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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.

It's summertime, and here at The New Victory we're busy getting ready for our upcoming season. All summer long, we're offering fun Summer Field Guides for you to celebrate being a kid in New York. Get inspired by the activities below and start getting in the mood for the shows to come!

In this issue, we ring in the month of August—Family Fun Month—and celebrate Friendship Day on August 2nd.

August – Family Fun Month

It's hard to believe that June and July have already passed us by. In some parts of the country, school starts again in mid-August. Can you imagine? Here in New York, though, there's still one full month left of summer vacation—we call it Family Fun Month!

Island Vacation

Sure, four of the five boroughs are technically islands. But New York has some other great islands where you can have some family fun. First up, Coney Island (nowadays a peninsula).

Part amusement park, part boardwalk, part beach, it's easy to spend the whole day here—just be sure to pack enough sunscreen! You can also stop by the New York Aquarium at the eastern end of the boardwalk; or MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Keep track of all the things you spot on Coney Island with this BINGO card:

Coney Island Bingo Card, featuring the following squares: Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, The Parachute Jump, Palm tree, Tropical bathing suit, Curly straw, Musician, Dizzy rollercoaster rider, Popsicle cart, Outdoor shower, Rollerblader, Tandem bicycle, Nathan’s hot dog, Airplane banner or Skywriting, Kite, Volleyball net, Radio-controlled aircraft, Sleeping seagull, Fireworks, Mermaid (or merman), Melted ice cream, Lifeguard, Surfboard or Boogieboard, Floaties, Megaphone
Download a PDF
of this BINGO card to print at home
before you head out on your Coney Island adventure!

While you're visiting Coney Island, stop by the Coney Island Museum and check out exhibits from Coney Island's good ol' days: funhouse mirrors, 3D models and vintage circus artwork, sure to get you in the mood for the upcoming return of BELLO MANIA.

Complete your #IslandBingo card? Share it with us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater, or on Twitter @NewVictory, and win some New Vic swag!

Island Cycling

Get ready for the cranked up ingenuity of Cirque Mechanics’ PEDAL PUNK, and spend a summer weekend on wheels! You may have spotted a bike or two on Coney Island, but there are lots of places you and your family can safely cycle in the City. You can rent tandem bikes, beach cruisers, even pedal-driven surreys (fringe not guaranteed) at these outdoor destinations. 

Rockaway Park – Check out Wheel Fun Rentals at Jacob Riis Park for all manner of pedal-powered vehicles, including boats! They also have beach gear, if you’re more into sitting still in the sand.

Governor's Island – You can bring your own bike here on weekends via the East River Ferry or the Governor's Island Ferry, or you can rent from the Blazing Saddles near the ferry terminals. Either way, Governor's Island is a no-car zone, and it's small enough to easily to explore by bike. While you're there, keep an eye out for various art installations.

Roosevelt Island – Also free of cars, though not of busses, is Roosevelt Island, which sports amazing views of Manhattan, as well as its own peaceful parks and monuments. You can bring your bike on the aerial tramway; or you and your bike can take the F train to Roosevelt Island, then take the elevator to the surface. Starting in Queens, the Roosevelt Island Bridge has a bike lane, but the ramp may be a bit steep for little ones, and the narrow lane borders car traffic.

Bikes are photogenic, too. No matter where you decide to go, pull over for a group cycling selfie and share it with us, #FamilyFun!
 
Pedal Punk Icon Bello Mania Icon    Make the most out of summer while you can. Then head back to the island we call Manhattan for some family fun of the indoor variety—PEDAL PUNK in December and BELLO MANIA in April at The New Victory Theater!
 

August 2nd – Friendship Day

What makes a good friend? Friends listen without judgment, they make you feel like you can be yourself, and they lend a helping hand without you having to ask. HANDA'S SURPRISE, coming to the New Vic in February, tells the story of Handa, who has spent the day gathering various colorful fruits for her friend, Akeyo—a delicious surprise! In celebration of Friendship Day on August 2nd, here are some friendship-themed activities to share with your chums.

Bestie Bracelets

What better way to illustrate the importance of your friendship than by making a gift by hand? Friendship bracelets have a long history, and just like the pairings they represent, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Here are some ideas to get you started.
 
Braided Bracelet   Simple Braided Friendship Bracelet from The Red Kitchen Chevron Bracelet   Fast Chevron Friendship Bracelet from Hey Wanderer
Fishtail Bracelet   Fishtail Braid Friendship Bracelet from The Stripe Striped, Chevron and Diamond Bracelets   Stripe, Chevron and Diamond Friendship Bracelets from The Purl Bee

Have you made something for a friend before? Do you have a favorite gift that someone else made for you? Share it with us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater or on Twitter @NewVictory, #FriendshipDay!

Funny Friends

HANDA'S SURPRISE also features some rascally animals, who—ahem—rearrange the fruit in Handa’s basket. Many animals in nature work together like this, but there are also those who, like you and your friends, hang out together just because they enjoy each other’s company! Check out these animal pairings, and think about how these friends like to spend their summer vacations. 

'Anjana the Chimp and Tiger Cub', photo by Bary Bland A giraffe and a zebra, 'Best Friends', photo by Raja Sambasivan 'White Rhino and Friend' (a bird), photo by Arno Meintjes
 
When you have an idea for a caption, share it with us on Instagram (click the photo to open the Instaversion)!
 
Handa's Surprise Icon   Come see HANDA'S SURPRISE at the New Vic in February, and find out what happens when those sneaky animals meddle with Handa's basket of fruit. Don't forget to bring your friends along!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
July 30, 2015

Doing Our Victory Dance


By Mary Rose Lloyd, Director of Artistic Programming, and Olga Putilina, Artistic Programming Associate

Two young girls enjoying Victory DanceBringing high-quality artists to The New Victory Theater, as you might imagine, is a layered and varied process of seeking out interesting, viable companies who we know will spark the imaginations of our young audiences. Our search culminates in the performers hitting the stage, followed immediately by the palpable joy of kids connecting with live performing arts. This week we’re doing a triumphant jig of our own to celebrate the success of our second season of Victory Dance, a curated series of local dance that unfolds over three weeks in July. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the things about this year’s Victory Dance that inspire us to keep shimmying—and to start planning Victory Dance 2016!

Celebrating Local Dance in New York City

Over the past three weeks, we’ve introduced nine NYC-based dance companies to approximately 4,000 New York City kids, offering summer schools and day camps free daytime performances and access to world-class dance talent. Audience members got to experience the diversity of exceptional dance that thrives in their very own hometown, a diversity equal to that of the City itself. And for many of the young people who came to the theater (a number of whom danced their way out after each show), Victory Dance was their first exposure to live dance.

Nine Companies, Many Stories

In case you missed it, the nine companies that comprised this year’s Victory Dance series each presented unique viewpoints, transforming phrases of movement, visual compositions and interpretations of the world into bold, memorable dance. In programming each week of Victory Dance, we aimed to honor each company’s individuality while weaving a cohesive thread through the three groups in each week’s program.

In Program A, Darrah Carr Dance, ZviDance and Urban Bush Women homed in on history, folklore and tradition. Darrah Carr Dance’s traditional Irish step program led seamlessly, with intricate leg and footwork, into an excerpt from ZviDance’s Dabke, a contemporary take on traditional Middle Eastern line dancing. The Urban Bush Women 30th Anniversary Mash-Up connected history to the present day through a powerful compilation of strong, stylized movement and spoken word, referencing themes of struggle, resistance and joy through the visage of underserved and often overlooked communities.

Victory Dance A Talk-Back

The second week of Victory Dance, Program B, unfolded with the expressive dance and rapturous, ecstatic movement of the inimitable Martha Graham Dance Company, the fiery Noche Flamenca and the deeply resonant Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion. Martha Graham Dance Company’s Appalachian Spring Suite (excerpt) revisited 19th century American pioneers, presenting a couple celebrating their wedding day, while Spectre-1914 (excerpt from Chronicle), choreographed in 1936, evoked the chill of war. Noche Flamenca’s traditional flamenco costumes echoed the sensational dress worn in Spectre-1914 and foreshadowed the remarkable gown yet to come in Program C's The Calling, while their passion and emotion reverberated with contraction and release, the modern dance elements made famous by Martha Graham. Excerpts from Kyle Abraham’s The Gettin’ featured dancers in ‘50s-inspired costumes (more beautiful skirts!), while projections transported audience members to apartheid-era South Africa, ending with depictions of hope set to music from We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite.

Victory Dance B Talk-Back

Last but certainly not least, Program C featured Jessica Lang Dance, Max Pollak/RumbaTap, and Parsons Dance, all of whom presented unexpected and emotionally resonant pieces which playfully mixed forms, often with humorous, genre-defying results. Jessica Lang’s pieces explored the interaction between visual art and movement, and how each references the other. The spectacular dress seen in Jessica Lang Dance’s The Calling became inseparable from its choreography, while for the company’s other two pieces, Lang teamed up with Shinichi Maruyama, whose visual artistry became part of the architecture for the dance-on-film White and the excerpt from i.n.k.. Max Pollak’s pieces mixed body percussion, tap and a cappella vocals into a mesmerizing exploration of rhythm, improv, and audience participation. Ingenious lighting design and a well-developed sense of humor were central to the three pieces performed by Parsons Dance, turning The Envelope, Hand Dance, and Caught into theatrical magic. So much so, in fact, that asking the Caught dancer “How did you do it?!” became a recurring question during Talk-Backs after each performance.

Victory Dance C Talk-Back

Inspiring Talk-Backs

Speaking of Talk-Backs, all education and public performances of Victory Dance saw the choreographers and some of the dancers return to the stage after the final curtain. Audience members had the opportunity to pose any burning questions they might have had for the companies. The dancers offered insight into how they became dancers, their processes and practice regimens, their professional goals and personal inspirations; and the choreographers generously shared the ideas behind their creations, each as varied as the companies themselves.

Darrah Carr revealed that Dingle Diwali was inspired by the vocal rhythms of British-Indian singer Sheila Chandra, and the challenge of combining Irish dance with her Kathak vocalizations. Kyle Abraham spoke about how a 2012 trip to South Africa sparked the idea for creating The Gettin’. Martín Santangelo, the choreographer for Noche Flamenca, came across poems written by child refugees, which he translated and then adapted into flamenco songs to create the basis for Cambio de Tercio.

For Jessica Lang, the impossibly beautiful, strange dress in The Calling appeared to her in a vision, which she used as a springboard for creating those ingenious movements. David Parsons said, “I really enjoy light. Light is one of the most fabulous things in the universe... I’m constantly trying to do things with that imagery of light.” If you were fortunate enough to see Caught, you know exactly what he means.

Boy with microphone asks question during Talk-BackOne question was asked again and again. “How old were you when you started dancing?” The answers varied but, in many cases, they were the exact same age as the young people they were addressing—a coincidence that wasn’t lost on those asking the question. At each and every education performance, as the Talk-Back ended and the curtain came down one last time, the auditorium would erupt in a hurricane of waving hands and shouts of, “No! Don’t go!” There were so many more questions, so much that our young audience members still wanted to learn from the artists who had captivated them. For these inspired kids, if only one of them becomes a professional dancer, choreographer, designer or technician, wouldn’t that be a lovely result of this new series at The New Victory? We think so.
 
 
Mary Rose Lloyd   Mary Rose Lloyd is the Director of Artistic Programming at The New Victory Theater, curating each New Victory season as well as the Victory Dance summer series, and overseeing LabWorks, the New Victory's new work development program. A staff member since 1996, Mary spends much of her time traveling to see hundreds of shows each year and to attend conferences and festivals as a frequent speaker, panelist or juror. She has served on the Boards of Directors for both TYA/USA and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) and is the recipient of IPAY's Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award. She is passionate about books, family, friends and, most certainly, the performing arts.
   
Olga Putilina   Olga Putilina is the Artistic Programming Associate at The New Victory Theater, where she gets to live in the future by helping to plan the New Victory Season and upcoming seasons of Victory Dance. Olga holds an MSEd in Educational Theater from City College. She also once held a three-toed sloth, but that's entirely different.
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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