New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
February 11, 2016

Inside Untapped!

It's summertime in Australia right now, but the dancers and musicians of Untapped! have braved the chilly New York winter to bring their raucous rhythms to the New Victory stage. With a beatboxer, live music and five tap dancers, they have a lot of fun onstage—here's a sneak peek!

The show's director, Andrew Fee, performed on our stage when Untapped! came to the New Vic in 2011. This year, Andrew's co-choreographer, Jack Chambers, taps onstage as dance captain (in gold tap shoes, no less). Winner of season one of Australia's So You Think You Can Dance, Jack is something of a celebrity back home, and it's easy to see why. Now that he and his fellow dancers have settled in, we checked in with him to find out a little more about him, his role as co-choreographer and the show.

How did you become involved in Untapped!?
My involvement began way back in 2006, which is the year Untapped! was first created (it was titled something else at that time). I co-created the show with Andrew Fee and also performed in the original cast of five male tappers.

You and Andrew are co-choreographers. In what ways do you collaborate? 
We bounce ideas off of each other first and start a dialogue about what it is we want to achieve. The next step is sitting down with our music team and creating tracks for the show. Then we allocate sections for each other to choreograph, and some sections we do together.

What's your favorite part of developing a new number? 
My favorite part of developing a new number is the musical creation. I am a very musical person, so I am all about musicality, and making sure there are enough accents and intricacies to play with choreographically.
Untapped! ensemble
Jack Chambers is joined onstage by the Untapped! ensemble during their "Tribal Beats" number. From left to right: Sally Hare, Ginner Whitcombe, Jack Chambers, Kieran Heilbronn, Brianna Taylor.

What makes the Untapped! ensemble special?
The special thing about our ensemble is that we all have very different performance styles. We all blend really well together onstage, but remain individual in the way that we dance and perform. It's important to have diversity and light and shade through the show, not just in the choreography but within the cast and performances. 

What about Untapped! are you most proud of?
There are many reasons to be proud of this show, but one reason in particular, for me, is that the show has managed to be performed all over the world since 2006. It's truly satisfying to see audiences still loving this production. I am also proud of how the show has evolved over those years, with the changes of cast and the changes of choreography. 

What's been your favorite thing about performing at The New Victory?
Firstly, its a beautiful theater, with lovely staff and crew! And secondly, the audiences have been just wonderful. The kids and families that have come to see the show have truly made this experience memorable. 

What's your favorite place to go or thing to do in New York?
Central Park is my favorite spot in NYC. It's a wonderful place to get lost and take a break from the hustle and bustle of this spectacularly big, busy city! 

Why do you dance?
To put it simply, because I LOVE IT! I have done it my whole life. It's what comes naturally to me, and it makes me happy! 

Why should I see Untapped!?
Untapped! is a must-see because of its exciting, funny, rhythmical energy flown in all the way from Australia. We all have an absolute blast on stage, and it happens to be quite contagious!
  Untapped! is playing at the New Vic through February 21st. We hope to see you there! And if you happen to see Jack or any of his fellow dancers before the show, be sure to wish them "big chookas"—Aussie slang for "break a leg."
Posted by Zack Ramadan

The New Victory Theater launched the New Victory Usher Corps the day the theater opened to provide paid employment, job training, academic support, mentorship and an introduction to the performing arts for over 50 young New Yorkers each year. Since then, the program has provided over 400,000 hours of paid employment to over 500 NYC teens from across the city. Find out how the young people in your life can apply to be a part of this award-winning program!

All season long, we'll be featuring young people from our Usher Corps in our New Vic Bills and here on the New Victory Blog. Today we’re talking to third-year usher Julean DeJesus from Brooklyn.

Third-Year Usher Julean DeJesusWhat was your favorite story as a kid?
Growing up, my favorite show was Digimon, which led me to Pokémon when I got older. I always loved fantasy and any break from reality.

Who inspires you?
Pikachu. Honestly! Statistically speaking, Pikachu is one of the weakest Pokémon, but it strives to overcome every obstacle and never gives up. I hope to be even a fraction as determined and motivated to succeed as Pikachu is!

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is best described as an Otaku Fairy: whimsical, repetitive, obsessive and 100% comprised of fan merchandise.

What's your favorite song right now?
My favorite song is "One of the Boys" by Katy Perry. It has been for as long as I can remember. It speaks to my desire to avoid being labeled.

What's your favorite place to eat or grab food near the theater?
I like to walk down to Canal Street to buy fruit, but there are a few fruit stands on 30th Street that I enjoy as well. Being on a raw food diet limits my options. I used to have unhealthy obsession with Crumbs cupcakes!

What's your favorite thing to do when you're not at work?
I like to make things. Anything—cooking, sewing, crafting, gardening—if it produces something new, I enjoy doing it. It's especially fun to cook for others. I love having a friend over to cook for and watch movies.

What's your favorite NYC hangout or neighborhood?
My favorite place in the entire city is the Manhattan Bridge. I'll walk to Chinatown and buy a pound of cherries. Nothing beats a stroll across the bridge on a warm day while eating cherries.

What's the most challenging thing about being an usher?
Confidence. It's very hard to reassure myself that I am just doing my job when I need to enforce rules or give instructions to patrons. I don't want to seem pushy.

What would be your dream vacation?
I am not a big fan of travel. I don't need to go far, nor to a specific place. I just dream of venturing into nature, hiding out deep in the forest. But for now the concrete jungle should suffice.

Each of our Third-Year Ushers gets to spend 40 hours working on a special project—a Third-Year focus—in the department of their choice at The New 42nd Street. Since we interviewed Julean in October, he has decided to spend his Third-Year focus working in our Education Department with the Public Engagement team, helping to brainstorm and build pre-show activities. If you see him before a show, let him know what you think!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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