Mission: To use the power of dance to enrich and positively impact the lives of children.
About the Organization: Founded in 1989 by Alvin Ailey — the late dancer, choreographer, and founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater — and the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, AileyCamp is a full-scholarship six-week day camp that uses dance to help youth between the ages of 11 and 14 develop self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression, and critical-thinking skills. Camps are targeted to students with academic, social, and domestic issues — which often increase a young person's risk of dropping out of school — as well as those who have limited opportunities to develop their artistic interests. Part of the Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs, AileyCamps pride themselves on providing kids with positive adult and peer role models and the opportunity to explore their creativity, master their bodies, and strengthen their self-respect and respect for others within a supportive framework.
Current Programs: AileyCamp programs are offered in July and August in cities across the United States, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Berkeley/Oakland, Chicago, Newark, New York, Kansas City (both Kansas and Missouri), Miami, and Seattle. The program offers classes in dance techniques ranging from ballet to jazz, tap, and West-African dance; personal development classes focused on goal setting, positive self-image and self-awareness, conflict resolution, and career and leadership development; and creative communication classes, which include projects and workshops in visual arts, creative writing, and personal expression. Each six-week AileyCamp culminates in a final performance in which students perform in an original production of specially choreographed dances, poetry readings, and theatrical improvisations. Tuition, uniforms, dance attire, field trips, breakfast, and lunch are provided to all students free of charge.
While AileyCamps are not meant to be a training ground for professional dancers, some students are awarded scholarships for further study at the Ailey School or pursue training at other accredited dance schools.
Funding: AileyCamps are supported by local organizations and foundations, including the Fund II Foundation, the Meringoff Family Foundation, the Simin & Herb Allison Arts In Education Endowment Fund, and Prudential.