AileyCamp Celebrates 30 Year Milestone of Enriching and Inspiring Inner-City Youth Nationwide
As Ailey enters its sixth decade, AileyCamp, the organization's innovative full-scholarship day camp, marks its 30th anniversary reaching over 1,000 inner-city students in 10 cities nationwide with a life-changing experience. Founded by Alvin Ailey and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey in 1989, AileyCamp is being implemented in collaboration with local organizations in Kansas City, MO; Kansas City, KS; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Berkeley, CA;Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; Seattle, WA; Bronx, NY and Newark, NJ. The valuable summer program gives underserved students ages 11 to 14 a supportive environment to use dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression and critical-thinking skills.
AileyCamp's curriculum offers a variety of dance techniques, including ballet, Horton-based modern dance, jazz and West African dance, as well as personal development and creative communication classes, which teach campers how to express themselves in positive ways. Daily affirmations are recited, such as "I will not use the word 'can't' to define my possibilities" and "I am a winner," to serve as a guide to these students in becoming confident, productive and motivated individuals.Camp tuition, uniforms, dance attire, field trips, breakfast and lunch are provided to each student free of charge.
"AileyCamp was the last program Alvin Ailey founded before his passing in 1989," says Artistic Director Robert Battle. "Over the past 30 years, the camp's growth and impact nationwide has been amazing. It's provided direction and hope to thousands of children who are most in need of knowing how to overcome challenges and achieve their dreams."
Although AileyCamp is not meant to be a training ground for professional dancers, some students are awarded scholarships for further study at The Ailey School or to pursue training at other accredited dance schools and have later performed with professional dance companies. In May 2016, Solomon Dumas became the first former AileyCamper to join Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Dumas attended AileyCamp Chicago, was on scholarship at The Ailey School, danced as a member of Ailey II, and taught at Ailey Extension before joining the Company.
"Alvin Ailey was a visionary who recognized the power of dance to open hearts and minds through performances, as well as programs that enrich the lives of young people," says Nasha Thomas,National Director of AileyCamp/Arts In Education Spokesperson & Master Teacher. "It was an honor to be a member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater under his direction, and it is now a privilege to carry on his legacy of positively influencing children through AileyCamp. As I visit the camps across the country, I'm moved by the countless stories of success I hear from former campers, and seeing current participants begin a journey of possibility - step by step."
All AileyCamps culminate with a grand finale performance for family, friends and community leaders where campers showcase their hard work in an original production of specially choreographed dances, poetry readings and theatrical improvisations. In honor of 60 years since the founding of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, this year's opening number will pay homage to Alvin Ailey showcasing works central to the Ailey repertory. Campers will perform excerpts from Hymn,Revelations ("I Been 'Buked"), Blues Suite ("Mean Ol' Frisco"), Night Creature, Divining and The Hunt. The performances not only highlight the creative and technical skills of the campers, but also serve as a dynamic display of the self-confidence, performance skills and pride developed during camp. In the New York area, the final performance for AileyCamp New York will be held at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture on Thursday, August 9 at 7pm and AileyCamp Newark's final performance will be held at New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Friday, August 10 at 7pm.
In partnership with local organizations, AileyCamps will provide a safe environment to motivate and educate students in cities nationwide including:
Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS - Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (May 29 - July 6)
Atlanta, GA - ATLANTA Ballet (May 31 - July 6)
Baltimore, MD - Towson University (June 18 - July 27)
Berkeley/Oakland, CA - Cal Performances (June 25 - August 3)
Chicago, IL - Chicago Park District and Academy for Urban School Leadership (June 25 - August 3)
Miami, FL - Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (June 25 - August 4)
Seattle, WA - Seattle Theatre Group (June 27 - August 3)
Bronx, NY - Children's Aid (July 2 - August 10)
Newark, NJ -New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Newark Public Schools (July 2 - August 10)
Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs are committed to bringing dance into classrooms, communities, and the lives of people of all ages. In addition to AileyCamp, programs include special student performances; lecture-demonstrations; technique classes; and innovative curriculum based residencies inspired by Revelations and Night Creature. For further details on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Ailey organization's performances, training programs and Ailey Arts In Education activities, visit http://www.alvinailey.org/AIE.