From left: Dana Tai Soon Burgess, Eva Meier and Kelsea Johnson
Kelsea Johnson and Eva Meier, the current members of Youth Program FABUM and the organization's first interns, met with acclaimed choreographer-'dance-maker', artist, and US cultural envoy Dana Tai Soon Burgess today to discuss careers in the arts.

Both talented young ladies are students at Washington, DC's School Without Walls, a unique high school in the nation's capital that is internationally-focused, and gives gifted young people the opportunity to engage in a wide range of special programs, with an emphasis on Advanced Placement classes and encouragement to be community leaders.

Kelsea and Eva spoke with Dana about pre-collegiate and post-collegiate planning, and had questions about access into the world of educated and trained artists who want to make a difference in the world. Both want to continue their artistic focus, but have very individualistic approaches. Kelsea, who is interested in performance art, theatre and film, is also planning to study politics. Eva, who captains the dance team at School Without Walls, intends on pursuing dance but is also interested in psychology. Today's encounter shed light on the intersection of art and work towards community good.

Burgess, a world-renowned choreographer and a US State Department cultural envoy - recently named a "national dance treasure" by Pulitzer Prize winner Sarah Kaufman - will be featured for the second time at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in 2013. He was being honored later that evening by The Arts Club of Washington as part of their "Evenings With Extraordinary Artists". Burgess has and continues to tour extensively throughout the world with his company DTSB&Co., through which he explores issues of identity, cultural archetypes, and human connectedness. He was thrilled to speak and engage with the two current FABUM Associates, both of whom are ambitious young women in their senior year at School Without Walls, and in the midst of applying to universities.

Part of FABUM's youth program is connecting young adults interested and already involved in the arts with individuals who have established, arts-related careers.

Canaan Rubin is a veteran writer, producer and director of television and new media. After a fifteen-year tenure with Entertainment Tonight, Rubin has worked with the biggest names in Hollywood. As creator of successful programming such as MTV's international hit show Duets, he has established himself in the entertainment industry as someone who is consistently relied upon by network executives and top producers to bring stories to life creatively on camera and deliver unique content. He currently executive produces the fashion series Trends for Zappos Couture.

Part of FABUM's internship program is to expose young people to diverse and accomplished individuals in the arts community. While spending some time back in Washington, DC (where he's originally from) this week, Rubin and Artistic Director Jameson Freeman met with our current FABUM Associates, Kelsea Johnson and Eva Meier.

Kelsea Johnson:  On Wednesday, Eva and I had the opportunity to meet Canaan Rubin. Canaan has worked his way up in the production industry, beginning as a student at American University. He is noted for his work with MTV and other notable companies such as VH1 and CBS. Rubin was able to offer wonderful advice on pursuing a career in the arts industry while in college. He told us of his decision to leave the small town of Ithaca, New York for Washington, DC. This transition ultimately got him the internship that landed him in California. It was a pleasure meeting Canaan. He’s an inspiring example of a self-driven individual who achieved success in his field.

Eve Meier:  This past week I had the honor of meeting Jameson Freeman’s friend and colleague, Canaan Rubin. Mr. Freeman describes Rubin as “self-made” in his line of work, something we all know to be a triumph in the arts world. After graduating from American University in 1994, he was immediately swept up by Entertainment Tonight, stationed in Los Angeles, working to promote the company against its competitors like Access Hollywood and Extra After numerous years and many promotions, Rubin left ET for the world of reality TV, creating and directing shows like Duets. Sitting at a Starbucks downtown, my coworker, Kelsea and I had the pleasure of meeting Rubin. Through the LA glamour, it was clear that he has been passionate about his work from the start. We discussed his work in LA and what it has been like to work with such an array of people. I am not in the slightest surprised that Rubin has made it to the position he is in today, simply because it was so apparent about how much he loves what he does, and how much drive he still has to do it.