Stories

New Victory Arts Break: South America – Play

In Week 1: Discover, we traveled to South America and met Brenda Angiel in Argentina, where she showed us some art she has been dreaming up during the pandemic (and her local candy store!). In this week’s Arts Break, we will explore aerial arts inspired by Week 1 and Week 2 of our journey through South America and our deep dive into Brenda Angiel’s aerial dance company. This week, we will learn how to create aerial art in our homes, with our families and even in our New Victory Notebook!

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Arts Break South America Play

Bunnies on Bungees

Before we jump into our harnesses, let’s revisit Brenda Angiel’s work to watch some masterful movers fly on stage.

New Victory Teaching Artist Gyana Mella knows a lot about physical theater, and has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to performing aerial arts at home. Bring along a grown-up to spot you for safety, and follow along to see how we can move through our homes with the greatest of ease!

Let’s try to complete these aerial challenges!

The Stuffed Animal Show

Materials: Stuffed animal, rope or a piece of fabric

Let’s strap in safely to get started.

Step One: Take your stuffie and wrap your cord/string around their upper body and under their armpits like so:

Bunny Step One
Step Two: Make sure you tie a knot so that your stuffie is secure.

Bunny Step Two Tie a Knot

Step Three: Move your stuffed animal up and down. How high can you make them go?

Bunny Step Three

Bungee Flight

Repeat Steps One and Two from above

Step Three: Move your stuffie side to side as if they are flying around like a superhero. Try spinning your stuffie around in circles!
Bunny Step Four

Trapeze

Step One: Take your stuffie and wrap your string around their upper body, BUT this time make a circle under each armpit.

Step Two: Now, swing back and forth and up and down! Look at them go!

Bunny Swings Back and Forth

Fabric Time

Step One: Using your fabric to tie a knot around each of your stuffed animal’s feet.

Step Two: Swing them around! Flip! Swing, swing, swing all around!

Bunny Swing

Play some more with your stuffed animal with the following resources. What moves can your stuffies do that humans cannot?

Pull Your Weight

Grab an adult to spot you for these next challenges—and get ready to play with gravity in your own home.

Materials: Sheet that you can tie tightly, a door that opens and closes securely and (most importantly) a grown-up close by to keep you safe.

Before you get started, here is a safety checklist:

  • Do you have your grown-up spotter near you?
  • Is the area clear of obstacles?

When you’re safely ready, here’s what to do:

  • Make a good knot!
  • Throw your knot over the door.
  • Make sure to strength-test your fabric over the door.

Safety Check

Now you’re ready!

Step One: Loop each end of the fabric around your arm twice.

Strong grip

Step Two: With a firm grip on the fabric and an adult next to you, see if you can lean back and give some weight to the fabric.

Step Three: Now see if you can complete the following challenges:

“The Fall”

The Fall Position

“The Pull Up”

The Pull Up Position

“The Slide”

The Slide Position

Did Brenda’s videos make you want to learn more about aerial arts? Sign up to participate in a circus class or camp wherever you are—even at home!

Design a Defying Dancer

Sometimes, we can learn a lot about an art form by trying it on a smaller scale. Create your own paper dancer to practice mastering aerial arts!

Paper Dancer

Materials: Your New Victory Notebook, scissors, coloring utensils, cardboard

Supplies

Step One: First, cut out a square from the bottom of a page in your notebook (and keep the square you cut out!) Then, measure out a strip of cardboard to secure to the right side of the frame you just created. Tape that cardboard to the paper in three places.

Scissors

Cardboard Materials

Taped Cardboard

Step Two: Use your extra paper square to draw and cut out your aerial dancer. Get creative in designing your dancer! What pose are they in? What does their costume look like? What are they feeling when they perform?

Sketch of person

Step Three: Tape up your aerial dancer on both sides with a long piece of tape that secures them to the top of the cardboard strip. (You could also use string instead of tape to suspend your aerial dancer, if preferred).

Decorated person

Step Four: Rehearse your aerial moves! Try to challenge your paper aerial dancer creation to

  • Spin in a circle
  • Move to the beat of your favorite song
  • Can you find a way to make your aerial dancer spin?

BONUS: Create a dancing partner for your aerial dancer and put on a movement piece inspired by their work!


Thanks for playing along. Join us next week as we learn more about movement, and find ways to share art and joy in your community.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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