Written by Erica Reinsch, Education and Programs Manager
Erica Reinsch and Penelope McCourty teach kids dance moves from the pieces they've seen!
Victory Dance introduces kids to contemporary dance in NYC:
When I was a kid, my aunts bought me a subscription to the local contemporary dance series in my hometown of Colorado Springs. Before that, I had seen the occasional holiday performance of The Nutcracker. I loved it, but seeing contemporary and modern dance made me fall in love with the art form and inspired me to take my first dance class! Seeing such a diversity of movement and forms made dance seem like something I could be a part of - but unfortunately, I was always one of the very few kids in that audience. To give more kids a chance to experience contemporary dance, Victory Dance has 3 performances each week exclusively for kids at New York City summer schools and camps. Each week of Victory Dance introduces these kids to a diverse cross-section of contemporary dance. Many of the kids who attend with their school or camp, will get to see all three programs of Victory Dance! This means they will see nine (9!) different dance companies in just a 3-week span. Hopefully those kids will walk away from Victory Dance with not only a broader understanding of dance, but also a feeling of belonging within the community of dance in New York City.
Kids learning dance moves and asking questions at Victory Dance!
Victory Dance gives kids a chance to immediately react to each piece:
At each day-time performance of Victory Dance, there are two hosts (New Vic Teaching Artist Penelope McCourty and an Education staff member). These hosts introduce each dance piece and give kids specific prompts about what to look for while watching. However, the real fun in being a Victory Dance host is asking questions about what the students just saw and getting real-time reactions! We've heard everything from "I think that dance was telling the story of someone who is very sorrowful" to "the costumes in that piece make me want to design costumes for the dances I do with my friends" to "What did I even just see?! Was that dancer flying?!" The kids also get a chance to learn a few dance moves from their seat - everything from vogueing to tap rhythms to ballet positions. At the end of each performance, the choreographers join us on stage for a talk back and the kids get to perform the dance moves they learned for some of New York City's top choreographers (who have never failed to be wowed by the performance).
Victory Dance inspires kids to create:
In addition to seeing some of New York City's top dance companies on stage, the kids who attend Victory Dance get to experience the joy of dance in their classrooms with New Victory teaching artists. Every camp and school that attends Victory Dance is eligible for free pre and post show workshops. New Victory teaching artists facilitate an exploration of movement inspired by the dances seen on the New Vic stage and lead students to act as dancers and choreographers to create their own dance pieces.
The choreographers take part in a talk back with the kids!
Victory Dance gives NYC's top dance companies the gift of performing for the smartest audience, kids:
The dance companies of Victory Dance have never failed to be astonished and delighted by the kid’s reactions to their performances. Whether it's a laugh at a moment they've never gotten a laugh before, the energy of an audience of kids clapping along to the music or a kid with a highly sophisticated interpretation of a choreographer's intentions - the dance companies of Victory Dance leave the New Vic knowing what we've always known - kids are the smartest and most honest audience in New York City!
||Erica Reinsch is the Education Programs Manager at The New Victory Theater where she manages the Education Partnership Program, providing over 30,000 students from 160+ New York City schools access to live performances and classroom workshops each year. Erica is also a Supporting Artist and consultant for CO/LAB Theatre Group, an organization that provides arts opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. In addition to Erica's work in arts education, she has performed for young audiences in productions at Adventure Theatre and Imagination Stage in Washington, DC and the New Plays for Young Audiences Series at New York University. Erica holds a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Arts in Educational Theatre from New York University.