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caleb teicher & company


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2 0 2 0 / 2 1 s e a s o n | u m s l e a r n i n g g u i d e

Caleb Teicher & Company Digital School Day Performance

Available Online Mon Feb 8 – Fri Feb 19, 2021

Meet Ella




teicher &


2 0 2 0 / 2 1 s e a s o n | u m s l e a r n i n g g u i d e


t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s


to use



Your class is attending...

Caleb Teicher &



Dance Performance

This guide will help you prepare for the performance. Each section is organized around a question you might have about the performance.

s t a y p r e s e n t 2

Within each section,

pay attention to the symbols

which represent the difficulty level of the material.








4. What is it like being

in the audience?

8. Who is performing? 12. What does dance look

like? What types of dance will we see?

27. What is the relationship

between music and dance?

29. What does this

performance have to do with Michigan?

31. How does dance inspire

people? (learning from art)

32. How can I write

about dance?

35. How can I find out


36. Who made this

performance possible?





s t a y p r e s e n t 4 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what is it

like being

in the





While we can’t be in the performance venues this year, our dance ensembles usually perform in the Power Center. Check out interesting facts about the venue on the next page.

s t a y p r e s e n t 4


How is watching a performance similar and different to looking at a picture?

The Power Center has 1,350 seats, and all

seats feel close to the stage. No seat is

more than 80 feet away.

The Power Center is a proscenium-stage theater. This means there is a frame, or arch, that separates the stage from the audience. Audience members look through this frame, which creates a sense of spectacle, as if the audience is looking through a picture frame viewing the lives of characters.

what is it

like being

in the



and think!


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

Curious about what a building for

live performance requires besides

a stage?

Check out the blueprints for the Power Center.

Zoom in and explore. What features allow the theater to function at the highest capacity?

what is it

like being

in the



what is it like

being in the


How will the theater be

different when there are

people present?

Here are some of the people you can expect to see at a live performance.

Ushers: People who greet the buses, lead you into the building, and help you find your seat; many are retired teachers and may even have taught at your school.

Stage Crew: People who manage what happens on the stage; you probably will not see them, since they work behind the curtains, unless they move props between parts of the dance.

Lighting & Sound Operators: People who control the lighting and sound for the performance; you might see them working in the back of the auditorium.

Dancers:People who communicate using their bodies.

Musicians: People who communicate

using their voices or instruments. Sometimes no musicians are present and we hear pre-recorded music.

Audience Members: You, your classmates, and other students and teachers from around Michigan.


s t a y p r e s e n t 8 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

who is


Caleb Teicher & Company

Caleb Teicher & Company is a dance company that was founded in 2015. Caleb Teicher is a dancer and choreographer based in New York City.

Teicher grew up playing drums, and when he saw a tap performance on TV he immediately discovered the connections to percussion. He was worried about being the only boy if he took dance lessons, but luckily he found an all-boys tap program where he felt comfortable getting into dance.


who is


Before you watch:

Based on the name “swing dance,” what do you think the dance will look like?


and think!

Watch Caleb Teicher perform a short swing dance with Nathan Bugh

at a competition.

Caleb Teicher has performed dance as part of theater, touring worldwide in a production of the musical West Side

Story. His company has collaborated with many different

types of performers, including a beatboxer, a pianist, the National Symphony Orchestra, and pop artists like Ben Folds and Regina Spektor. Teicher was also one of the founding members of Dorrance Dance, tap master Michelle Dorrance’s Dance Company.


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s s t a y p r e s e n t 10

who is


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

In the performance of Meet Ella, Teicher collaborates with one of the world’s most outstanding swing and vernacular dancers, Nathan Bugh. Nathan Bugh is known worldwide for his intimately rhythmic style of Lindy and vernacular jazz. He has showcased these styles in many iconic venues, such as Carnegie Hall, The Apollo Theater, The Joyce Theater, Martha’s Vineyard, and Jacob’s Pillow.

He is also a swing-dance champion and avid social dancer. Active in the Lindy Hop scene since the late 1990s, Bugh has earned numerous first-place titles in Solo Jazz, Lindy Hop, Team, Invitational, Slow Dance, and Mix/Match divisions at events like the International Lindy Hop Championships.

In this performance, the dancers utilize jazz dance forms to glide towards, cut against, and playfully trade riffs with the Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald. Bringing new depth to Fitzgerald’s well-known musical catalogue, the dancers stretch the boundaries and distill the essence of movement to jazz music.

Learn more about Ella Fitzgerald.

s t a y p r e s e n t 10


who is


Company members Brittany DeStefano and Naomi

Funaki share the stage with Caleb Teicher in Variations.

Brittany DeStefano is a multi-form dancer from upstate New York. She studied under the mentorship of Nicole Aravena and Derick K. Grant, and is an alumna of The School at Jacob’s Pillow tap program. DeStefano has had the privilege of performing at The Joyce Theater, New York City Center, New Victory Theater, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and at Jacob’s Pillow.

Naomi Funaki is a tap dancer from Tokyo, Japan, currently living in New York City and working with Dorrance Dance Second Company, Caleb Teicher & Company, and Music From The Sole. She is also an alumna of The School at Jacob’s Pillow, with their tap program of 2017. Other performance credits include “Tap Family Reunion,” Vail Dance Festival, Dance Against Cancer (Lincoln Center), and Ayodele Casel and Arturo O’Farrill (Joyce Theater).


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s s t a y p r e s e n t 12 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what does

dance look


Have you ever learned a dance before?

Was it hard to remember the steps and


Even if you haven’t learned a dance, you’ve probably thought like a dancer before. Dancers remember different combinations of movements, just like learning the patterns of a hand game.

In some ways dance is like sports. Players have to learn particular moves. They think about what they do with their body and in relation to other people on the field.

Dancers do the same thing, just not on a field. Dancers are athletes who train regularly to master different skills, learn new moves, and to keep up their stamina and strength. They take care of their bodies to avoid getting injured.


what does

dance look


When people dance, they communicate

with their bodies.

The dancers on stage are in conversation with each other and with you in the audience. When we talk, we can be loud or soft, fast or slow, and we can choose which language and words to use. Dancers, too, have their choice of dance languages and different ways to move to express different ideas.


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what does

dance look


What choices can dancers make when

they communicate with their bodies?

Instead of an alphabet or a dictionary, dancers make choices about what they communicate using their body, energy, space, and time. These four elements roughly translate to the what, how, where, and when of dance.

s t a y p r e s e n t 14 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s



Dancers can choose what parts of their body they use. They can choose whether to move multiple parts at the same time, or to isolate the movement to one part of the body.

They can choose what shapes their body makes.

Let’s do a fun activity!

Practice: Draw a circle in the air with a finger, with your nose, and with your elbow. Try doing all three at the same time.

what does dance

look like?


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s


Dancers choose how they move their body by choosing the type of energy they use. They think about the feeling each motion conveys, picking from a range of options, like those to the right. s t a y p r e s e n t 16 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s Smooth vs. Sharp Heavy vs. Light Tight vs. Relaxed Sudden vs. Continuous Bound vs. Free

what does

dance look



what does

dance look


In this video, watch Gregory Hines pay tribute to one of

America’s greatest rhythm tap dancers, Teddy Hale.

Specifically, pay attention to Mr. Hines’s energy.

After you watch:

Is the energy the same throughout? Which of the words on the previous page

would you use to describe the energy?



b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s


Dancers choose how they interact with the space where they dance.


Dancers choose the timing of their movements. They can be fast or slow.

They can move to a steady beat or they can move erratically.

Based on their timing, they can string together different moves, like one sentence. Then they can pause and communicate a new idea.

what does

dance look


s t a y p r e s e n t 18 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

They choose where they look.

They choose where they move and the path they take to get there.

They choose the direction they orient their body (forward, backward, sideways, etc.).

They decide whether they occupy a space up high, on their toes or in the air, or down low, near or even on the ground.


what does

dance look


Rewatch this video of a Gregory Hines.

After you watch:

How would you describe the dancer’s timing?



s t a y p r e s e n t 20

what types of

dance will we


Dance has always been a form of human

communication. While people have always danced, dances have different meanings in different contexts, and the dances can look quite different. People dance to celebrate births, marriages, and funerals. People dance as a way to worship. People dance to socialize and to entertain others. The dances you will see performed are swing dance, a type of social dance often done in pairs, and tap dance, a type of dance characterized by using the sounds of metal taps affixed to the heel and toe of shoes that strike the floor as a form of percussion.


what types

of dance will

we see?

Facts About Swing Dance

Swing dance started in the 1920s in the US, in a form called the Lindy Hop. Swing grew into a phenomenon in the 1930s but faded out after World War II. In the 1980s there was a Lindy revival, and Lindy Hop became popular again.

This style of dance was pioneered by African

Americans, in places like the Savoy Ballroom in New York City. This dance style emphasized improvisation, which means creating moves as you go along, rather than planning out the whole dance in advance. One of the biggest innovators was Frankie Manning, who introduced air steps, moves in which one of the partners was airborne.


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what types

of dance

will we see?

After you watch:

How does Frankie Manning talk about the relationship between music and dance? What do

you notice about Lindy Hop or swing dance that feels similar/different to other types of dance?


and think!

Watch this ten-minute video about Frankie Manning

and the beginnings of the Lindy Hop.

s t a y p r e s e n t 22


what types

of dance

will we see?

Another style of dance you will see in this performance is tap dancing.

Origins of Tap Dance

Tap dance originated in the United States in the early 19th century at the crossroads of African and Irish American dance forms. When slave owners took away traditional African percussion instruments, slaves turned to percussive dancing to express themselves and retain their cultural identities.

These styles of dance connected with clog dancing from the British Isles, creating a unique form of movement and rhythm.

Tap gained popularity after the Civil War as a part of traveling minstrel shows, where white performers wore blackface and belittled Black people by portraying them as lazy, dumb, and comical.


s t a y p r e s e n t 24 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what types of dance

will we see?

20th Century Tap Dancing

Tap was an important feature of popular Vaudeville shows of the early 20th century and a major part of the rich creative output of the Harlem Renaissance. Tap dancers began collaborating with jazz musicians, incorporating improvisation and

complex syncopated rhythms into their movement.

Although Vaudeville and Broadway brought performance opportunities to African American dancers, racism was still pervasive; white and Black dancers typically performed separately and for segregated audiences.

Tap in Hollywood From the 1930s to the 1950s

Tap dance sequences became a staple of movies and television. Tap stars included Shirley Temple, who made her film tap dance debut at age 6, and Gene Kelly, who introduced a balletic style of tap. Fred Astaire, famous for combining tap with ballroom dance, insisted that his dance scenes be captured with a single take and wide camera angle. This style of cinematography became the norm for tap dancing in movies and television for decades.

Tap Today

Tap dancing continues to be an

important part of American vernacular dance. Modern tap dancers

are informed by the traditions, movements, and styles of their

predecessors while continuing to push the limits of their art form. Tap is also gaining long-deserved recognition on the concert stage, at major dance festivals, and in university classrooms.


what types of

dance will we


To learn more about the history of tap dancing,

read this article about tap legends that helped


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s s t a y p r e s e n t 26 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s s t a y p r e s e n t 26

b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

Want to learn how to tap dance? Check out these cool

instructional videos on UMS Performance Playground.

s t a y p r e s e n t 26 s t a y p r e s e n t 26

what types

of dance will

we see?


what is the



music and


Music and dance have a mutually beneficial relationship. People often make up dances to go along with a particular piece of music, but the relationship goes both ways. In many genres, musicians compose their work with the idea that people will dance to it. In the 18th century, for example, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed minuets on the piano for dancing. Swing music of the 1930s, disco music of the 1970s, and electronic dance music of today all sound very different. Yet the people who made this music were all thinking about how people would dance to their creations.


s t a y p r e s e n t 28 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what is the



music and


How is Mozart’s classical music like disco? Often, both were written with dancers in mind.

Dancers and musicians can also work together in real time, playing off of each other’s energy. Although people tend to think of dance as mainly visual and music as mainly auditory, dance makes sound, and musicians also move.

Before you watch:

How do you think music and dance work together? Do you ever make music while you’re dancing?

After you watch:

What did you notice in the performance? How did Caleb Teicher and the musicians work together

visually and sonically?


and think!

Watch this video of Caleb Teicher tap dancing with piano player Jon Batiste and the National Symphony Orchestra to think more about how music and

dance work together.

s t a y p r e s e n t 28 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s


what does this

performance have

to do with michigan?

Social dance happens everywhere and Michigan

is no exception.

The Detroit News has created a

collection of images of people dancing socially

from the 1910s through the 2010s


You can see couples dancing during the Great Depression in “marathon dances” or children dancing around Maypoles. There are polka dances, rock dances, square dances, disco dances, and break dances. There are even swing dances, with an image of Leon James and Albert Minns, two Lindy Hop dancers from New York, who performed at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the 1950s.


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

what does this


have to

do with


s t a y p r e s e n t 30 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

From the Detroit News Archives: Swing dancers Leon James and Albert Minns performed at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit, in the 1950s. Both men were best known for dancing the Lindy Hop.

Social dance is not only connected to Michigan history. It is alive and well today. For instance, the Michigan Swing Dance Association hosts a swing dancing event every month in Bloomfield Hills.

Detroit even has its own unique forms of social dance. One form is the “Jit” which originated in Detroit in the 1970s by

three brothers known as the Jitterbugs. This New York Times

article from 2014 talks about organized Jit battles in Detroit

that continue to happen today.

As you look through the images:

What aspects of social dance do these photographs capture? What do they leave out? What images do you relate the most to? Which photos feel the most similar to or different from

how you dance today?



how does




Dance has inspired many great artists

who try to capture it in drawing,

painting, and photography.

For each image, ask yourself:

What do you notice in the image? How do you think the artist was inspired by dance? What

do you learn about dance from this image?


and think!

Look through the embedded slideshow, with images from the Detroit Institute of Arts, to see different ways that


s t a y p r e s e n t 32 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

how can

i write about


Artists and writers have been inspired by dance as long as dance has existed. We hope it inspires you to draw and write, too! Don’t worry if you’ve never written about dance before. You don’t need to use any technical terms.

Write a Postcard to a Friend

Do you think any of your friends or family members would have enjoyed the performance? Write them a postcard so they can hear all about it. Draw a picture of what you saw in the video or how it made you feel while you were watching the dancers. Write about your drawing.

s t a y p r e s e n t 32


Write a Letter to the Performers

Tell the performers what you thought about the concert. Start your letter with “Dear Caleb Teicher Dance Company” If you’re not sure what to write, try answering a couple of these questions:

how can i write

about dance?

We will deliver these letters to the performers if you mail them to:

UMS at University of Michigan Burton Memorial Tower 881 N University Avenue Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1011

or email them to umsyouth@umich.edu

Download a template for your letter here.

• What did you like most about the performance?

• What were you thinking about while watching the dance? • Did you have a favorite part of the dance?

• Was anything in the performance weird, new, or surprising?

• Do you have any questions about what it’s like being a dancer?


s t a y p r e s e n t 34

b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

Here are some options to get you started:

Share what it felt like for you personally to experience the performance. Use as many senses as you can to describe the

experience of watching the performance. Tell us about your emotions and what was going through your head as you watched. How does your background (like your experiences dancing or playing music) affect how you experienced the performance?

Compare the dance to something else you know about. Use similes and metaphors to show us how this comparison works (e.g. “The dancers moved softly towards each other and then away, like small waves on Lake Michigan.”)

Mimic the structure of the dance. Were the movements smooth, slow,

and drawn out? Try stretching out your sentences with extravagant adjectives or repeating soft and slippery “s” sounds. Were the movements….snappy? Chop. Cut. Break up your sentences. Use strong verbs.


how can i write

about dance?

Write a Creative Review of

the Performance

Imagine that you are writing a review about the performance for other high school students who didn’t see it. Your review should include the logistics (what happened and where) and your opinion (was the


how can

i find out


Are you interested in learning more about dance or the performers? There are lots of great resources online and in Southeast Michigan.

Online Resources:

Caleb Teicher & Company Nathan Bugh

Dorrance Dance

TED Talk: Planet Swing – The Real Harlem Globetrotters Swing Ann Arbor

DANCE Magazine UMS Learning Guides/ Dorrance Dance

Partner Institutions in Michigan:

Ann Arbor District Library University of Michigan Museum of Art

Detroit Institute of Arts

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History Detroit Historical Museum


b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s s t a y p r e s e n t 36 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

This School Day Performance was coordinated by the University Musical Society (UMS). UMS is a performing arts presenter, which means that they bring in music, dance, and theater groups that are touring to different cities across the world for Michigan residents to enjoy. UMS has been around since 1879!

Every year, UMS has 60-75 performances in many different venues in Ann Arbor and throughout southeast Michigan, and it also offers over 100 free educational activities for students and community members.

UMS has been recognized for its “lifetime of creative excellence” by the national government, receiving a National Medal of Arts in 2014.

Other School Day Performances in 2020-2021

Artists Include:

Jazz at Lincoln Center (Music)

Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (Dance)

Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández (Dance & Music)

Battersea Arts Center Beatbox Academy (Theater & Music)

who made this



This guide was written and researched by Rachel Cawkwell and Terri Park.

Matthew VanBesien

UMS President

Cayenne Harris

Vice President of Education and Community Engagement

Terri Park

Associate Director of Education

and Community Engagement

Christina Mozumdar

Education and Community Engagement Manager

Maddy Wildman

Education and Community Engagement Manager





who made this



b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

UMS Youth Education Program Supporters ($5,000 or more):

UMS is grateful to the following donors for establishing permanent

endowment funds or making annual contributions of $5,000 or more between July 1, 2019 and April 15, 2020 to support Youth Education Programs. Their generosity makes it possible for over 7,000 K-12 students and educators to connect with artists in creative learning experiences through the arts.

S TAY P R E S E N T 38



Akervall Technologies

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation Anonymous

Arts Midwest Touring Fund Elaine Bennett

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

William Davidson Foundation DTE Energy Foundation

David and Jo-Anna Featherman Stephen and Rosamund Forrest The Hearst Foundation

David and Phyllis Herzig Endowment Fund

Richard and Lillian Ives Endowment Fund

Matt and Nicole Lester Family The Mardi Gras Fund

Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs

Michigan Medicine

National Endowment for the Arts New England Foundation for the Arts PNC Foundation

Mary R. Romig-deYoung Music Appreciation Fund

Prudence and Amnon Rosenthal K-12 Education Endowment Fund

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System Richard and Norma Sarns

U-M Credit Union Arts Adventures Program

s t a y p r e s e n t 38 b a c k t o t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s



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