From the high school stage to center stage, MTV follows the stories of some of the most talented teenagers in the nation as they balance the enormous pressures of pursuing their dreams while navigating their way through the normal trials and tribulations of high school. Created by Nick Lachey and Colton Gramm, the show features students from Cincinnati's famed, School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA). These gifted students face difficult decisions in planning for their futures and because of their common bonds of artistic expression, form life long friendships along the way. In this intensely competitive world of performing arts, MTV viewers will meet dream seekers from all over -- a ballerina who dreams of dancing at the celebrated Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, to a gifted hip-hop dancer who's new to the school and chasing the dream of dancing in music videos to a student who dreams of one day performing on Broadway. Each student is following their dream, and the cameras will be there to capture everything that comes along in their pursuit of their goals: The ups and downs, the adulations and the tears, and that moment when they risk it all.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Taking the Stage - School for Creative and Performing Arts - Netflix
The School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) is a magnet arts school in Cincinnati in the US state of Ohio, and part of the Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS). SCPA was founded in 1973 as one of the first magnet schools in Cincinnati and became the first school in the country to combine a full range of arts studies with a complete college-preparatory academic program for elementary through high school students. Of the approximately 350 arts schools in the United States, SCPA is one of the oldest and has been cited as a model for both racial integration and for arts programs in over 100 cities. SCPA had three different homes in its first four years, including a makeshift campus in the Mount Adams neighborhood and another in Roselawn. In 1976, it occupied the Old Woodward High School building, on the site of one of the oldest public schools in the country. The school rose to national prominence in the 1980s, but was nearly closed in the 1990s following a series of scandals, leadership struggles, and an arson fire which destroyed the auditorium. Its reputation recovered in the years that followed and in 2009–10, the school was featured in the MTV reality series Taking the Stage, filmed at the school and featuring SCPA students. In 2010 SCPA combined with the Schiel Primary School for Arts Enrichment to create the first kindergarten through twelfth grade (about ages five to seventeen) arts school and first private sector/public arts school in the US. A new facility in Over-the-Rhine was championed by the late Cincinnati Pops Maestro Erich Kunzel and funded through a unique public-private partnership that raised over $31 million in private contributions to match public funding. The building features specialized facilities for the arts and three separate theaters and is the key to redevelopment plans for the area. Students must audition for admission; fewer than 20 percent of those who apply each year are accepted. SCPA is free to CPS students but also attracts tuition-paying students from outside the district and the state. The newly combined school will serve approximately 1,300 students in 2010, offering a curriculum designed to prepare students for professional careers in creative writing, dance, drama, music, technical theater, and visual art. The emphasis is on performance, and students in every field are required to perform or present their work in public regularly. Students compete successfully in arts competitions locally and internationally. On standardized tests, SCPA ranks second among Cincinnati public schools. Ninety percent of graduating seniors continue on to college, and those students receive one of the highest levels of scholarship funding in the city. A limited number of extracurricular activities are offered, as students are expected to commit significant after-school time to training and performance. SCPA has produced notable graduates in a wide range of artistic fields, including award-winning actors, singers, directors and technicians.
Taking the Stage - Old Woodward and national attention (1976–1990) - Netflix
SCPA's new home was in the heart of Pendleton district in Over-the-Rhine. One of the largest German-American neighborhoods in the United States in the 19th century and a famed entertainment district at that time, Over-the-Rhine had declined into an impoverished and crime-ridden enclave for migrant Appalachians in the 20th century. By 1970, a combination of white flight and the destruction of surrounding slums had transformed the area into Cincinnati's most infamous ghetto. It is one of the largest, most intact urban historic districts in the United States and the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati. The school, with its 650 students, moved into this historic but blighted neighborhood, and its Old Woodward School building at 1310 Sycamore Street. Woodward was one of the oldest public schools in the country, founded as the Woodward Free Grammar School in 1831; it was named for William Woodward, a local tanner who donated the land to provide, in his words, “facilities to educate the children of persons who could not afford the expense of private schooling”. The building was replaced once in 1855, and again in 1907 when President William Howard Taft, who graduated from Woodward in 1874, laid the cornerstone of the current building; it opened in 1910. The site is linked to the Underground Railroad, an informal network of secret routes and safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the United States; Levi Coffin (known as “The President of the Underground Railroad”) had a home there from 1856 to 1863. The five-story brick, stone, and terra cotta building is approximately 225,000 sq ft (20,900 m2). Designed by Gustav Brach, it was considered “an architectural gem” in its time, with some of the most modern facilities of its day, including flush toilets, central heating, and two swimming pools. It is graced with 12 rare Rookwood Pottery drinking fountains from the early 1900s, gifts of the Art League, founded in 1895, which raised dues from students who would then vote on works of art to buy for the school. The building is part of the Over-the-Rhine National Register Historic District, which encompasses 362.5 acres (146.7 ha) of the original German community and adjoins the Sycamore – 13th Street Historic District, which reflects the significant architecture associated with middle and late 19th century Greek Revival, Queen Anne, and Italianate styles.
Woodward High School moved to a new facility in Bond Hill in 1953, and the building became Abigail Cutter Junior High School (also known as Cutter), named for William Woodward's wife. SCPA occupied the fourth floor in 1976, and the entire building in 1977, displacing the Cutter students to other public schools. It graduated its first class in 1979, becoming the first elementary through grade twelve arts program in the country. The first so-called “survivors”, who began in fourth grade, graduated in 1982. SCPA continued to attract national attention, and as a local TV special reported, “educators from all over the country flock[ed] to Cincinnati to see how, and why, it works.” In 1981, SCPA was invited to perform The Wiz at the National Theatre in Washington, DC, the “Theatre of the Presidents” and oldest major touring house in the country, becoming the first non-professional group to perform there since it opened in 1835. SCPA student Roscoe (Rocky) Carroll won the 1981 National Endowment for the Arts Talent Search in drama and became a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. The school received the Blue Ribbon School of the United States Department of Education in 1984 and the National Secondary School Merit Award in 1985. By 1985, it had been credited as the model for arts schools in 100 cities in the US, Europe, and Asia, and had been cited in textbooks as a model of excellence in school integration. The school relied heavily on donations, which made up over ten percent of the total budget. The Friends of SCPA (commonly known as The Friends), a nonprofit organization led by parents and members of the business and arts communities, had been a vital source of funding since the school's inception. In 1984, The Friends raised over $400,000 to pay the salaries of the artistic director, technical director, costume designer, and dance, strings, and production teachers. In later years, The Friends raised up to $1 million each year through special events, corporate gifts and sponsorships, advertising sales, and other programs to support the artistic needs of the school including staff salaries, production expenses, scholarships for private lessons, and artists in residence.
Taking the Stage - References - Netflix