New Victory Arts Break: Hip Hop Cinderella

Are there songs that are super special to you, or that you would consider part of your family’s soundtrack? And have you ever heard a familiar song and been instantly transported to another moment in your life? In this Arts Break, inspired by the new musical Hip Hop Cinderella, we’ll draw on family memories and real-life rhythms to make our own kind of music. Let’s do re mi fa sol la ti go!

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New Victory Arts Break: Hip Hop Cinderella

Some of the videos in this Arts Break were filmed at the New Victory Theater. We acknowledge that New Victory resides on the seized homeland of the Lenape people and the intertribal territory of many First Nations. We celebrate and pay deep respect to all Indigenous peoples, past, present and future.

Before the Show: Musical Memory
Memories and music often go hand in hand. Is there a song that you and your family sing on car rides, at holiday gatherings or other memorable times? In this activity, New Victory Teaching Artist Jono Waldman explores ways of transforming memorable melodies into new and exciting tunes through sampling!

Materials: A recording device, your voice, instruments and microphones (optional)

Step One: Choose a song to sample. Think of songs that are important in your family or your culture, or that represent meaningful memories. Find a recording of your chosen song, or use a device like a phone or computer to record yourself or a family member singing it.

Step Two: Now it’s time to sample it. You’ll record one tiny piece of the song, and that tiny piece is going to become the hook of your new song. A hook is a short, catchy tune that plays over and over again in a song. To sample your hook from the song you chose, you can…

  • Play part of it on a computer and record it onto a phone
  • Play part of it on a phone and record it onto another phone
  • Record yourself singing just the part you want to sample

Jono’s hook was the first line from “The Four Questions,” which he sang himself:

Step Three: Start to create your new song! Listen to Jono’s beats below and choose the one you think sounds best with your hook. You can also make your own percussive beat using your body or hitting a surface.

⤓ Download the first beat
⤓ Download the second beat
⤓ Download the third beat

Step Four: Now your song needs lyrics. You can speak, sing or even rap your lyrics. They can be anything you want to say that tells the story of your song. Think about the original song and how it makes you feel. Why did you choose this song? What can you say about the memories it stirs up?

Step Five: Put it all together! Get the beat going, and then add your lyrics and play back your hook in between lines or verses.

Name your song and perform it for friends and family! But remember, if you want to put your song on the internet, or share it with a big group of people, you need permission from the artist you’re sampling. Using their work, their ideas, or even their own voice without their permission, isn’t just sampling—it’s stealing—so be respectful, and happy music-making!

Now that we’ve explored musical creation and sampling, it’s time to head over to the New Victory Theater to see Hip Hop Cinderella!

On the Way: City Beats
Everything in the city creates its own unique sound. While making your way to the New Victory Theater, stay in a musical mindset! Listen to all of the sounds around you—what do you hear on your journey? In this activity, collect some of these city beats and improvise a piece of music as a family.

The ca-chunk of the turnstile, the whoosh of the train, the bing-bong of the subway doors

Step One: Identify a bassline. These will be the low notes in your new beat. Do you hear a rumbling train? A chorus of car horns? A fluttering flock of pigeons? The first family member will impersonate and repeat these baseline notes.

Step Two: Percussion! Listen for repetitive, rhythmic sounds on your journey, like the sound of your feet on the pavement, or the wheels of the subway car clanking over the rails. The second family member will add their version of these percussion beats to the bassline.

Step Three: You’re a part of the city, too, so let’s incorporate a sound that comes straight from your mouth—beatboxing! While your family members repeat the bassline and percussive elements, make the sounds of each of these letters without using your voice: B, C, T, P. What happens to the sound if you mix up the letters’ order?

Step Four: Keep repeating your collection of city beats and use a phone to record your new musical creation. Give it a name inspired by the city, and share it with your family and friends!

Check out how New 42 Youth Corps members Arty, Mana and Jaden worked together to create a city beat of their own called the Hip-Hop Commuter Bop:

Mix and match your city beats with the sounds that Arty, Mana and Jaden created. Play back their samples below and layer your sounds on top!

Arty’s bassline, inspired by an ambulance siren:

Mana’s percussion, inspired by the subway doors:

Jaden’s beatboxing:

All three together:

After the Show: Musical Movement
Once you’re back home after seeing Hip Hop Cinderella, read over the reflection questions below and discuss them together:

Post-Show Reflection

  • How was this adaptation of Cinderella similar to the original story? How was it different?
  • How did costuming change the story of Cinderella? Were there specific costumes that stood out to you?

Promotional photo of Ella C and Runka

  • How did the artists incorporate music and how did it enhance the story?
  • What skills do you have that could help make a difference in the world? What’s one thing you’d like to help change?

Now that you’ve used your memories and your environment to dream up new music, it’s time to incorporate your body and move to the beat, taking inspiration from the hip-hop choreography you saw on stage! Follow along with New Victory Teaching Artist Sun Kim as she breaks down a super popular hip-hop dance step called the Cabbage Patch.

Cabbage Patch Level 1: Sun Kim circles her arms in front of her
Level One: First focus on just your arms and torso. Move your arms in a circle out in front of you, and move your torso in the opposite direction.
Cabbage Patch Level 2: Sun Kim steps her feet as her arms circle
Level Two: Let’s add a step to it. As you move your arms out to the right, step with your left foot, and as you circle your hands to the left, step with your left foot. You can also think of this as your step leading your torso—as you move your torso away from your hands, step away with that foot. 
Cabbage Patch Level 3: The arm movement changes to stirring the pot
Level Three: Let’s level up those arms. See how Sun is motioning like she’s stirring the pot? Incorporate those pot-stirring arms!
Cabbage Patch Level 4: Stepping forward and back with each arm movement, and side to side every four beats
Level Four: Once you’re comfortable with all the moves so far, it’s time to level up the step. Step forward and back as you circle your arms, then take a few steps side-to-side as you change to face the other direction.
Cabbage Patch Level 5: Sun Kim adds her own flair!
Level Five: With all the elements of the Cabbage Patch under your belt and in your body, make the dance your own by adding some personal flair! Sun experimented with levels, lunging down with each step forward, and she also started spinning her arms before each side-to-side change, like a wind-up.

Find some music that fits the rhythm of these moves and challenge a friend or family member to a friendly Cabbage Patch dance battle! What’s your variation? How can you add even more personal flair?

More than just music and dance, hip-hop is a cultural movement that began in the late 1970s in the Bronx. It includes four major artistic elements: breakdancing, MCing, DJing and graffiti art. Learn more about the history of rap and hip-hop in this episode of Crash Course, part of a 51-episode series on Black American History.

And Beyond: Thank You for the Music
Keep incorporating your own style and creativity into the music you make at home, and don’t forget to add movement to go along with it! For more musical inspiration, follow along with videos and activities from our amazing New Victory Teaching Artists and Education staff members.

New Victory Teaching Artist Julia Sirna-Frest
Rewrite a familiar song with Julia Sirna-Frest and her dog, Bronco.
New Victory Teaching Artist Alberto Denis
Learn the basics of voguing and strike a pose with Alberto Denis. There’s nothing to it!

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.