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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.

Marina Montefusco in RehearsalThe visually stunning and poetic CITÉ brings the paintings of Russian-born New York artist Evsa Model (1900–76) to life for young audiences. While the modern art world might seem a bit inaccessible for little ones, Le Clan des Songes has found a way to stir the imaginations of kids as young as three with captivating visuals and original music inspired by Model's vibrant work.

We wanted to take a second to connect with Le Clan des Songes founder Marina Montefusco over the inspiration behind Cité and the translation of Evsa Model's art into a piece of theater for young audiences. What was her first spark of inspiration for Cité? What, if anything, did she find difficult? What does she love about performing for young audiences? Check out the trailer below, then continue reading for Marina's interview!


What was your initial inspiration behind Cité?  
One day while walking in Paris, I accidentally discovered Evsa Model's painting in the basement of a photo gallery. I observed it for a very long time, intrigued by the mystery it contained and wanting to discover more. I decided to learn more about this forgotten painter!

Why did you think Evsa Model's work might appeal to young audiences?  
Simply, he paints with a child's eyes. He is both poetic and moving at the same time and elicits emotion through colors. And it is very simple for young children to understand his uncluttered style. Because his artwork (and Cité) is visually abstract, it awakens every child's imagination. Often, through their own drawings, they tell us their own story. It is a language they already speak.
 
Projection and Shadow Puppetry from Cité
What were the challenges in adapting visual artwork for the stage? 
There is a movement, a composition, a story in the paintings of Evsa Model. For me it was quite natural to translate it into moving images.

Have you adapted other unusual works for the stage? 
Yes! I have adapted a book, L'Arbre sans Fin by Claude Ponti and the board game Clue into shows as well. 

Why do you create theater for kids as young as three?
Undoubtedly, very young children are my favorite audience. It is easy to connect to them on a perceptive, emotional, and intuitive level. 

Can you tell us a bit more about the name of your company, Le Clan des Songes?  
"Songe" means "waking dream" in French—we are The Clan of Waking Dreams. That's what I wish to offer to the public.
 
 
Be sure to check out CITÉ's Family Activity to re-create the stunning shapes and mesmerizing colors of Evsa Model's artwork as a family. You might have the world's next great painter in your midst!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
April 28, 2016

Growing Up Nock


Imagine going to work with your parents, but, instead of meetings and emails, there are high wire acts and vaudevillian gags! Thursday, April 28th is Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and while some kids are no doubt looking forward to a nine-to-five day at the office, kids like Annaliese Nock have had it a little better. In case her surname didn't clue you in, Annaliese's dad is none other than Bello Nock, comic daredevil and star of Bello Mania

The Nock family has been bringing the circus to town in one part of the world or another for 175 years! Annaliese is grown now, performing onstage with her dad in Bello Mania and a world record holder in her own right; but was a future of daredevildom always her plan? We recently sat down with Annaliese to learn more about what it was like "growing up Nock" in a family with such a celebrated lineage of performers.

 


Annaliese Nock hangs upside-down during her lyra act as Bello, ever the proud father, looks on with a smile.
When did you know you wanted to be a performer?
I don't think there was ever a single moment when I had that realization. I think it was just, as long as I can remember, what I wanted to do.  You have to put it into the context of my life. Performing was always my "normal." I thought that was what everyone either did or wanted to do! I still love it, and I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.

What is your earliest memory of seeing your dad perform?
That would have to be at the Big Apple Circus.  I was about a year and a half old.  I remember sitting in the seats and thinking, "I need to start stretching!"

Have you ever travelled to other parts of the world to perform with your family?
I have traveled all over the world with my family—to Japan, Australia, Russia, China and all over Europe! As soon as I was old enough, I started performing. The first place I performed was in the Ringling Bros. All Access Pre-show, where I performed my hand-balancing act. I performed a lyra act in the Big Apple Circus. Then I started practicing on the sway pole and the high wire with my dad, and finally the giant wheel. The wheel is my favorite act!  

You're part of an expansive daredevil dynasty. Do you ever feel pressure to live up to the Nock family's legacy?
Not pressure, just a drive and desire to!

When did you realize you wanted to become a daredevil?         
I think when I first started practicing on the wheel—a typically male-dominated act—I realized, "Hey, I want to do this act, and not a 'girl' version!"

When performing dangerous feats, do you ever get scared?
Yeah, but there are a lot of things in life that can be scary.  You have to push through being scared, and then the best feeling comes after you do something that once scared you!  My dad says that if you're not a little scared, something is wrong.  It's important to keep a healthy respect for the seriousness of what we do.
 
 
Bello Mania Icon Be sure to catch Annaliese Nock and the rest of the Bello Mania family performing at The New Victory Theater through May 1. See Bello hover over the audience on his show-stopping sway pole and be mesmerized by Annaliese's aerial act.
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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