New Victory Dance’s Origin Story With Artistic Director Mary Rose Lloyd

New Victory Dance is set to kick off its ninth season on July 14th. The free program, curated by Artistic Director Mary Rose Lloyd, is a celebration of the incredible artistry and diversity of NYC dance. Curated with kids in mind, New Victory Dance is recommended for kids 8 and up and offers a myriad of different genres highlighting dance origins from all over the globe.

The program offers West African and Afrobeat styles from Les Ballet Afrik, Pangalay dance from Kinding Sindaw, and contemporary ballet from Ballet Boy Productions — that’s just a small sampling of the eight companies joining the season of New Victory Dance. 

New 42 staff member Niki Cruz, Assistant Director of Media & Communications, sat down with Artistic Director Mary Rose Lloyd to discuss New Victory Dance’s origins. 

Niki Cruz: Can you tell me a bit about New Victory Dance’s origins and the reason behind its creation? Did you see a specific need or desire from patrons?

Mary Rose Lloyd: It was always desired [for the theater] to be open in the summertime, but we also needed time for capital projects and maintenance. We were approached with a request to provide arts programming for summer schools and camps, so the timing was right [which] led to the first New Victory Dance series in 2014. 

Several NYC culturals specialize in presenting dance, and most have exclusivity requirements, meaning artists or companies performing at Venue X cannot perform at another venue within a certain distance and time from their Venue X engagement. 

We would create a program featuring NYC-based dance companies representing a variety of dance styles and make performances free to NYC summer schools and camps with one $10 public performance each week on Thursday. Each company would perform a short piece or excerpt, and we’d host up to four companies per program, two or three programs each summer (in July). We would couple performances with fun, non-pedantic scripting between pieces delivered by our incredible New Victory Teaching Artists, who would highlight certain aspects of each work and answer any questions.

NC: When do you start looking to program New Victory Dance? 

ML: We are always looking at dance companies because New Victory Dance is curated to showcase a variety of styles. We make our program selections by the start of the new year for each summer series. 

NC: What does your process look like when gearing up for the new season of New Victory Dance? What are you inspired by when programming for young audiences specifically?

ML: For me, it never gets old. Each season is unique, and working with the artists to choose just the right piece to perform, not just for young audiences but in relation to the other works on their program, it’s most gratifying. We start with the question, “what might you want to say to a young viewer?” and explore the options. 

NC: New Victory Dance is in its ninth season. It’s a return to live performances after two years of virtual programming. What has the response been from the artists about bringing back the live component after being virtual due to the pandemic? 

ML: It’s a huge relief. Works for the theater are meant to be seen live. The audience is as much a part of any show as the folks on stage. Sure, you can capture performance on film, and we have done that, but live performing arts is not film or television. We’ve had to improvise to get through COVID and keep the arts as vital as possible for our young audiences, but we’re all very happy to be back together in the New Victory Theater. 

NC: The program looks to encourage children to experience and fall in love with dance as an art form. Over the last nine years, what has the response been from patrons?

ML: I think we hit the right combination of show length and narrative; kids and adults truly enjoy each performance’s rhythm. The dance is demystified, and kids understand the “vocabulary” of the different choreographers.

NC: New Victory Dance gives a platform for new voices and different perspectives to present their work on the stage; in some instances, companies are having their first run. Why do you think this is significant to an artist’s journey? 

ML: Some of the artists are early career, and some are more seasoned. Either way they are all NYC-based, but some may not know one another. By the end of the run, new relationships have bloomed, and networks have expanded. They are getting to work together in ways that are perhaps new to them and that is always refreshing.

[This interview was edited for length and clarity.]

(Photo by Alexis Buatti-Ramos)


Mary Rose Lloyd is an internationally lauded curator of performing arts, recognized for her expertise in young audiences programming. Her artistic vision has been recognized by Time Out New York.

An accomplished speaker and frequent panelist and juror, Mary has also been a board member of TYA/USA and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) where she was the Chairman of the Artist Showcase Selection Committee. Mary received the Mickey Miners Lifetime Achievement Award, IPAY’s highest honor for making a significant impact on the field of performing arts for young audiences.

She has an MFA in Theater Management from the Yale School of Drama where she received the Morris Kaplan Award for Excellence in Arts Administration.