Photo by Em Watson

Buzz is nothing new for Caleb Teicher, whose tap-inspired exuberance and joyful, energetic choreography has landed the artist and their eponymous dance company in the media spotlight a good bit, especially for such a relatively young troupe (founded in 2015). Their work has been featured on NPR, in the New York Times, in Vogue, and other outlets. But, performing Bzzzz at Spoleto will indeed be new for the New York-based dancer — a Spoleto debut for the company, and one of their first times back in front of a live audience since, you know, COVID. Bzzzz-worthy indeed. 

“It’s the first time to bring my company to Spoleto, but I actually performed here in 2014 with Dorrance Dance — I was like 24 or something,” Teicher said. “I thought the festival’s energy was so unique and lovely. I love the idea that Charleston gets transformed into this oasis of the arts for a couple of weeks. After I formed my own company, this was on my bucket list.” 

To get to bring the whole company (eight dancers) back together to do a big work feels monumental and thrilling to Teicher. “I would be excited to have eight people in my house right now!” they laughed. “I think dance speaks so palpably, especially now. It’s such a physical art form, and we all miss being with other people in a physical space after this past year.”

Bzzzz is a lively ensemble tap dance work in collaboration with world-champion beatboxer Chris Celiz, so expect some noise, energy, and unfettered glee. The program also includes a jazz-inspired duet titled “Meet Ella,” featuring music by Ella Fitzgerald. 

Collaboration is a hallmark of Teicher’s art, and not surprisingly for an artist with roots in tap, music drives the work. They moved to New York City at age 17, but not with the idea of starting a company or even dancing full time. “I came for a gap year before college, and 11 years later, I’m still in that gap year,” Teicher quipped. 

While a member of Dorrance Dance, Teicher dabbled in choreography on their own. “I loved dancing for other people, but I was always making work on my own. It was part of my creative habit.” After realizing they had enough work of their own, Teicher branched out and formalized the company. “It definitely happened a lot earlier than I imagined it might,” they said. 

This past year has obviously presented its challenges for Teicher; isolation and no work takes a toll on a performer.

“But dancers and artists are not ‘woe is me’ kind of people,” they said. “That’s why we can stand to be artists. Even without a pandemic, it’s a very difficult life, but it is worth it. It’s meaningful.

“Now that the world is opening back up, I’m just hoping artistically we can bring people together and talk about our feelings, and for me, that comes through performance.” 

Caleb Teicher & Company
May 28–June 2. 8:30 p.m. 
Rivers Green at College of Charleston
$55