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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.

In The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, Step Afrika! brings to life Jacob Lawrence's masterwork, a painting series looking back on the Great Migration—the journey of over six million African Americans from the rural Southern United States to the urban North. We sat down with the talented cast and asked them what it feels like to perform this inspiring fusion of stepping, live music and American art in 2017.
 

Today, I'm seeing race being thrust into the forefront of American dialogue more than ever before in my lifetime. We're witnessing firsthand—or through the media—incidents of violence, activism and political discourse that confront our beliefs about racial inequality and social justice. The Migration adds historical context to the conversation, while celebrating the fortitude and courage of our predecessors. I think of it as a model for contemporary society on how to overcome challenging circumstances. — Jakari Sherman, Director

It's an honor to be a part of telling a very important story in our history—a story of culture, oppression, faith, resilience and forward movement. — Brittny Smith

The Migration

It's extremely rewarding and exciting to perform The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence. We're telling a part of American history, and to share this story across generations, races and cultures is a unique opportunity. We may be introducing the art form of stepping to a new audience, and also Jacob Lawrence's iconic work! The blend of visual and performing arts brought together through this work is brilliant. — Mfon Akpan

Performing The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence is both a cathartic and reflective experience. Usually, I perform as myself, but The Migration challenges me to become someone else, like an enslaved person laboring in the field in "Go West," or a young man who's left his family behind to find work in "Off the Train." Conveying the journey of these characters, while seeing the rest of the talented cast telling this story can be very emotional. It makes me reflect even more on how beautiful and resilient the African American community is. I love that. — Jordan Spry

When I perform The Migration, I'm reliving my ancestors' journey to America, while giving a bold and compelling history lesson to the audience. It's surreal at times. — Joe Murchison

The Migration

It's truly a one of a kind experience to perform The Migration in 2017. To be able to tell such a powerful story, considering some of the racial current events going on in America today, is indescribable. — Taquez Whitted

Being a part of The Migration feels like a movement, literally and spiritually. There are many untold stories and uncelebrated heroes from black history and I'm honored to celebrate our past. Performing in this production is truly an incredible way to pay homage to those who came before us. — Kara Jenelle

The current climate of the United States calls for an uplifting, educational and unifying theater experience. That's exactly what you get from The Migration. This story changed our country, and so many people can relate to it. — Christopher Roderick Brient

The Migration

Performing in The Migration in 2017 is an extremely humbling experience, because it allows me to reflect on the past and pay homage to my ancestors, who endured tremendous obstacles. I am thankful for them paving the way for me. — Anesia Sandifer

Being a part of this show inspires an overwhelming feeling of happiness. Studying Jacob Lawrence's work in college and now being able to use my gift of dance to bring his work to life is amazing. — Ronique Murray

One of my favorite things about The Migration is that, not only does it entertain, it enriches the audience with historical facts about the life, art and culture of African Americans. You think you're just coming to see a cool dance show on a Saturday night, but really, you're going to be walking out of the theater equipped with the knowledge to keep an important legacy alive. 2017 is such a fast-paced, politically charged year and it's extremely important that through it all, we continue to engage with our history and remember the resilience and faith our ancestors held in similarly turbulent times. — Charise Pinkston


 
The Migration In The Migration, "two art forms meld, and then painted images seem to come to life," according to The Washington Post. Tickets are available today!


Photos: William Perrigen
Posted by Beth Henderson

Every summer, The New Victory Theater celebrates our #LoveofDance with Victory Dance, an exploration 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.

Get to know the companies of Program B before they perform on July 27 and August 3. 
 

Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice. 

Preeti Vasudevan's Thresh is a performing arts collaborative founded in 2004 by choreographer Preeti Vasudevan. The company specializes in Bharatanatyam, the classical dance-theater of South India. In developing a contemporary movement language, Thresh explores a dialogue between traditional Indian dance and Western storytelling in a globalized, modern society. Thresh seeks to encourage a cross-cultural exchange of dance forms through their performances and arts education initiatives. 
 
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE is a Brooklyn-based dance company founded by artistic director Ronald K. Brown in 1985. EVIDENCE works to integrate traditional African dance with contemporary choreography. Their mission is to expand the African American dance community by using music, movement and spoken word as a storytelling vehicle to express history and tradition.
 
Heidi Latsky Dance (HLD) is a modern dance company founded in 2001 by artistic director Heidi Latsky. HLD seeks to redefine notions of beauty and virtuosity by using performers with unique attributes to bring provocative, passionate dance to diverse audiences. The company openly advocates for disability rights. HLD partners with social service and humanitarian organizations, like the United Nations and the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities.
 
Program B Preeti Vasudevan's Thresh, Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE, Heidi Latsky Dance
Photos: Pavlos Mavridis, Ayodele Casel, Yi-Chun Wu  
 
 
Ruthie Ostrow Ruthie Ostrow is a junior studying arts administration and journalism at Baruch College. She is a director, stage manager and children's arts teacher, and is now enjoying her time as a communications apprentice with The New Victory Theater. The only thing that mirrors Ruthie's #LoveOfTheater is her enthusiasm for a good crafting project.
 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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