Usually, these weeks leading up to the start of the Festival are some of the most anticipated of the season. Just as the fragrant tea olive starts to blossom on downtown streets, artists bound for Spoleto begin to arrive in Charleston and the city swells with a vibrant artistic energy. This year however, artists—like all of us—are staying home, navigating these unprecedented times with a little help from Netflix, Zoom, and their favorite home-bound activities. So what’s keeping the folks who inspire us so much inspired themselves? Read on this week to hear from tap dancer Caleb Teicher.
Since first dazzling Spoleto audiences in 2014 as an ensemble member of Dorrance Dance, choreographer Caleb Teicher has been steadily on the rise, garnering top accolades for work with his own company and on Broadway. He was set to return to Charleston this year, presenting his innovative and ebullient tap choreography in two works for Caleb Teicher & Company: Bzzzz and Variations. We checked in with Teicher to find out what’s on his daily to-do and to-read lists.
What are you binge-watching these days?
Well, I’m pretty bad at TV-watching. At night, I catch about 15 minutes of Star Trek: Voyager before falling asleep! I’ve been binge-reading mostly: Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, and Andrea Long Chu’s Females.
What tops your recent Spotify playlists?
Nina Simone is always there, particularly her Little Girl Blue album and At Town Hall. When I feel like a millennial, I’ll listen to Noname or Tierra Whack, and Tank & The Bangas.
What podcast are you into right now?
I have a tradition of listening to NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me while doing my laundry.
Any books on your bedside table?
Currently, two: Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown and The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Do you have quarantine buddies?
I live in Harlem, and my brother and his wife live in Brooklyn. I biked to see them last weekend, and it was my first interaction with a quarantine buddy after three weeks of isolation! It makes you really value the time you have with your loved ones.
What’s your quarantine schedule?
I wake up super early (6:30am or 7:00am) for no particular reason, but read my book for an hour, make some tea, and put on a record—yes, an actual record on an actual record player! I also attend to any administrative or artistic work as early as possible. Once I’ve done as much work as I can manage, I try to get some outside exercise; my new favorite activity is riding my bike through Central Park. Then in the afternoon or evenings, it’s a combination of piano practice, yoga, cooking, and catching up with friends on the phone.
How are you continuing your daily practice?
Well, I live on the fourth floor of a crowded apartment building in Harlem, so I can’t really tap dance at home. And as a swing dancer, I don’t have a partner to dance with. Instead of wallowing, though, I’ve been continuing my artistic practice in different ways. Reading, playing music, and staying in conversation with my collaborators remotely continues the personal development required to make meaningful art.
What are you most looking forward to when things get back to normal?
My favorite ways to spend time with people involve a lot of proximity—playing music, dancing, playing games outside, taking walks, or going on bike rides. I’m really grateful for the ability to stay in touch with all my loved ones over video calls, but I can’t wait to dance with them! Most specifically, social swing dancing. I’ve had so many dreams recently about going to a big dancehall, with hundreds of people swing dancing, and a big band playing music all night. On the other side of this, that’s where I’ll be!
Want more? Follow @SpoletoFestivalUSA on Instagram to see a special shout-out from Teicher, and be sure to follow his company @calebteicher for exclusive videos and updates about his ensemble. Visit calebteicher.net for more.
Photos at top by Em Watson