THE BLOG
09/17/2013 08:43 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2013

Brave New World: The Tempest's Dancing Youngsters

There was an infectious spirit at the Public Theater's free Public Works' production of The Tempest -- so much of it was joyous it was hard not to just go with it. Of course, there were also many features of the community-based musical adaptation that left me scratching my head. For example, I remain confused about the need for the NYC Taxi Workers Alliance. But, at the end, you had to leave smiling. One of the big reasons for that was the kids from Ballet Tech, the NYC Public School for Dance. Ranging in age from 11 to 13, these pint size geniuses completely stole the show. Their number was hilarious and perfectly timed. The Tempest -- which played for three performances at the Delacorte Theater -- featured a strong turn by Norm Lewis and an effective Laura Benanti cameo song, but these kids were the highlight for me. So I wanted to ask them: What was the best part for them? And the worst? Below are their answers:

NAME: Lucy Hu
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being at the Tempest was of course the performances! Being able to perform outdoors was very interesting. This was the first time I performed outdoors. The people there were very encouraging and kind. The variety of dances made this Shakespeare play different. Another good part about being at the Tempest was the experience, learning from my experience.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest was the tents. A bunch of raccoons were in the back of our tent. One of them came in and started looking around one of my classmate's bag. Since the performances were at night, the weather wasn't pleasing.

NAME: Albert Chang
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: I would say that the best part of performing in the Tempest was meeting so many new people with amazing talent.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part of being in the Tempest was staying extremely quiet while finding something fun to do in the tents.

NAME: Shabab Chowdhury
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part of being in the Tempest was where we saw the whole performance and heard all the songs.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest was waiting in the tents while being quite during the performance.

NAME: Jaya Collins
AGE: 12
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being in the Tempest was getting to meet people with the same hobbies but also different hobbies. Another best part was bonding and performing with the actors, singers and dancers.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest was dancing in the hot and cold weather.

NAME: Megan Eng
AGE: 12
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part of being in the tempest was to know that the audience really enjoyed our performance even though we were just a cameo group. I really enjoyed the experience of performing onstage in front of over 1,000 people and being a part of an amazing event.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the tempest was to learn a new part of the choreography, because we got rid of part of the original dance & added a new part... but I'm glad that I was able to do something different.

NAME: Jaden Fernandez
AGE: 11
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being in the Tempest was getting to perform with all the professionals and knowing that I was part of a performance that everybody enjoyed.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part was trying not to mess up the steps and not interfering with the actors.

NAME: Joyce Ha
AGE: 12 1/2
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part was EVERYTHING! We got to dance with the ACTORS, we got to have all the funky lights shining down on us, we got to laugh while we were dancing because of the actors' performances, and the best part, it was worth it. The crowd's applause really paid off: our hearts pumping, our lungs breathing in and out, and our hard working brains, it was... awesome.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part would be trying to be focused. To me it was very hard to keep focus while you just want to sit and laugh. And usually when I laugh, I lose focus.

NAME: Jordan Miles
AGE: 11
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being in the Tempest is the dancing part because I heard the crowd cheer and laugh about the dance.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest is timing when me and Josephine start dancing.

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NAME: Joshua Moody
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part of being the tempest was meeting new people like the actors, and perform[ing] on a stage again in front of people.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the tempest was waiting in the tent being quiet until our part on stage.

NAME: Joseph Noesi
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The BEST part about being in the Tempest was having the picnic because of playing Frizball and Steal the Bacon. I also liked my balloon sword.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest was having to rehearse until 12:00 in the nighttime when it was freezing.

NAME: Ashley Novo
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being part of The Tempest was experiencing a performance filled with such rich and diverse artists, including Taiko Drummers, Professional Actors, a Teenage Choir, Bubble artists, and even Hip-Hop dancers.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being part of The Tempest was performing in front of many people. However, our excitement had kept us from being shy or afraid of the audience -- this was a huge opportunity for us to dance our hearts out!

NAME: Zuzu Park-Stettner
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being in the Tempest was dancing and chasing the actors. It was an amazing feeling and experience.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part was make sure that we all stayed focused and we enjoyed the dance. I do have to say I did get nervous before I went on but I think that's normal.

NAME: Lada Peshkovsky
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part was being able to look up at the sky while being on stage. I[t] was great feeling the cheer of the crowd and there was a certain thrill in listening backstage to the crowd.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part was focusing and being quiet backstage. It was also a little hard to stay warm and stretched in the freezing wind.

NAME: Sophia Tsang
AGE: 12
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being in the Tempest was meeting the actors and watching them play their character.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest was having to dance with all the bugs and the cracks in the stage.

NAME: Asia Yiu
AGE: 12
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part of being in The Tempest was being able to cooperate with other people in different professions: actors, dancers, singers and just normal community members. I really liked that even if you're a smaller dancer on the outside you are the star on the inside.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in The Tempest was trying not to talk. Being off stage is a big responsibility. While others are performing you should try not to make noise in the changing area. But it was all WORTH IT!

NAME: Samantha Valle
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The best part about being in The Tempest was meeting new people and performing on stage with my fellow classmates. I got time to bond with my classmates. I had so much fun with the volunteers because I got time to learn about their lives and their journey in dancing and even daily life. It was the best experience ever!
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in The Tempest was the weather. It was hard being in the outdoors because it was cold. Some days it was 50° and some kids had costumes that didn't provide warmth. Also there were bugs, raccoons and other animals to say away from, but I had a great time at The Tempest.

NAME: Kyunghee Hori
AGE: 13
WHAT WAS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: Having fun with my friends on stage as we danced the night away. Having the audience clap with all their might and having them laugh their hearts out.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING IN THE TEMPEST: The hardest part about being in the Tempest was dealing with the mistakes I did in the show.

Photo by Patrice Hemsworth.

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