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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 New York, the state mandates that twenty percent of lower elementary school needs to be spent in arts education. Twenty percent, if you do the math, is one full day a week. In New York City, few schools are compliant with the state's mandate. This means that cultural institutions in New York City have never been more important.

Cultural institutions are filling the gap where, in fact, certified teachers are supposed to be. In many cases they are providing the only theater that these students will be introduced to. While cultural institutions are doing an admirable job introducing kids to the arts, nothing replaces regular, regimented classes in schools. 

Arts programming in schools is an ongoing challenge. However. the arts are not a privilege, but a right. Sadly, arts education doesn't rank high on many people's priority list. My goal has been making the arts a priority in our schools. Having said that, one of the things we have to think about is just how we judge the quality of a school's arts education program. One of the things I have talked about is a report called the "The Qualities of Quality" by lead researcher Steve Seidel. The focus of the report is on quality teaching and learning in the arts. Basically, the report has told us that there are four indicators of quality in arts education.

One: The Environment
Is the environment appropriate for the art form being taught? If students are taking dance, is the floor appropriate? For theater, is the space flexible with movable furniture? For visual arts, does the room have a sink?

Additionally, where do the arts live in the building? Are they a priority, or are they marginalized? Are they considered a core subject or simply an enrichment?

Two: Engagement
Are the students engaged? Are they participating in art making? Are the teachers engaging? The report states that students decide to engage in the first 3–5 minutes of a lesson. If you lose them in the first 3–5 minutes, you've lost them for the entire class period.

 

Victory Dance
New Victory Teaching Artist Shelah Marie leads a classroom workshop for Mother Africa
Three (the one I find particularly important): Relationships
Not just the relationship the teachers have with their students, but the relationships that the students have with one another. The teacher's job is not done if they do a good job building relationships with their students, but the students have not developed healthy relationships among themselves. The teachers must understand the importance of all relationships: relationships with parents, administrators, among and between students, and between faculty.

Four (makes people nervous): Knowledge
Do practitioners actually know what they are teaching? In some cases, we have the English teacher teaching Shakespeare. This might be the only theater class in the building! That doesn't mean the English teacher doesn't know and understand theater, but he or she is not a certified theater teacher. In some cases you have the physical education teacher introducing students to dance. Again, we might have a great physical education teacher who's good at dance, but chances are they don't have formal dance training. Knowledge is important in making sure that our teachers actually know what it is they're teaching.

The same four principles apply to the work of teaching artists. Seidel came to New York a few years back to report out some of his earlier findings. He said when teachers really knew their subject, when the students were actively engaged and when strong relationships were built–he said there was LOVE in the room. Not something that can be included in a research report, but you could feel it in the room. It's interesting to me that people frown upon using the word "love" when talking about teaching and learning. What does that say about the current state of education?

Photos: Alexis Buatti-Ramos | This post was originally seen on the New Vic blog in 2010. 
 
 
Russell Granet Russell Granet, Executive Vice President, Lincoln Center (LC), is internationally known for his work in arts and education. He oversees education, community engagement, and international at LC. An enthusiastic, respected advocate for arts education for more than 25 years, Mr. Granet joined Lincoln Center after running his own international consulting group, Arts Education Resource (AER). Since his appointment in September 2012, he has spearheaded Lincoln Center Education’s highly successful fundraising efforts, its renovation, and the rebranding initiative that simultaneously confirms Lincoln Center’s educational mission and its message of dedication to bringing quality arts to the widest possible audience. 

Prior to founding AER, Mr. Granet held leadership positions at The Center for Arts Education—The NYC Annenberg Challenge; The American Place Theatre; and was a senior teaching artist in the NYC public schools. He served on faculty of the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University for twenty years.

Mr. Granet has worked on projects in Argentina, Australia, Egypt, England, India, Kenya, Mexico, South Korea, Tanzania, Turkey, and throughout the United States. Mr. Granet’s leadership was cited as “visionary” in the 2013 Proclamation by the City of New York and currently serves as an advisor to the NYC Mayor’s Cabinet for Children.  

 
Posted by Beth Henderson

Previously, we've highlighted the fantastic companies of Victory Dance's Program A and illuminated just why we LOVE this program. Now it's time for another batch of phenomenal NYC dance companies. Límon Dance Company, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and Jiva Dance are bound to amaze you when they take the stage on July 21st in Program B. Discover the history, mission and #LoveOfDance behind each of them! 
 
Limón Dance Company

Who Are They?
Limón Dance Company has been at the forefront of American modern dance since José Limón and Doris Humphrey founded the company in 1946. After 70 years, the company welcomed its fifth artistic director, Colin Connor, in 2016. Their technical mastery and dramatic expression show the enduring timelessness of José Limón's works. The company has achieved many important milestones: it was the first group to tour under the American Cultural Exchange Program in 1954, the first dance company to grace the stage at Lincoln Center in 1963 and it performed twice at the White House first in 1967 and again in 1995. In 2008, the José Limón Dance Foundation earned a National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.
 
The Límon Dance Company
Photo: Beatriz Schiller
What Will You See?
Don't expect to see birds flying about the stage in Límon Dance Company's The Winged. Instead, prepare yourself for an exploration of how mankind dreams of taking to the skies.
 
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Who Are They?
The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company was created in 1968 to realize the artistic vision of Lar Lubovitch, one of this country's foremost choreographers. Over the past 48 years, the company has gained a reputation as one of the world's top-ranked modern dance companies, performing in virtually every state of the U.S., as well more than 30 other countries. Lar Lubovitch was named by The New York Times as "one of the ten best choreographers in the world," and the company has been called a "national treasure" by Variety.

The company exists: to create new works by Lubovitch; to perform those works, in their home base of New York City and around the world; and to teach people of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, in order to increase awareness and appreciation of dance.
Lar Lubovitch
Photo: Nan Melville
What Will You See?
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company will perform Little Rhapsodies for Victory Dance. 

When Did Lar Lubovitch's and Company Member Dean Biosca's #LoveOfDance Start?
"My #LoveOfDance never had a beginning, nor did it rise from an 'a-ha' moment. It was my nature and expressed itself without prompting from cradle and will likely do so until the grave." — Lar Lubovitch

"My #LoveOfDance began when I was just a little kid. At my house, my parents used to play music in the family room. Whenever it would come on, I would dance around without a care. My #LoveOfDance continues as an outlet to express myself." — Dean Biosca
 
Jiva Dance 

Who Are They?
Formed in 2007 in New York City, Jiva Dance promotes and preserves the classical music and dance of India. Through innovative performances, classes, workshops, lecture demonstrations and a strong arts-in-education base, they encourage the growth of the classical arts of India in the U.S. Their rich and engaging performances employ modern media, film, photography and spoken word in dialogue with other world music and dance genres, in order to increase the appreciation and accessibility of the timeless art forms they celebrate.
Jiva Dance
Photo: Mariliana Arvelo
What Will You See?
Jiva Dance will perform excerpts from Mayura: Blue Peacock, including Mayil VirruthamAndal, and RainMayura examines the use of peacocks in classical Indian literature, poetry and myth. 

When Did Jiva Dance's Sonali Skandan's #LoveOfDance Start?
"My #LoveOfDance began at a very young age watching Indian cinema with my parents. The movements and the costuming, though not classical, were so expressive and graceful. I later saw an Indian classical dance performance by a renowned dancer and was mesmerized, not only by her dance, but by her costume. Of course the colors are what's vibrant to a five-year-old! It was an elegant green silk sari with a pleated fan in the center. It was a typical Bharatanatyam costume. At that time, I was studying ballet and other Western dance forms, and did not have the fortune to find an Indian classical dance teacher until years later. But my passion for learning it was fueled by my memory of that performance."
 
 

 
New Victory Thumb Interested in inspiring a #LoveofDance in your family? Make sure to check out Victory Dance this summer!
 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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