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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 New Victory Theater launched the New Victory Usher Corps the day the theater opened to provide paid employment, job training, academic support, mentorship and an introduction to the performing arts for over 50 young New Yorkers each year. Since then, the program has provided over 400,000 hours of paid employment to over 500 NYC teens from across the city. Find out how teens ages 16-22 in your life can apply to be a part of this award-winning program here!

All season long, we'll be featuring young people from our Usher Corps in our New Vic Bills and here on the New Victory blog. Today we're talking to third-year usher Danielle Braddock from the Bronx, New York.
Danielle
My favorite show at The New Victory was…
Mother Africa: My Home because I loved the dancing and the music. My favorite scene was the finale when the cast walked through the aisles and gave everyone a high five.

The show I’m most excited for this season is…
I can't wait to see Jason Bishop and all of his illusions!

The thing I like most about being an usher is…
The best part of being an usher is seeing patrons enjoying themselves and having fun at the theater.

My favorite memory from working as an usher was... 
It has to be when I was working the lower lobby during Elephant & Piggie's We Are in a Play. There was a 2 year-old who was exploring an activity before the show. She looked like she was lonely so I started reading books to her. She really enjoyed that!

My dream job would be… 
A pastry chef. It's always been my passion to bake treats.

What was your favorite story as a kid?
My favorite story as a kid was Corduroy. In it, a girl named Lisa wanted the stuffed bear Corduroy but her mother said no because he was missing a button. Lisa went back the next day with her own money to bring Corduroy home. 

What's your favorite NYC hangout or neighborhood?
At Highbridge Pool, everything is special. It's awesome to see all of the kids, adults and families spend time together. 

Describe the most challenging thing about being an usher.
The most challenging thing is making sure patrons get the absolute best customer service. 

Describe your dream vacation.
My dream vacation would be to go to California and walk on the beach.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
I'll always remember going to Six Flags Great Adventure almost every summer.
 
New Victory Thumb Want to learn more about The New Victory Theater Usher Program? Take a look here!

 
Posted by Beth Henderson

Step Afrika! began as a collaboration between American dancers and members of Johannesburg's Soweto Dance Theater in 1994. They have since emerged as one of the top stepping companies in the United States. Their most prolific work, The Migration Series: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence, is now on stage at the New Vic! In this, they bring to life The Migration Series, a landmark painting series by Jacob Lawrence inspired by the journey of the millions of African Americans who moved from the rural South to the urban North to rebuild their lives after World War I. We sat down with founder C. Brian Williams to discuss the cultural context surrounding the show.

1. How do you think The Migration: Reflections on Jacob Lawrence reflects today's landscape? 
 
The Migration is an extremely important work for Step Afrika! Every time the cast walks onto the stage, I think of those brave men and women who left the South with its unbearable restrictions on African American life and took a journey without truly understanding what awaited them on the other side. No one ever wants to abandon their home, unless there's no other reasonable alternative. Every performance of The Migration is a percussive tribute to the strength and resilience of these migrants. Their movement truly transformed our country.
 
Seeing the devastating, forced migration of families in Syria, Myanmar and the Central African Republic, alongside our own country's heated dialogue about immigration, I'm reminded that the issues Jacob Lawrence painted about in 1940 remain relevant today. My hope is that those of us not currently in motion demonstrate even more compassion for those who are. 

The Migration
 
2. What do you want audience members to walk away thinking? 
 
First and foremost, I want the audience to have an incredible time at the theater. For Step Afrika! and our incredible team of artists, the theater is a special place where the audience and artist create a very special moment in time together. We all need to make more room for live performance, especially in challenging times, because there's nothing quite like it.
 
The Migration also gives the audience a chance to reflect on their own individual migration stories. The  journeys taken by all of our ancestors make us who we are. Although we focus on the Great Migration, you can compare Lawrence's paintings and our show to photographs taken at Ellis Island in the early 1900s, videos of migrants heading towards the border in the Southwestern United States, and the images of the tens of thousands of Syrian families escaping the challenges back home in the hope of peace and a better life elsewhere.
 
We want to remind the audience that within each and every one of us lies a migration story. When we see the challenges faced by the migrants of today, we should never forget that many of our ancestors once walked in those shoes.
 
C. Brian Williams3. Tell us about stepping and why do you think it's now, finally coming into mainstream culture.
 
Stepping is such an unique art form and dance tradition and we've enjoyed sharing it with audiences around the globe for over 23 years. With its origins in the early 1900s, stepping was created by African American men and women on college campuses who became members of fraternities and sororities. These Greek-letter organizations, like Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., of which I am a member, or Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the first African-American sorority created in the United States, led to the development of stepping on college campuses. It took over 85 years before mainstream America took notice. 
 
In 1988, famed director Spike Lee released his film, Skool Daze, which brought an incredible amount of attention to both African American college life and the tradition of stepping. Just a few years later, in 1994, Step Afrika! began and we have been spreading the word non-stop ever since.
 
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
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