New Victory Dance Choreographers Sound Off On The Importance Of Arts Education

Every season New Victory Dance offers an eclectic dose of dance. Our ninth season is no different, as we’ve invited companies bringing multiple genres and various cultural stylings to the stage. Showcased on stage from some of NYC’s most exciting dance companies, will be modern ballet, West African dance, and hip-hop, just to name a few.

We recently sat down with New 42 Artistic Director Mary Rose Lloyd to find out how artistic programming approaches each New Victory Dance program. You can read all about that here.

To better understand the choreographers’ perspectives on the importance of the arts in their lives, we talked to the choreographers of New Victory Dance 2022. Within these interviews, we asked the same centerpiece question of each choreographer: Why is it significant to bring dance to kids?

Each had their own unique answer, which speaks to their sense of spirit and sensibility. Check out their answers below:

(Photo by Rebecca Oviatt)

JAMAL JACKSON of ​​Jamal Jackson Dance Company
Excerpt from 846 (The Rite of Spring)

“Expressing yourself … when you are having a debate or a conversation
you are versed in how to deceive in a certain way [with how] to get your point across. With movement — I feel it’s honest, and it’s out there, and you can have a conversation. When you start to see it through art, I think it creates riffs and open spaces where there can be productive conversation.

The work we’re doing and that we’ve done over the last 10 years, has been built around these conversations [of]: How do you start a conversation? How do you have a dialogue? How do you reach across and hear other perspectives? I think art allows for some walls to be tumbled down.”

(Photo by Steven Pisano)


Excerpt from Trapped 

“I feel like it’s a lasting way to educate kids on certain topics. It makes sense for me to perform in front of them because whatever feeling they’ll get out of it, it will last, maybe subconsciously, but this is the role of artists — keep moving whatever is happening internally. So, it’s a very powerful tool for education.” 

(Photo by Matthew Murphy)


Excerpts from WILD

“It really shines a light on the world in which kids live … I find it’s incredibly important for children to not only understand the world which they live in but also understand the dynamic power of their voices and their individuality. These young people that we are sharing our works with are eventually going to be our future leaders, our future policymakers, and I think that it’s important for us to be able to touch base with them and connect with them now so that we can really ensure a dynamic growth and transformational change in our country moving forward.”

(Photo by Veronica Beltran)



“When I was a kid, I often didn’t feel like a legitimate dancer in America, because of the standards of which dance were upheld and presented to me. I grew up doing a lot of classical and folk Indian dance and that’s not Bollywood dance, which is the primarily advertised South Asian dance form. I was getting older and taking dance more seriously, the only avenues that I saw were contemporary dance and generally Western types of dance forms. I didn’t have exposure to how I could do dances that I grew up with.

I think that exposure of just global dance in a holistic way is just so important and enriches kids’ lives and their worldview points. Dance especially is not primarily verbal [and] is such a powerful way of communicating.”

(Photo by Julia Crawford)


What Lies Beneath

“My mantra in life has been [that] dance saved my life. If I had not been exposed to dance, ballet and the performing arts my mind would’ve never thought of the possibilities of life beyond where I was growing up. So I’ve made it my mission to make sure young audiences get the opportunity to be exposed to dance and ballet and that these performances ignite imagination, passion, creativity and a need for the performing arts in their growing and evolving lives.” 

(Photo by Russel Haydn}

Akira Uchida with Madeline Wright and Joshua Strmic

Full Stop. Start Again.

“It’s imperative that the youth know there’s space for them and that there are opportunities for them to pursue artistic careers. It doesn’t have to be a second option. It doesn’t have to be just a hobby. It can be something they decide to commit to in their lives but also in pursuing and then committing to that as a young person. Being witness to what we create is going to stimulate more creativity in our worlds and in our community in general. And that’s the cycle that we want to continue — being inspired, giving back, and then that process continuing through time.” – Madeline Wright


(Photo by Corky Lee)

Potri Ranka Manis of KINDING SINDAW 

Legend of the Monkey and the Mermaid

“The current generation who aren’t immigrants still have to remember the origin of their lineage because that’s what makes you an American — your contribution to the myriad, beautiful society.” 

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