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.


Kids participating in one of the New Vic's educational workshops.
A classroom participates in one of the New Vic's educational workshops.
Our 2015–16 season here at The New Victory Theater has drawn to a close and we're turning our attention to this summer's Victory Dance and the bevy of shows we'll be offering up next season. The beginning of summer doesn't just signify the end of our season, however. Right about now, New York City's school kids are eagerly anticipating the three months of freedom waiting for them during the summer. Hold on just a moment before putting on your sunscreen and swimming goggles and take a trip down memory lane with us.

Our New Vic Education Department just collected some feedback from the fantastic teachers who brought their students to one (or more!) of our shows this season. They asked the teachers both why they bring their students to the New Vic and what moments stood out for them (or their kids!) in particular:

Why do you bring your students to The New Victory Theater?

• The students experience the freedom to express themselves. 
• You are very organized, from the staff to the ushers to everyone else involved. Thanks a lot. It is always an awesome experience!
• I want my students to see beautiful art in motion!
• Being able to talk to the cast and crew and learn about the process of putting on and developing a show is invaluable. 
• What could be better?
• Your shows are always some of the best, most memorable experiences our kids have all year!
• They have a chance to see live shows!
• They may never get to experience theater without our class trips to the New Vic!
• Our students are always ready to learn because of the workshops! Thank you!
• It makes it possible to see live theater!
• The kids need entertainment and exposure :)
• The sign language interpreters at every performance. Thank you for providing them! We love you!
• We love the fantastic workshops, they take the shows to a new level. Our students feel as though they are part of a special group.
• I couldn't ask for a better venue for my special needs students!
• You provide an experience very few of our students would have had otherwise. 
• My students LOVE the New Vic. The shows are awesome, kid appropriate, and professionally done. Keep up the great work. You are touching lives!

  A girl looks onto one of our shows this season.

What was your favorite New Vic moment of the year?

• Hearing my 1st grader say "This was the best day ever!"
• It was a great first year. Our workshops and performances were amazing!
• Bello! We are performing a school circus after seeing Bello. The workshop was also amazing!
• ANY teacher workshop.
• Seeing my students really enjoy opportunities to express themselves and try new things. Every week they become greater reflections of themselves. 
• My kids' mouths hitting the floor when Bello was on the basket.
• Being mesmerized by the great dancing in Untapped.
• Hearing how much my students loved Museum of Memories and experiencing post dramatic FOMO.
• We loved Untapped, it really rocked. Fly was also brilliant. We love it all!
• My kids jaws dropping when they saw Pedal Punk :)
• Fly was so fly! We all loved it! Beautiful show!
• Watching my kids engage in drama about war, Fly!
• The pre and post workshops were amazing and my students were engaged and enthralled :)

At the end of this season we want to thank you, our incredible audience. Without your enthusiasm and #LoveofTheater none of this would be possible. We look forward to seeing you over the summer months for Victory Dance and all throughout our 2016-17 season. 
Curious about learning more about Education Partnerships and The New Victory Theater? Make sure to check out all that we have to offer here for next season!

Posted by Beth Henderson

Summer ReadingWith the start of summer just around the corner, kids are going to be school-free for nearly three whole months. This may lead to beaches, sand, and sun tans, but it may also lead to what those in education call the summer slide. This means that some of the strides your kiddos made in the past year might disappear due to lack of academic challenges. So how do you fight this dastardly detractor? Reading! Research shows that these three habits can turn any summer into a mind-enriching season. 

1.  Six to Success: Challenge your kid to read at least six books over the course of the summer. It evens out to only two per month!
2.  Daily Reading: Make a ritual out of reading. Whether it's a daily newspaper article or chapters of a book, make sure your kids practice every day. 
3.  Reading Aloud: Turn reading into a family activity by reading out loud as a group. This gives you some valuable family time, while allowing your kids to practice their public speaking skills.


Captain Cook!
Captain Cook, one of Mr. Popper's Penguins! Photo: Helen Murray.

Many of the shows gracing The New Victory's stage next season have been translated directly from page to stage (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Mr. Popper's Penguins, Elephant & Piggie's We are in a Play, The Way Back Home, Oh Boy!Grug and the Rainbow). If your kids are looking for a bit of reading inspiration, check them out of your local library before visiting the New Vic! Unsure of where your local library is? You can find one nearby here.

Have your kids already explored The Nautilus or met all of Mr. Popper's penguins? Don't let them stop there! Our friends over at Scholastic have created an engaging way to incentivize your young readers over the summer. Called the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, it's designed to help kids acheive the summer leap instead of suffering the summer slide. This year, their theme is becoming a more confident independent reader by transforming into "A Reading Superhero." The best part of all of this? It's free! Start your kids on the Summer Reading Challenge here

To give you a quick preview of Scholastic's challenge, a few of the books they recommend are listed below by age:

Ages 0-2
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney & Anita Jerman
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle

Ages 3-5
Frog on a Log? by Kes Gray & Jim Field
Green is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors by Roseanne Greenfield Thong & John Parra
Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio & Christian Robinson

Ages 6-7
8: An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper
Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert & Sam Ricks
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Ages 8-10
The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Lloyd
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack

Ages 11-13
Kalahari by Jessica Khoury
George by Alex Gino
Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

The 2016-17 Season! What other books would you recommend for kids this summer? Make sure to leave them in the comments!

Posted by Beth Henderson

As we continue with our theme of summer slide prevention, we wanted to open up Scholastic's list of suggested summer reading with a few more titles. Specifically, books that focus on LGBT characters. Navigating the world as a growing kid can be difficult, especially if they feel different from their peers.

The following books were chosen both to show LGBT kids that they are not alone and to educate their peers on what it means to be them! With June being LGBT Pride Month, this is the perfect time to use this list to start a conversation with your family about gender, sexuality and diversity! 

Ages 3+
What Makes A Baby
Not everyone can have a baby the same way! This is a simple and clear primer that families can be different.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
A blue crayon that’s mistaken for red, the funny, insightful and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way.

Mister Seahorse
When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse's belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets other underwater fathers caring for their babies.

Ages 4-7
Normal Norman
What is "normal?" That's the question an eager young scientist, narrating her very first book, hopes to answer. Unfortunately, her exceedingly "normal" subject—an orangutan named Norman—turns out to be exceptionally strange. 

Ages 5+
A Princess of Great Daring
When Jamie is ready to tell her friends that she’s really a girl inside, she gathers her courage by becoming a princess of great daring in a game she plays with her friends.

Love is in the Hair
Carter's up in the middle of the night, too excited to sleep: her baby sister is being born! She asks her Uncle Marcus to tell her stories about the beautiful things in his dreadlocks so she can relax and rest.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress 
Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom's dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair. The other children don't understand — dresses, they say, are for girls...

Ages 7+
Steven Universe (The Comics)
Steven and the Gems live in Beach City, where they repeatedly protect the citizens from magical, otherwordly happenings.

Ages 8+
A tender, ongoing comic series about a group of friends at Scout Camp who go on various magical adventures and discover their true selves.

Ages 10+
That One Kid Who Freaked Out, or Whatever
Seventeen-year-old Nicandro Stellan Colby is doing his best not to completely freak out, despite the fact that his parents named him after a romance novel zombie, he has no clue what to do after his fast-approaching high school graduation from middle-of-nowhere Wilmurth, Texas, and, oh yeah, he just accidentally asked out the boy of his dreams over the school intercom. 

Katie Diamond Katie Diamond is the Marketing & Design Associate at The New Victory Theater, where she gets to zoom in 800% on really intricate drawings and photos. When she's not at the New Vic, she can be found drawing pictures of various cephalopods. 

Posted by Beth Henderson
Written by Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University.

I was in grad school assisting Andrei Serban in France and we were doing Massenet’s opera Thaïs. It was the premiere and at the end of the first act there was this pause. Someone from the top ring stood up and screamed down to the stage "Mettre en scène au toilette" which [roughly] means "The direction is in the toilet!" When it was over I went backstage and the French stage manager said, "I'm so sorry. That was so embarrassing." And I said "It’s great! I wish we could be like this in America."

It’s a terrifying thing to really take audience participation that far, but it's something that excites me. If they want to quietly watch, that's fine. However, if they want to stand up, cheer, boo or talk, they should be able to. An audience should be free to have any organic response. I often think of my experience with kids as an example. 

Once, I had a small company out of grad school and we were performing a melodramatic version of Frankenstein. One of the collaborators, Alfred Preisser, used to run The Classical Theater of Harlem and was a teacher at The Harlem School for the Arts. So, on Halloween, we were invited to do the show in the lobby of the school.

There were about 500 kids in this atrium—it wasn't even a theater. The kids went wild. My collaborator Randy and I were there and we were just amazed that the kids were screaming at the monster, "Don't do it! Run! Run!" When the villagers in the play tried to burn the monster and all the kids were screaming, I was amazed as an impressionable young director. It was so alive. The kids were so unedited; they were just talking to actors from the get-go. To me it was the most incredible, pure theatrical interaction. 

Then, the next day, Alfred came down to the theater. "Boy did I get my hand slapped for that experience," he said. "We were trying to teach the kids in the school to be well behaved in the theater. You are quiet, you pay attention, you do not talk to the performers."

I often think about this because I want audiences to have passion. I want them to care about their theater as much as they care about their sports—like when you go to a sporting event and the people scream, "The referee is wrong! Play better!" The kind of passion for a team that comes from those fans is invigorating. They care about it, they know it, they're in on it. What is the etiquette we're teaching kids about the theater?

Of course I get it—it's not always appropriate to go to the theater and scream and hoot and holler. However, I think sometimes we say, "I do theater and here are the rules." I think there is room for all different kinds of theater. I'm not saying all theater should be loud, noisy, interactive or on your feet. But I'm always trying to say don't assume theater is just 'this,' that these are the rules. Keep looking at theater as a broader definition or how can you expand that definition of theater. 

It's such an important thing to turn kids on to theater in the right way.

Editor's Note: This post first appeared as two separate posts on our blog during our 2011-12 Season. It has been edited for clarity.

Diane Paulus is the Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, and was selected for the 2014 TIME 100, TIME Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Paulus is the 2013 recipient of the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical (Pippin). A.R.T.: Waitress (currently on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theater), Crossing (a new American opera with music and libretto by Matt Aucoin), Finding Neverland (currently on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre), Witness Uganda, Pippin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Prometheus Bound, Death and the Powers: The Robots’ Opera, Best of Both Worlds, Johnny Baseball, The Donkey Show. Her other recent work includes Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna, currently on tour in Europe, Invisible Thread at Second Stage, The Public Theater’s Tony Award-winning revival of HAIR on Broadway and London’s West End. As an opera director, her credits include The Magic Flute, the complete Monteverdi cycle, and the trio of Mozart-Da Ponte operas, among others. Diane is Professor of the Practice of Theater in Harvard University’s English Department. She was selected as one of Variety’s “Trailblazing Women in Entertainment for 2014” and Boston Magazine’s "50 Thought Leaders of 2014."
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Mr. Popper finds himself a father to twelve penguins! Photo: Helen Murray

When you think of Father's Day, you might just wonder would  Dad will prefer a striped or polka dot tie this year. However, as times have changed, the traditional family has changed as well and ties may not be the thing to buy. This holiday isn't as cut and dried as it once was. With Father's Day this Sunday, let's take the time to really appreciate the ever evolving definition of 'fatherhood.' Whether families have one dad, two dads, adopted dads, or anything under the sun, their role deserves to be celebrated. 

Let's take a look (with minimal spoilers) at a few of our upcoming shows and the way they celebrate what makes a dad, a dad.

Celebrating Sacrifice
In Mr. Popper's Penguins, Mr. Popper comes into possession of one penguin, then two, and then TWELVE! What does he do in response? He rises to the occasion and raises the penguins as his own. While most fathers out there aren't raising penguins, it's safe to say that Mr. Popper is an outstanding caregiver. 

Many fathers out there have unexpectedly come into kids. Or, even if the kid(s) were expected, the responsibilities of fatherhood catches them off guard. Like Mr. Popper, they step up to the challenge admirably, sometimes even sacrificing their own health and wealth to ensure that their charges (be they penguin or human) are cared for and safe. Mr. Popper's displays the love that binds families together and the lengths that all parents will go to to protect their kids, even if it means letting them go when that time comes. 


Chotto Desh
A man and his father are at odds. Photo: Richard Haughton
Celebrating Culture
Chotto Desh, or Small Homeland, is an intimate portrayal of a young man's journey from childhood to adulthood in Bangladesh. In it, he struggles with the conflict between his own modern desire to be a professional dancer and his father's traditional values. 

The father has a deep attachment to his cultural past, while his son, who dreams of the stage, wants to find his place in the modern world. In families, there is often a disconnect between one generation and another. Many kids, like the boy in Chotto Desh, have an urge to fly, to be free, to be their own person, and it's tempting for parents to try to tame this urge. So, let's celebrate the fathers who succeed in bringing their rich cultural history to the table while respecting their kids' desire to strike off on their own.  


Oh Boy!
Balthasar unexpectedly becomes the guardian of his two half brothers. Photo: Christophe Raynaud De Lage
Celebrating Responsibility
In Oh Boy! Balthasar's life that of any typical 26-year-old, gay, young man—without a care in the world. But one day, his life is turned upside down when he discovers that he has two young half brothers for whom he is now solely responsible. Oh Boy! tells the story of Balthasar's coming to terms with his new responsibilities and stepping into the role of father figure. 

The world is a crazy place where the unexpected should always be expected. Even as a young adult, you look around and wonder "Where's the more adult-y adult to help me?" But what happens when that older, more responsible person isn't there? It could be time to buck up and get the job done yourself. Oh Boy! celebrates the transformation from a wholly unprepared young man to responsible adult. Wanting the two young boys to stay together, Balthasar builds a new family in the face of society's preconceived notions of what a 'normal' family should be. Let's hear it for those fathers who define and defend their own families when times are hard.


Nivelli's War
The mysterious Mr. H helps Ernst on a quest home. Photo: Carrie Davenport
Celebrating Wisdom
In Nivelli's War, Ernst never knew his father, he only has a photo and a few short memories. That is, until Mr. H steps into his life with a trick or two up his sleeve, and helps him on his quest to return home after WWII. On their journey, Mr. H teaches Ernst valuable life lessons and gives him a future to look forward to. 

In times of war, many young men are left without fathers or adult guidance. Mr. H knows this and saves Ernst from a lonely existence at great personal cost to himself. As in Mr. Popper's Penguins and Oh Boy! their father and son relationship was not born, it was made through mutual respect, love, and admiration. Many thanks to the father figures who give kids wisdom and perspective in times of uncertainty. 

The 2016-17 Season! Want to learn more about the rest of our season? Make sure to check out what's in store here!

Posted by Beth Henderson
Tags: 2016-17
Written by Alexis Buatti-Ramos, Design & Media Manager

In my initial blog post, Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Kids, we discussed the basic skills you need to take better family photos. Now, here are seven tips and tricks for photographing your kid on the go with an iPhone. I'm using my colleagues here at The New Victory Theater as my subjects, so please use your imagination and pretend they're 5-, 7- and 8-year-olds! Get those iPhones out, and let's get started!

1. Change your EXPOSURE.

Exposure is the amount of lightness or darkness present in a photo. While you may not be in control of whether or not your kid sticks their tongue out, you are in control of how much the image is exposed. The camera will try its best to expose properly, but it may not work 100% of the time. If your subject seems too bright or too dark, go ahead and tap on the main focus of your photo (i.e. your kid's face) and drag up to brighten up that cute face or drag down if it appears too bright. 
It's hard to see our Digital Engagement Coordinator, Beth, sticking her tongue out in the first shot, but by lightening the exposure it becomes much clearer!

2. LOVE your photos.

Nine times out of ten, you'll want to share your winning shots with everyone you run into for months to come. With all the photos we take everyday, it's easy for those favorites to get lost in the shuffle. Be sure to toggle the heart icon on the ones you want to have accessible at a moment's notice. Once you select the heart those photos will be dropped into your "Favorites" album.

3. BURST into your happy dance!

No more missing THE shot. With "burst mode" on iPhone, you can capture movement like never before. Instead of just tapping the shutter, click and hold the shutter button (or either of the physical volume buttons) to shoot continuously. This gives you the option to either find one or two perfect shots and delete the rest or keep all of the photos! This technique works best for kids diving into pools, jumping around, riding a bike or for any moment when they're going from point A to point B.
I wanted to shoot our Public Relations Associate, Christopher, jumping for joy, so I captured it by using a burst! It was easy to select my favorite out of the many photos taken at once.

4. Let's do the TIME-LAPSE again!
Swipe to Time-Lapse (instead of the standard Photo setting) and watch your kid's antics come together in a fantastic little flip-book of sorts. Time-lapse videos have a different look from regular videos because they're created from a series of still images. They're great for capturing activities that have clear beginnings and endings, or that take a while to complete, like showing off new dance moves, building with Legos or eating breakfast. 

 The Time-Lapse setting perfectly shows our Education Department Coordinator, Val, drawing a picture!


5. Get LOW.
In my last post, I wrote about playing the angles. A little tip when using the iPhone for those in-the-grass shots is to flip the phone upside down so the camera lens is closer to the ground. You'll get a totally different look!
Get LowGet Low
In the first photo here, I took a shot of our Education Program Manager, Carolyn, from a normal angle. Try changing it up the way I did in the second photo by shooting your subject from a low angle with your phone upside-down!
6. EDIT without help.

iPhone has made its editing system more powerful and even more user-friendly. Once you've snapped your photo, choose the "Edit" button on the top right and then the dial. This'll give you so many options that you can edit your photos as you see fit. Each main header (Light, Color, Black and White) has a drop down menu for more fine-grained options! Afraid of making changes? Make sure to duplicate your image before starting. Also, if you decide nothing beats the original, there's now a "revert" button so you can stick with the image you initially captured.
I first duplicated my image so I have the original intact! Then I edited this photo of Allison, our Director of Public Relations, to black and white.
7. Photograph LIVE.

If you have the iPhone 6s, you have one additional fancy feature—"Live Photo." The symbol for toggling Live Photos looks like a sun flare within the 'Photo' setting. With Live Photo selected, your phone will take 1.5 seconds of audio and video before and after you take a photo. Now, along with your photo you have a 3-second video of that moment as well!

Alexis Buatti-Ramos Alexis Buatti-Ramos is the Design & Media Manager for The New 42nd Street. For the past eight years, she’s worked as the Graphic Designer and Photographer for the New Victory Theater. Her photography has been featured in The New York Times, TYA Today and can be seen around the city in advertisements for the New Vic! Alexis’ passion for portrait photography stemmed from her time working with young people at the New Vic, capturing families playing, learning and discovering together at workshops and special events. You can see more of her work on Facebook.
Posted by Beth Henderson

Every summer, The New Victory Theater celebrates our #LoveofDance with Victory Dance, an explosion 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. Later on this month, we’ll take a look at the exciting details of our Victory Dance educational program. But first, we’re highlighting each and every talented company coming to grace the New Vic stage this summer! 

Kicking off this series are the companies performing in Program A.
doug elkins choreography, etc.

Who Are They?
Founded in 2006 by Doug Elkins, their mission is “to make dances that are simultaneously complex and decipherable.” Elkins began his career touring the globe as a b-boy with breakdance groups like Magnificent Force! Doug Elkins is a two-time New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award winner and a 2012 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Creative Arts Fellow.
doug elkins choreography
Photo: Christopher Dussan
What Will You See? 
If you were expecting a pure b-boy style from Elkins, you’re in for a surprise! Their piece, Hapless Bizarre, is comprised of a company of six dancers, actors and clowns coming together to explore the sharp intersections between physical comedy, choreography, flirtation and romance.
Big Dance Theater

Who Are They?
A Brooklyn-based dance company, Big Dance Theater “is known for its inspired use of dance, music, text and visual design.” Their work in multi-dimensional dance started in 1991 and has been running under the artistic leadership of Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar. They have interpreted literary geniuses such as Twain, Tanizaki, Wellman, Euripides and Flaubert through the theatricality of dance. In 2002 and 2010, Big Dance Theater received New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards. Big Dance earned an Obie in 2000 and the first ever Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award in 2007.
Big Dance Theater
Photo: Liz Lynch
What Will You See?
Big Dance Theater will be presenting both Short Ride Out (3) and Resplendent Shimmering Topaz Waterfall, a piece based on a page from Costume En Face, notations of work by Tatsumi Hijikata transcribed by his disciples.

When Did Big Dance Theater’s Co-Artistic Director Annie-B Parson’s #LoveofDance Start?
"My #LoveOfDance began when I was little and my father would take me to see the ballet whenever it came to town. Because he was a fan, we would go every night so we could see the entire repertory. Our seats were always at the top of the opera house; it was even a little scary to get to them because it was so steep.  We sat so high up, that I thought the dancers were little pieces in a kaleidoscope. It was a long time before I realized they were people, and not shapes and colors."
David Neumann / Advanced Beginner Group

Who Are They?
David Neumann/advanced beginner group believes in making engrossing dances from nothing while highlighting the world’s contradictory nature. Two-time New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award-winners, they layer many disciplines to create complex, humorous works. Fascinated with the question of "how to make a dance" Neumann strives to create distinct pieces while letting the audience watch with a sense of freedom and discovery. 
advanced beginner group
Photo: Susan Cook
What Will You See?
Tough the Tough (Redux Steve) premiered as a group piece in 2006 at Danspace Project in NYC. It’s been adapted into a solo performance accompanied by Bunraku style puppetry. 

New Victory Thumb Interested in inspiring a #LoveofDance in your family? Make sure to check out Victory Dance this summer!
Posted by Beth Henderson
Written by Erica Reinsch, Education and Programs Manager


Victory Dance
Erica Reinsch and Penelope McCourty teach kids dance moves from the pieces they've seen!
Victory Dance introduces kids to contemporary dance in NYC:

When I was a kid, my aunts bought me a subscription to the local contemporary dance series in my hometown of Colorado Springs. Before that, I had seen the occasional holiday performance of The Nutcracker. I loved it, but seeing contemporary and modern dance made me fall in love with the art form and inspired me to take my first dance class! Seeing such a diversity of movement and forms made dance seem like something I could be a part of - but unfortunately, I was always one of the very few kids in that audience. To give more kids a chance to experience contemporary dance, Victory Dance has 3 performances each week exclusively for kids at New York City summer schools and camps. Each week of Victory Dance introduces these kids to a diverse cross-section of contemporary dance. Many of the kids who attend with their school or camp, will get to see all three programs of Victory Dance! This means they will see nine (9!) different dance companies in just a 3-week span. Hopefully those kids will walk away from Victory Dance with not only a broader understanding of dance, but also a feeling of belonging within the community of dance in New York City. 


Victory DanceVictory Dance
Kids learning dance moves and asking questions at Victory Dance!
Victory Dance gives kids a chance to immediately react to each piece:

At each day-time performance of Victory Dance, there are two hosts (New Vic Teaching Artist Penelope McCourty and an Education staff member). These hosts introduce each dance piece and give kids specific prompts about what to look for while watching. However, the real fun in being a Victory Dance host is asking questions about what the students just saw and getting real-time reactions! We've heard everything from "I think that dance was telling the story of someone who is very sorrowful" to "the costumes in that piece make me want to design costumes for the dances I do with my friends" to "What did I even just see?! Was that dancer flying?!" The kids also get a chance to learn a few dance moves from their seat - everything from vogueing to tap rhythms to ballet positions. At the end of each performance, the choreographers join us on stage for a talk back and the kids get to perform the dance moves they learned for some of New York City's top choreographers (who have never failed to be wowed by the performance). 

Victory Dance inspires kids to create:

In addition to seeing some of New York City's top dance companies on stage, the kids who attend Victory Dance get to experience the joy of dance in their classrooms with New Victory teaching artists. Every camp and school that attends Victory Dance is eligible for free pre and post show workshops. New Victory teaching artists facilitate an exploration of movement inspired by the dances seen on the New Vic stage and lead students to act as dancers and choreographers to create their own dance pieces. 


Victory Dance
The choreographers take part in a talk back with the kids!
Victory Dance gives NYC's top dance companies the gift of performing for the smartest audience, kids:

The dance companies of Victory Dance have never failed to be astonished and delighted by the kid’s reactions to their performances. Whether it's a laugh at a moment they've never gotten a laugh before, the energy of an audience of kids clapping along to the music or a kid with a highly sophisticated interpretation of a choreographer's intentions - the dance companies of Victory Dance leave the New Vic knowing what we've always known - kids are the smartest and most honest audience in New York City!

Erica Reinsch Erica Reinsch is the Education Programs Manager at The New Victory Theater where she manages the Education Partnership Program, providing over 30,000 students from 160+ New York City schools access to live performances and classroom workshops each year.  Erica is also a Supporting Artist and consultant for CO/LAB Theatre Group, an organization that provides arts opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. In addition to Erica's work in arts education, she has performed for young audiences in productions at Adventure Theatre and Imagination Stage in Washington, DC and the New Plays for Young Audiences Series at New York University. Erica holds a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from New York University.
Posted by Beth Henderson