Team Cabaret is a program that nurtures young people's theatrical and musical skills while building self-esteem and self-confidence. Team Cabaret is extracurricular, but supports and enhances already-existing programs in the arts. Team Cabaret is a program that teaches performing arts skills, leadership, and teamwork by teaching students to choose song material, study interpretation, speak extemporaneously, and put an act together with others. Dedicated to providing instruction, opportunity, and recognition for young people, it uses the concept of cabaret-style performance as a tool for them to develop better confidence and self-awareness.
Not Just Another Performing Arts Program
It starts with the premise that everyone has something to say. Not everyone wants to get up and say it, but many do, and many others would if they knew that they had a good place in which to be heard. In Team Cabaret, there is an assumption up front that what everyone has to say is important to others. This can be summed up in the words of Martha Graham who said,
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost."
The 40 hours required to complete the core program can be arranged over a full year, or six months, or three months, or even as an intensive one-week program. Regardless of the length of the program, there are workshops on various topics including but not limited to song choice and preparation, understanding and communicating lyrics, the techniques of storytelling, delivery of monologues, image, vocal production, stage presence, stage fright, and stage etiquette. The workshops can be tailored to meet the needs of the students and the expertise of the facilitators. There are three parts to the program. The first is called Discovery, the second Active Discovery, and the third is the Performance. Participants go through acting exercises, discussions, and journal projects within a special environment that is carefully created to promote discovery through a sense of "safety," and to give support to participants. The culmination of the 40-hour program is a public performance.
This program was piloted at the Fullerton Union High School Academy of the Arts in 1998, with the original "team" being 29 students. Since then, the program has grown considerably. The leaders are professional performing artists who work side by side with faculty sponsors or community groups.
This project began in and is heavily influenced by the genre of cabaret. There are some important reasons for this. First, the world would probably be a better place if everyone had a safe place to express who they are and what is important to them. The art of cabaret encourages this. Second, cabaret-style delivery is" up close and personal." It is a delivery method that takes down "the walls" that separate the performers from the audience. And third, it is a place to share stories. When we listen to another's story, whether they speak it or tell it through a song, we cannot help comparing it to our own. Sometimes we find how we are similar, sometimes how we are different, but always we find our common humanity. This reminds us that we are not alone.
Why We Believe In The Success Of The Program
We believe that teens need to be encouraged to express themselves and be applauded for it. We also believe that the community at large is very supportive of this particular type of medium of expression. Combining these elements, Team Cabaret is an idea whose time has come.
In addition, Team Cabaret is offered at low-cost to schools, with a built-in means of advancing the priorities of the vocal and theatrical programs at the school, including opportunities for fundraising. The benefits of the program, as described above, include not only artistic development, but also the opportunity to develop values and skills that are of great benefit to the individual as well as the community at large. In addition, there are community programs for those who wish to participate when there is no TC program in their school.