, directed by Caleb Teicher
Sat, February 24, 2018, 8 PM
Miami Theater Center
9806 NE 2nd Ave. | Miami
General admission $15