What started as a community outreach for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater is now changing the lives of kids across the country. AileyCamp utilizes dance as a vehicle to impact the lives of children. A national program, AileyCamps can be found in cities like Miami.
AileyCamp Miami welcomes kids ages 11-14 for a six-week summer program. Jairo Ontiveros, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement for the Arsht Center, where the camp takes place, tells Parentology, “Most of the middle schoolers come from underrepresented, underserved and at-risk communities.” Students apply for spots in the spring, go through an interview process and are selected by the staff. The selection process is often a combination of determining which students would be a good fit and would also benefit most from what the program has to offer.
You don’t have to be a dancer to participate, because it’s not just about dance. Both experienced dancers and students with no dance experience are all welcomed at AileyCamp. The idea is that dance can help teach students life skills that will help them as they grow and mature. “At AileyCamp Miami, dance is the vehicle for learning self-discipline, growing self-esteem, improving communication, so students at every skill level will be able to learn,” according to Ontiveros.
AileyCamp Miami hopes to give students at this critical age the confidence and poise needed as they face the challenges of adolescence. Students participate in daily personal development and creative communication classes. They learn about things like conflict resolution, drug prevention, nutrition and critical thinking. AileyCamp hopes to bridge the gap between academics and emotional intelligence kids need to navigate young adulthood, “When they come to AileyCamp Miami, they stretch their minds, and use their voices to harness their own power. Our goal is to help them boost their self-esteem through the arts before entering their high school years,”Ontiveros says.
The proof of concept lives in AileyCamp Miami alumni via their accomplishments and continued involvement in the program. “Former campers have been accepted to prestigious performing arts programs including NYU’s Tisch School, Miami City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School,” Ontiveros says. “They’ve gone on to pursue higher education in the fields of arts and
The connection doesn’t conclude when camp ends. For their part, The Arsht Center tries to maintain
AileyCamp Miami continues to grow its reach and broaden its impact by serving students that need it most.
AileyCamp Miami: Sources
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Jairo Ontiveros, Vice President of Education and Community Engagement for the Arsht Center