We recently sat down with Fall 2017 Cycle choreographer Caleb Teicher, to discuss his process and the ideas he’s bringing with him to BDL. Read a transcript of that conversation below.
BDL: Can you tell us a little bit about your performing career and how you began choreographing?
CT: I’ve hopped around quite a bit as a performer, but the majority of my work has been in rhythm and music-based dance companies. I was a founding member of DorranceDance in 2011 and danced with the company throughout the beginning of 2017. I’ve also danced with The Chase Brock Experience, The Bang Group, Syncopated City Dance Company, Sally Silvers & Dancers, and numerous other choreographers in a concert dance setting. I’ve performed in a few musicals, most notably the International Tour of West Side Story and the Encores! production of Irma La Douce.
I started as a tap dancer at the age of 10, and within the first six months of taking class, I had already choreographed my first a cappella solo. I think I’ve always had an interest and compulsion towards composition. I’ve been very fortunate over the past few years to have more opportunity to exercise this creative habit.
BDL: What are three words you would use to describe your choreographic style?
CT: Musical, quick, and social.
BDL: What is your favorite part of the artistic process?
CT: Every process is so different! Sometimes, it’s becoming deeply familiar with a musical composition or recording (the joy of dancing and choreographing to good music is like nothing else). Often, it’s my collaborators — I really love working with intelligent and creative dancers who, beyond executing with precision and grace, bring their own personality and perspective to the work. For me, the moments where I’m in a studio, problem-solving with dancers about the greater intent of a piece, is where the beauty can be found. I don’t like cleaning dances — I’m grateful to often have someone else who will help me do that.
BDL: Did you bring any specific goals with you for your time with BDL? Are there any definite projects you wanted to work on or are you just experimenting?
CT: I had a number of goals for my time with BDL. I had some questions I wanted to ask myself about working with this particular group of dancers. I’m often working with my own dance company, so my dancers are hand-picked by me for the particular work being created. At BDL, I was gifted with remarkable dancers, but they’re almost all new faces to me. I wanted to see where my technique, aesthetic, and dance traditions would meet halfway with their perspective and experience. I also wanted to return to physical narrative and pattern-making as a storytelling device. There’s quite a bit of abstraction in my company’s work, but I went much more literal with my BDL work.
The biggest takeaway from the week was probably re-imagining “The Portland Fancy” from Gene Kelly and Judy Garland’s Summer Stock. That’s been a pipe dream of mine for a long time, and I’m hoping someone will let me choreograph the first stage production of this beautiful musical. Anyone listening?
BDL: What has this week taught you?
CT: This week confirmed a lot of things I already know; I love creating dance work, I’d like to do it more, and doing so with the intent to build character, develop storylines, and contribute to a greater narrative vision are all things that suit my creative style. I’ve learned (as I do almost every time I make a piece) to enjoy the slow crawl of creation, skip things that aren’t working and return to them later, and to make sure the room is always filled with warm and generous individuals. It makes the work better.