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.
November 18, 2016

Family Activity: Mother Africa—My Home

The performers of Circus der Sinne's Mother Africa: My Home all come from the Hakuna Matata School of Acrobatics. Learn more about the school here and then play with acrobatics, rhythm and foot juggling in this Family Activity. For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past Family Activities on our blog and at  

How To: Partner Acro

The cast of Mother Africa flips, twists and does amazing tricks in the air, but first you need to start with a strong base! Learn some basic partner acrobatics from New Victory Teaching Artist WT McRae in this video:

Rhythm Nation

Mother Africa: My Home isn't just acrobatics! There is also amazing music, dance and rhythm. All around the world people like to wear bells and objects that create sound on their wrists, ankles and waists. In Africa and the Amazon rainforest, some people wear anklets made of clacking seedpods. In this activity, make your own percussion anklet! 
Seedpod AnkletBell Anklet
Materials: Beads, jingle bells, pipe cleaners

Step One: Measure a pipe cleaner around your wrist or ankle. 

Step Two: Thread beads and bells through the pipe cleaner and connect the two ends together by twisting. Make jingle bracelets for both your ankles and wrists! 

Step Three: Once you're wearing your percussion jewelry, play these songs from Mother Africa: My Home and dance along to the beat.
  • Can you stick to the rhythm? 
  • Can you go low?
  • Can you go high?
  • Try to make an inventive dance move and teach it to your family!
Foot Juggling

Mother Africa: My Home features amazing acrobatics and contortion, but Circus der Sinne is also known for its incredible foot juggling! In this activity, learn the basic principles of foot juggling. 

Materials: Throw pillows, balloons, anything soft with a shape

Step One: Watch this clip from CNN's African Voices of a Circus der Sinne performer practicing her foot juggling. 

Step Two: Lie on your back and try to balance a pillow on one foot. Once it's balanced, try throwing it into the air with your foot.
  • Can you throw it to your other foot? 
  • How many times can you throw it in the air? 
  • Can you throw it to the foot of someone lying next to you? 
Step Four: Experiment with other things in your house. For example, try to a keep a balloon up in the air using only your feet.
  • How many seconds can you keep it aloft?
  • Can you throw it and catch it?
  • Can you pop it?
Step Five: Once you're done experimenting, it's time to create your act. Choose three tricks to perform in a sequence.

HINT: Start with the easiest and end with the most challenging. Don't forget to bow at the end (in the circus it's called a style!). 

Family Activities

We invite you to share a giggle, try some new moves and deepen your understanding of the performing arts with our Public Engagement Activites: TXT Marks the Spot, Talk-Backs and more!
Twitter   How did your percussion anklet turn out?
Share a photo of itwith us on Instagram or Twitter, #NewVicFamilyActivity.
Facebook   What did your audience think of your acrobatics and foot juggling?
Like us on Facebook and their responses!

Basic Partner Acrobatics video by Blake McCarty and Kyle Scott 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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