Nick Lachey conceptualized the series, Taking the Stage, and is one of the executive producers. He is also an alum of the school where the show takes place, Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts. “Taking the Stage” features 5 main characters – 4 of which are dancers and 1 who is a singer/songwriter and it will premiere on Thursday, March 19 at 10pm ET/PT on MTV.
► About the Show
In the heart of Cincinnati is a place where talented kids from all walks of l if e come to pursue their dreams. It is the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Gaining acceptance to SCPA and Taking the Stage here is an honor and talented dancers, musicians and actors have to audition to get into the school. Once they're there, students spend most of their waking hours honing their skills for a chance to prove they've got what it takes to make it.
Kids who attend SCPA go on to study arts at prestigious universities and pursue careers on Broadway, in Hollywood and all facets of the entertainment business. Among the performers who have attended SCPA are actress Sarah Jessica Parker (Sex and the City), actor/director Todd Luiso (High Fidelity, Love Liza), actor Rocky Carroll (NCIS) and singer Nick Lachey.
Right now, five students Taking the Stage at SCPA are on the cusp of greatness:
(Photos credit goes to Eric Johnson/MTV)
|Jasmine is a prima ballerina who dreams of dancing with the famed Alvin Ailey dance troupe. "I want to be one of the best professional dancers of my generation," she says. Jasmine hopes to attend New York performing arts conservatory Juilliard after graduating from SCPA. |
|Mia is a singer-songwriter whose talent is matched only by her drive. "My whole l if e I've had the same goal, to make music and get a record contract by the time that I'm 18," Mia says. "I know I have what it takes to make it happen."|
|Malik -- Jasmine's best friend -- leads the school's only hip-hop dance group, The Definition. "When I dance," he says, "people notice. I want to inspire." In addition to his formidable dance skills, he is also a talented choreographer and a singer/songwriter.|
Shaakira is a dancer and aspiring actress. "I want to be an all-around entertainer. I have really big dreams," she says. "I will do whatever it takes to be famous." Shaakira is an accomplished ballet dancer -- one of the best SCPA has ever produced -- but prefers hip-hop dance and is an integral member of Malik's team.
|And, finally, there's Tyler, a gifted hip-hop dancer. Along with his little brother, Chris (also a dancer), he's new to the School for Creative and Performing Arts, and he's about to shake things up. "Dancing is my world; it just comes out of me," he says. "I am hip-hop dance. Hip-hop dance is me."|
Despite being in one of the most creative environments a talented kid could ask for, there are obstacles standing in between them and their dreams of Taking the Stage. In some cases, it's a focus on discipline and perfecting the skills that could lead them to professional careers in the performing arts. Because they are so focused on their goals, a lot of "normal" things like dating or even just hanging out with friends are sacr if iced to make time for performances, rehearsals and hours upon hours of practice.
Still, these face the typical pitfalls of high school -- from the pressures of studying hard to making grades, to navigating the treacherous waters of attraction and young love and dealing with the same insecurities that every teenager faces -- that prove to be substantial stumbling blocks for many.
The question is, will Jasmine, Malik, Shaakira, Mia and Tyler give their all to chase their dreams? If they do, they'll be Taking the Stage with the confidence of knowing they are among the best at what they do.
► Taking the Stage Bios
An incredibly driven ballet dancer, Jasmine is the pride of the School for Creative and Performing Arts dance program. The envy of many other students, Jasmine balances rehearsals for school productions of "Cats" and "The Nutcracker" with her school curriculum. As if that wasn't enough, this SCPA senior is also somehow finding time to fit in extra dance classes as she prepares for an audition for Julliard. Jasmine hopes to attend the famed performing arts conservatory after she graduates from SCPA.
The new kid in school, Tyler shakes things up the minute he steps through the doors of Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts. An outstanding hip-hop dancer, Tyler's got something to prove to the other kids, most of whom have grown up in the SCPA halls. He knows he needs to focus on developing his talent into marketable professional assets if he wants to make it. He also needs to work hard to maintain his role model status in the eyes of his little brother Chris, who is enrolled at SCPA.
An incredibly driven singer/songwriter, Mia makes no excuses for her ambitions. Early in her life she set a goal of making music for a living and having a recording contract by the time she was 18 years old. Constantly writing and rehearsing, Mia also takes every opportunity to perform, playing her original material in local coffee shops and anywhere she'll be allowed onto the stage. At the School for Creative and Performing Arts, she leans on the guidance of jazz teacher Mr. Stuckey, who has become a mentor to Mia's obvious abundance of talent.
Shaakira is a skilled ballet dancer and a respected hip-hop dancer who also has a passion for acting. She is feeling the pressure in her senior year at the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Shaakira hopes to go to college and she views dance as her ticket out of Cincinnati. She hopes to win a dance scholarship, but will have to overcome her fears and self-doubt if she's ever going to make her dreams come true. Shaakira is also an integral part of Malik's hip-hop dance group, The Definition.
Malik's dream is to be a star on Broadway, and he's got enough moves, talent and drive that it will be a huge surprise to everyone who knows him if he doesn't eventually see that dream come true. A standout student, dancer, choreographer and a natural leader, Malik founded The Definition, the School of Creative and Performing Arts' only hip-hop dance group, an extracurricular activity that includes his good friends Jasmine and Shaakira.
A senior who is one of Tyler's closest friends, JJ is part of his pal's dance group, Black Rain. He is also a talented musician and singer who oozes style and charm. JJ's diverse talents include being a piano prodigy and roller-dancer. He teams up with his friend Mia to collaborate musically, and although their two styles are very different, they end up creating a cool mash-up.
An in-demand drummer at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, Aaron is a senior who has always been as equally passionate about music as he is about girls ... but sometimes he's distracted by both to the point that he struggles academically. A close friend of Mia and a frequent collaborator, he often invites her to jam with him and their friend Jesse.
Though he is only a junior, Matthew exudes a maturity which belies his age. Matthew often helps out with Malik's hip-hop group, The Definition. Matthew is a singer, but says he will be a music mogul one day. This self-assurance comes through in Matthew's friendships ... he is not afraid to speak his mind.
A senior who is friends with Mia and Aaron, Jesse is in love with music. Writing and performing are Jesse's life and he often gets together with Mia and Aaron to jam. Jesse is a very talented singer/songwriter, but sometimes his passion for music distracts him from attending school. Jesse will have to find the balance between music and school work if he's going to stay at SPCA.
A junior who is all about the drama, Aubrie is the school gossip and always knows everyone's business. A close friend of Mia, Aubrie is a talented actress who performs in all of the SCPA plays. She has great comedic timing and hopes to audition for Chicago's legendary Second City comedy troupe and one day end up as a player on "Saturday Night Live".