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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.

The performers of Machine de Cirque are building a contraption to communicate with the outside world, but their wacky stunts and daring tricks distract them from the task. Get your tickets to see this quirky crew of daredevils here!

In this Family Activity, you and your family will build a simple machine before the show, practice some contact juggling on your way and deepen your understanding through a post-show game and discussion. 
 

At Home
Machine de Cirque combines circus and technology. The five performers work together to make a machine that works, while adding in a good amount of fun. In this activity, create your very own machine.
 

Materials: Six or seven popsicle sticks (depending on size), seven rubber bands, one spoon, one small item

Step One: Gather your materials. Then, bundle four to five popsicle sticks together with a rubber band on either end.

Step Two: Use a rubber band to tie two more popsicle sticks together on one end only. You should be able to separate them on the opposite end. Place your bundle of four or five inbetween the two popsicle sticks.

Step Three: Secure these two pieces together with two rubber bands crisscrossed in the center.

Step Four: Attach a spoon to the top popsicle stick, above the center crisscross rubber band. Attach the spoon with two more rubber bands. 

Step Five: You now have a catapult! Place an object into the spoon, press down and RELEASE.

Step Six: What are some other items you can catapult? Try a marshmallow, a tiny rolled up paper ball, a bean or anything small enough to fit into the spoon.

Bonus: Challenge your family!
  • Can someone catch the small catapulted item?
  • Can you aim your object into a bucket, cup or trash can?
  • Can you play a game of catapult catch with a partner and their own machine?

On Your Way
The folks of Machine de Cirque are also skilled jugglers. One form of juggling that they practice is contact juggling, or manipulating an object while it's in contact with their bodies. In this activity, explore ways you can practice the skill of contact juggling on your way to the theater!

Materials: A paper rolled up into a ball that fits into the palm of your hand

Step One: Make your paper ball.

Step Two: Place your paper ball between your hands, with your palms facing down. Then, try to catch the paper ball as you flip your hands (your palms should now face up). See how many times you can do this in a row. Ask your family and friends to give it a try.
 

Step Three: How can you level this up? Toss it to your feet? Try it with one hand? We tried tossing the ball from our elbow and catching it.
 

BONUS: You will see the performers of Machine de Cirque do contact juggling with hats. Are you wearing a hat today? Try it out!
 
Hat Juggling

After the Show
Once you've seen Machine de Cirque, answer these questions and try this activity inspired by the show:
  • Machine de Cirque centers around technology. If you made a circus, what acts would you include?
  • Which chores would you like to be easier? What kind of machine would you make to help with these tasks?
  • What would you do if all technology and machines disappeared? Think of  how you get ready in the morning and how you travel to work or school. How would your routine change?
The performers of Machine de Cirque create games and challenges with anything they can find. In this activity, create your very own game with things you can find in your home. 




Materials: Small objects that can act as game pieces, one piece of paper, something to write with

Step One: Create your board, making sure there is a start and an end. Create different shapes for games spaces that create a path from the start to the finish.

Step Two: Each player selects a small item to use as their game piece.

Step Three: Brainstorm challenges you can write in each board game space. Here is a list of some of our favorites, but don’t forget to create your own.
  • Contact juggle a cookie with your face!
  • Blow a cup to the finish line.
  • Stack pennies on your elbow to make the tallest tower!
  • Draw off—who can draw the machine from Machine de Cirque first?
HINT: Think of challenges where someone has to finish first.

The person who successfully completes the mini challenge moves forward. The first person to get to the end wins the game. 

And Beyond
Here are some ways to continue your Machine De Cirque journey out in the world.
 
Machine de Cirque Thumb Making mayhem of their scrap metal set with a live percussive soundscape, this quirky crew of daredevils sure knows how to manufacture endless comedic madness. Get your tickets to Machine de Cirque today!
 
Posted by Beth Henderson

Discover your dance aesthetic, explore different rhythms and make up your own dance moves in this Family Activity for Victory Dance! For each show in the season, we post a new Family Activity. You can find all of our past posts on our blog and at Pinterest.com/NewVictory.

Your I-Dance-Ity

Every dancer has a style, or aesthetic—something unique about the way they dance that makes them special. In this activity, discover your dancer identity and design a fantasy dance costume to match!

Materials: Dance costume worksheet

Step One: There are many, many, many kinds of dances. From tap to flamenco and from kathak to ballet, humans from all over the world have found different ways to move their bodies throughout history. Watch the videos below to see some of the dance styles coming to The New Victory Theater this summer:


Step Two: Now it is your turn to choose your favorite dance style! Try out some dance moves that you saw in the videos, or think about the style of dance you like best. Ask yourself: 
  • Do you like to move your feet quickly?
  • Do you like to move with grace and poise?
  • Do you like to boogie?
  • Do you like to dance with other people or as a soloist?
  • Do you like to dance with props?
Once you have discovered your favorite dance style, it's time to give it a name. Decide on an adjective that personalizes your dance move, and then the dance style that inspires you. Are you a Boogying Ballerina? A Funky Tapper? Fill it in on your dance costume worksheet.

Step Three: Take a look at some of the costumes from Victory Dance.

Victory Dance Costumes

With your dance style in mind, design your costume on this worksheet. Think about what you will be most comfortable in, what fits your dance style and, most importantly, what represents you as a dancer.

Groove is in the Heart

Music makes you move, and if you can move, you can dance! Our Victory Dance companies dance to a variety of musical styles, spoken word poems and unconventional sounds. In this activity, see how different sounds influence the way you move. 

Step One: Before dancing, take a minute to stretch, change into comfortable clothes and find a place in your home where there is room to move around. To warm up, try the following:
  • Roll your shoulders backwards and forwards.
  • Stretch your arms all the way up towards the ceiling.
  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet touching each other. That's butterfly position. Now, try to smell your toes. Pee-yew!
  • Lift your shoulders up towards your ears.
  • Bend over and stretch your arms towards your toes. Can you touch your toes? Your shins? Your knees?
Stretch!

Step Two: Now it's time to find the rhythm. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, put on a playlist and try to bounce to the beat of each song. Once you get into the groove, try the next song and see how fast you can find the rhythm with your body.

Step Three: You found the rhythm by bouncing—now, put on your favorite song and find the beat with different parts of your body. Can you find the rhythm...
  • In your shoulders?
  • In your hips?
  • In your feet?
  • In your neck?
  • In your fingers?
  • In your chin?
  • In your nose?
  • In your eyes?
Dance Till You Drop

Get ready to move as you put your dance aesthetic and rhythm skills to the test by creating your very own dance phrase! That is a small piece of choreography that you can expand into a larger dance sequence. 

Step One: From the previous activity, pick three body parts that you like putting rhythm into the most. Name them A, B and C. Put on a song and see all the different ways you can move them. For example:
  • A = Shoulders. I roll my shoulders forward.
  • B = Hips. I isolate my hips and swing them from side-to-side.
  • C = Fingers. I reach my fingers towards the sky while my feet come into relevĂ©.
Each member of your family can create their own three moves!

Step Two: Once you have created your three moves, try to find a way to transition from move A to move B to move C. Do all three in a row, and repeat them to the rhythm of the music. You have just created a dance phrase.

Step Three: Perform your dance phrases for each other. Invite friends and family members to watch you perform them to the music. 

BONUS: Put on different songs and see how your phrase changes depending on the different rhythms of music. 

EXTRA BONUS: Learn each other's dance phrases, combine them to make one longer dance sequence and perform it as a group.
 
 
The New Victory Theater Get your tickets today to see the best dance New York City has to offer!
Posted by Beth Henderson
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