After four dance classes a day, every day Monday through Friday, for six weeks, 250 AileyCamp t-shirts, 75 leotards, 10 daily affirmations, and several aching muscles later, 100 proud Miami-Dade County middle schoolers made professional dancing debut on Saturday, August 7, during the AileyCamp Miami final performance. The John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall was packed with more than 1500 beaming, clapping, shouting friends and family members supporting these young students’ journey that culminated with a triumphant leap across the stage!
The AileyCamp program is a full scholarship camp for at-risk youth in grades 6-8, that provides instruction in modern dance, ballet, West African, and jazz, plus creative communication and personal development classes – all at no cost to campers and their families. No dance experience is necessary, but that was hardly evident during the culminating performance as dancers took to the stage with confidence and abandon, glittering technique and shining spirits. The evening’s program, titled Soulstice, honored the astounding 20-year contribution of Alvin Ailey’s Artistic Director, Judith Jamison and, as Adrienne Arsht Center president and CEO M. John Richard remarked, it also showcased the dancers “boundless soul.” When all 100 campers filled the stage for the finale, performing a section from the Ailey classic, Revelations, the students became part of dance history, keeping a legacy alive through the magic of live performance.
Although only in its second year at the Adrienne Arsht Center, AileyCamp has already staked its claim as one of the most vital and moving programs of the entire season – as evidenced by the ushers, quietly wiping away tears.
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