You’ll Flip Because They Do:
New acrobatic troupe gets off the ground.
When Sarah East Johnson, an acrobatic dancer from a group called Lava, was putting together a junior troupe in 2001, her tryouts didn’t look like tryouts. At a bunch of free circus workshops she held around the city, Johnson eyeballed attendees for their physicality and ability to work together, without telling them that they were vying for a place in the company. Twelve girls, ages 8 to 17, were chosen for the group—now called Magma and performing its first full-length show in Tribeca this weekend—and only two
of them had any previous training. (A community grant paid the training tuition, in part because half the girls were from low-income families.) Today, after a few years of sweating and stretching, they’re ready to bend over backward to make this show a success. For the most part, says Johnson, the young performers themselves choreographed the program, which depicts earth cycles, geologic phenomena, and extinction, all told through bodies in motion. The girls tumble through hoops, form a variety of group pyramids and handstands, and perform some hair-raising trapeze theatrics. “Magma is
a rock that’s a liquid and a solid and behaves in a strong and fluid way,” says Johnson. “The girls are like that—very inspiring.”
1/28; Flea Theater, 41 White St., nr. Broadway (212-352-3101 or theatermania.com); $15.
Penguins are the animal of the moment, and the Alley Pond Environmental Center teaches kids all about the waddling creatures in “Perfectly Penguins.” Participants learn about the aquatic birds, listen to penguin stories, and look at photos and feathers. A petting zoo, too.
1/21 from 1 to 3 p.m. for 4-year-olds; 1/22 from 10 a.m. to noon for 5-year-olds; 1/29 from 1 to 3 p.m. for 6- to-
8-year-olds; Alley Pond Environmental Center, 228-06 Northern Blvd., Douglaston (718-229-4000 or alleypond.com); $16.