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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.

Every summer, The New Victory Theater celebrates our #LoveofDance with Victory Dance, an exploration of movement, art and learning. New York City-based choreographers come together to perform for the public as well as for New York City summer camps, schools and youth programs.

Get to know the companies of Program B before they perform on July 27 and August 3. 
 

Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice. 

Preeti Vasudevan's Thresh is a performing arts collaborative founded in 2004 by choreographer Preeti Vasudevan. The company specializes in Bharatanatyam, the classical dance-theater of South India. In developing a contemporary movement language, Thresh explores a dialogue between traditional Indian dance and Western storytelling in a globalized, modern society. Thresh seeks to encourage a cross-cultural exchange of dance forms through their performances and arts education initiatives. 
 
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE is a Brooklyn-based dance company founded by artistic director Ronald K. Brown in 1985. EVIDENCE works to integrate traditional African dance with contemporary choreography. Their mission is to expand the African American dance community by using music, movement and spoken word as a storytelling vehicle to express history and tradition.
 
Heidi Latsky Dance (HLD) is a modern dance company founded in 2001 by artistic director Heidi Latsky. HLD seeks to redefine notions of beauty and virtuosity by using performers with unique attributes to bring provocative, passionate dance to diverse audiences. The company openly advocates for disability rights. HLD partners with social service and humanitarian organizations, like the United Nations and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities.
 
Program B Preeti Vasudevan's Thresh, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Heidi Latsky Dance
Photos: Pavlos Mavridis, Ayodele Casel, Yi-Chun Wu  
 
 
Ruthie Ostrow Ruthie Ostrow is a junior studying arts administration and journalism at Baruch College. She is a director, stage manager and children's arts teacher, and is now enjoying her time as a communications apprentice with The New Victory Theater. The only thing that mirrors Ruthie's #LoveOfTheater is her enthusiasm for a good crafting project.
 
Posted by Beth Henderson

Every summer, The New Victory Theater celebrates our #LoveofDance with Victory Dance, an exploration of movement, art and learning. New York City-based choreographers come together to perform for the public as well as for New York City summer camps, schools and youth programs. 

Get to know the companies of Program A before they perform on July 13 and 20. 

Contributed by Caroline Dowden, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice. 

Founded 30 years ago, ​Doug Varone and Dancers is known for the emotional range, kinetic breadth and diversity of genres present in its work. The company connect​s​ with audiences beyond the proscenium arch​ through its summer intensive workshops​ and​ multi-disciplin​e​ residency programs ​that highlight the company's concepts, imagery and techniques. One of the​​ most respected dance companies working today, ​its​ legacy encompasses dance, theatre, opera and even film. 

Buglisi Dance Theatre (BDT) was founded by artistic director Jacqulyn Buglisi with three other members of the Martha Graham Dance Company. Their impressive repetoire is influenced by everything from literature to history to heroic archetypes. BDT has created over 100 original works and performed with companies as varied as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Richmond Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Ice Theatre of New York.
 
Bill Shannon has a unique approach to creating art. Since he was diagnosed with Perthes disease as a boy, Shannon has used crutches every day of his life. Despite his disability, his love of hip-hop and skateboarding continued to grow, inspiring him to create his own style of performance art, dance and mobility. For over ten years, Shannon has toured his unique and inspiring work around the world. 
 
Decadancetheatre wants to change the way audiences think of hip-hop. The company has helped develop New York City hip hop culture with performances, workshops and creative commissions. Decadancetheatre is led by artistic director Jennifer Weber, and it features artists from countries around the world such as France, Germany, Norway, Japan and Nigeria.
 
Program A Doug Varone and Dancers, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Bill Shannon and Decadancetheatre
Photos: Erin Baiano, Darial Sneed, Jim Carmody

 
Caroline Dowden Caroline Dowden is a rising senior at American University where she is working towards a degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communication. Caroline has always been passionate about the theater arts, and she is thrilled to be working as a Communications Apprentice this summer. Previously, Caroline has interned at The American Alliance for Theatre and Education and Ford's Theatre Society, both in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, she worked at Sharing the Arts, a nonprofit program for children with developmental disabilities, where she taught weekly vocal classes. In her free time, Caroline enjoys cooking, running and traveling.
Posted by Beth Henderson

Every summer, The New Victory Theater celebrates the best dance the city has to offer. Victory Dance is always exciting and inspiring, but this summer's program stands out in two ways—a change in venue (from The New Victory Theater to The Duke on 42nd Street) and a familiar face onstage. Jerron Herman, once a New Vic Education Apprentice, has since made a name for himself as a professional dancer with Cerebral Palsy. Thrilled to welcome him back with Heidi Latsky Dance, we sat down with him to explore both his journey from Apprentice to dancer and what it means to dance with a disability.
 

Jerron HermanHow did you first start dancing with Heidi Latsky? 
I was an Education Apprentice at The New Victory in 2011 while working on an intensive with Teaching Artist and choreographer Sean Curran. There, I was introduced to dance at large and Heidi Latsky Dance in particular. Sean brokered my audition with Heidi's company following a short solo performance I gave as one of his students in the intensive at the end of the week.
 
What words of advice would you give someone trying to follow in your footsteps?
The most important piece of advice I can give is to be generous, whether that's in deed or intention. At the New Vic, I positioned myself to simply be helpful. Being at the ready was the main reason I was in Sean's intensive to begin with!
 
Did you meet any resistance on your path to becoming a professional dancer?
Because I grew up with a disability, Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy, my identity as a dancer emerged late. I had a rough time thinking of dance as a career, as opposed to a side hobby. I was also studying to be a writer at college, and felt pressured from well-meaning folks to find financial stability first. Ultimately, I just had no precedent for a dance career and nothing to look to as a guide for success. I was saved, though, by my perennial curiosity that helped me think outside of the box to convey to everyone why I dance. Then there were also invaluable supporters—like my family and dance company—who devoted their energy to breaking down any resistance alongside me.
 
What draws you to dance?
I started out as a writer, but I've always wanted to perform. In life, I try to respond to obstacles with determination or creativity—I can't cut my waffles with a knife and fork simultaneously? I'll cut them with a pizza roller! So, when dance said that who I was is enough, that my body already had the necessary creativity in it to succeed in the industry, I was hooked. For the first time, I wasn't inserting myself into a meritocracy, but embracing a God-given ability.  Dance is a playground. Our bodies are playgrounds. I love the idea that if we have nothing else—no lights, stage, funding or audience—we still have ourselves and by harnessing our bodies we can relay our presence.

Jerron HermanHow does it feel to return to the New Vic?
It feels surreal to return to the New Vic as a performer. What really excites me about this organization is that it feels like I'm returning to a culture of artistic breadth. You feel immersed in everything from the artistic programming to the colors on the wall. I'm with Heidi Latsky Dance because I was first with the New Vic and learned how to notice truly fertile atmospheres for creativity. Now, I get to perform and activate that atmosphere for New Yorkers. It's a surreal, full circle moment for me.
 
How has Cerebral Palsy shaped your life and shaped your path as a dancer?
I perceived CP as an alien for most of my life. I didn't know its language and it weighed on me. I did many things in spite of my disability. Now, as a dancer, CP is a color I use to express myself. I'm learning through experience how CP best works for me. I still let it have its way if I'm spasming in the middle of rehearsal, or if I'm making tiny adjustments when I'm called to be still. There are moments that I'm disabled and feel it, but across those moments I'm ultimately an artist solving a problem, versus a person in need of intervention. I used to facilitate my body's organization with braces and physical therapy and now I organize my body with dance. My job and my "therapy" overlap until it all melts down to play. I'm in bliss that I am already suited for what I do.
 
What kind of music inspires you?
I've always been a jazz fan because it's the soundtrack to New York City. I'm also very interested in the use of classical arias and opera in juxtaposition with more modern music and rap. I represent a fusion and to create with music that does the same is important to me. The placement of an aria suddenly becomes political. When placed against my moving body it relays this idea that my disability is as culturally classical as the song—that it is meant to be moving.
 
As a New Yorker and an artist, what does Victory Dance mean to you?
Being a part of Victory Dance means I am a New Yorker and an artist—two identities a disabled black boy from the Bay Area cannot get enough of. Being in this season with a new piece painstakingly and lovingly created by Heidi Latsky Dance means that our work is both accessible and celebrated. HLD has been a New York City dance company since 2001, and Victory Dance is an introduction to future dancers, donors and theater-goers in New York. I'm grateful the New Vic saw fit to include a work that is very New York and very much dance, victorious.

Learn more about Jerron and take a look at the New 42nd Street's studios in this piece from Great Big Story!

 

Photos: Daniel Kim, Andria May-Corsini
Posted by Beth Henderson

Temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and ice cream trucks are ringing. That can only mean one thing—summer is here! For the next three months, keep checking the blog to find 2017-18 Season-themed Summer Field Guides to get the whole family exploring in the warm weather. 

Here at The New Victory, everyone is eagerly looking forward to our upcoming season. This year, two of our shows, The Young King and Seedfolks, will transport you to a regal kingdom and a vibrant urban community.
 
Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

The Young King 

In The Young King, a boy raised in the countryside suddenly discovers that he is the heir to the throne. The whole world is a stage in this production, with kids exploring the New Vic's transformed theater space, brought to life with stagecraft, puppetry and live music. To get into the royal spirit, imagine what it would be like to be a king or queen for the day!

Well, every king or queen needs a crown! All you need to show off your royal bling is some construction paper, crayons or markers, scissors and a stapler. Cut a piece of construction paper "the long way" to make two strips of paper. 
  1. Draw a zig-zag line across each strip and cut along the peaks.
  2. Decorate the band with crayons, markers and paper shapes. You can draw anything from jewels to bugs to pictures of your kingdom. 
  3. Staple the band in a ring to fit the head of your new king or queen!
Now that you have your crown ready, it's time to visit some castles!  Believe it or not, there are a couple of castles sitting amongst skyscrapers in New York. 

Belvedere Castle
This castle sits in the heart of Central Park. "Bella vedere" means "beautiful view" in Italian—fitting, because it gives the best view of the park and neighboring cityscape! Belvedere Castle isn't just famous for its good looks, the National Weather Service takes measurements from atop the tallest tower to report New York City weather each day.

Belvedere Castle
The Met Cloisters
Beautiful art, lavish gardens and breathtaking architecture makes this one special museum. On Saturday afternoons, the Cloisters host Family Workshops with programs on medieval stories, knights and—yes, kings and queens. The museum itself? Total #castlevibes. 

The Met Cloisters
 
The Park Avenue Armory
Two words: Battle. Castle. This castle started its life as a home for the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard in the 19th century. Now, it's an innovative arts space that hosts theater performances and visual art shows. Stop by for a guided tour and bask in its architectural glory.

Park Avenue Armory

Jefferson Market Library
This isn't your average branch of the New York Public Library. Though it was originally built as a courthouse, its Victorian Gothic style is a bugle call for royal citizens. Curl up inside one of its many reading rooms with a copy of your favorite fairy tale—or maybe even Oscar Wilde's The Young King in his House of Pomegranates anthology.

Jefferson Market Library

Connie Gretz Secret Garden
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden in Staten Island has its own castle. Its picturesque white walls mark the start of a journey into a tall hedge maze that is a perfect puzzle for kids to explore their taste for adventure. At the end of the maze lies a secret garden, based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett children's novel of the same name. 

Connie Gretz Secret Garden
 
Contributed by Caroline Dowden, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

Seedfolks

Based on the award-winning book by Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks is an inspiring one-woman show that tells the story of Kim, a lively, young girl, who brings together her Gibb Street neighborhood from Ana, a crotchety old Romanian woman, to Gonzalo, a feisty Latino teenager, when she grows a garden in an empty lot near her home in Cleveland.
Flower Planter
In this Summer Field Guide, put your gardening skills to the test with your family. All you need to plant your own garden is a window planter, soil, flowers (or other herbs or plants) and small, waterproof toys. Are you ready to let your creativity flourish? Well, nothing beets this fun-loving activity!
  1. Fill the window planter with soil. 
  2. Position the plants to create hiding places for your toys to play.
  3. Create a pathway with things like rocks, seashells or buttons among the elements of your garden.
  4. Introduce your toys and create a story for each of them as they explore their new home! These stories can be as unique as possible. Perhaps each character has their own story like the ones in Seedfolks
Don't have a garden of your own or want to do some more outdoor adventuring? No problem. Below are a few of New York's most flourishing places where you can visit for a fun-filled day.
 
Jefferson Market Garden
When you visit the Jefferson Market Castle, stop by the garden! This garden offers fun-loving community events for children, such as history and garden tours, free musical programs and bloom guides about different flowers during all four seasons. The tree-filled garden, located Greenwich Village, is where you're sure to find a few blooming flowers and shrubs like the Spireas and the Foxgloves. The garden's guides are great if you want to learn more about different types of flowers for each season. 

Jefferson Market Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Here, kids of all ages can explore different habitats, uncover plant mysteries and experience garden wildlife at hands-on exhibits with Brooklyn's Discovery Garden. The garden provides a wide range of conservatories like the unique Shakespeare Garden and the iconic Japanese Garden. Depending on the season you visit, you can explore popular collections like the Aquatic House, Orchid Collection and the Cranford Rose Garden. 

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Liz Christy Community Garden
Come take a look at New York's first community garden (est. 1974)! Located on the northeast corner of Bowery and Houston Streets in Manhattan, the Liz Christy Community Garden is filled with wildflower habitat, vegetable gardens and much more. The garden is divided into individual areas that are cared for by their talented staff. If you want to gain experience in gardening, this is great place to volunteer during open hours. In fact, if you volunteer in the garden for 20 hours, you're eligible for a free membership!

Liz Christy Community Garden
 
The Gardens at St. Luke
These beautiful gardens sit next to the Church of Saint Luke's on Hudson Street. The gardens provide over two-thirds of an acre of Native American flora and rare hybrids. The space is perfect for long walks with family and friends. The gardens are comprised of different areas such as the Barrow Street Garden and the North Garden. If you need a peaceful place to gather your thoughts and enjoy the outdoors, you have come to the perfect spot. 

The Gardens at St. Luke
 
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, this National Historic Landmark is the largest garden in the United States. The NYBG contains a variety of gardens and collections that are spread over 250 acres. Scientists at the gardens are always finding ways to develop their plant research and conservation. Not only do the gardens grow plants—they grow programs, creativity and students who experience hands-on activities. Kids' programs include gardening lessons, science camps and outdoor adventures! 
 
New York Botanical Gardens
 
 

 
The Young KingSeedfolks Interested in joining us next season? Learn more about The Young King and Seedfolks here!
Posted by Beth Henderson