Week 1 — June 21-25
First Field Trip
For AileyCamp's first field trip of the summer, the camp went sailing at OCSC Sailing School in the Berkeley Marina. Before setting sail, the campers worked with Mike Walsh on a series of fun team-building activities.
Hear what some of the campers had to say:
It was pretty cool for my 1st experience sailing, but we didn't get to sail for as long as I would have wanted. -Isiah B., 12 years, Group M
It was the first time I've ever been on a boat before. It was scary at first, kind of wobby and the water was cold. But I had fun and it was cool! -William S., 12 yrs old, Group M
We did lots of teamwork building and worked on trust and communication with others. It was really fun!- Aziza T., 12 yrs old, Group M
It was fun! It was windy, but it was fun learning about the boat and the steps that are done to make it sail. The ending game we played was fun and filled me with lots of energy. - Myah Overstreet, 12 yrs old, Group A
It was fun! I learned a lot about team building and how to be more respectful, and that every job takes a team. - Lubo, 13 yrs old, Group P
It was fun, chilly at first. I learned a lot about how to steer the boat. It was my first time on a boat, and it was lots of fun!- Anna Paula, 11 yrs old, Group M
It was a new experience for me and I learned to try new things. I was afraid to go on the boat, but my friends encouraged me not to be scared, and I had fun!- Ashleigh T, 13 yrs old, Group A
|Team-building activity||Singing "Yo-Ho, Yo-Ho, A Pirates' Life for Me"|
|All smiles before sailing||On the boat with OCSC instructor|
Meet the 2010 Berkeley/Oakland AileyCampers
This year's AileyCampers look sharp in their new uniforms. With their hair pulled back, shirts tucked in and exuding great energy, each group strikes a pose with their group leader on Sproul Plaza. Their first assignment at AileyCamp was working as a team to create a group name.
|Group C - Courageous Movers|
|Group A - Amazing Ailey's|
|Group M - Madaldal Morphin' Ailey Rangers!|
|Group P - Phunky Phresh People|
First day of camp!
As Summer has officially begun, Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp at Cal Performances is off and dancing! 50 middle-schoolers will be gaining life skills through the discipline of ballet, modern, African and jazz dance. On their first day of camp, campers collect their AileyCamp gear, uniforms and ballet shoes.
|The official AileyCamp logo||AileyCamper receives her backpack|
|AileyCamper excited about her t-shirt||AileyCampers get fitted for their ballet shoes|
|AileyCamper puts her name in her shoes||First day of dance class|
|First day of dance class||AileyCamp Director David McCauley with AileyCampers|
Week 2 — June 28-July 2
This week at AileyCamp, the campers were treated to a scavenger hunt around the UC Berkeley campus. The campers were divided into five groups and were given riddles that would direct them to the five different locations on campus. At each destination, the groups were given exercises for which they all needed to work together to complete. Once they are done with the mission, the campers moved on to the next stop. Through these different tasks, the campers learned to use their creativity and the importance of group work in order to complete the hunt.
|Group Asia||Group Africa|
|Group South America||Group Europe|
|Group Australia||The campers search UC Berkeley map to find their destination|
|Mission 1: To draw the campus most famous landmark, the Campanile||Mission 2: To create a tableau mimicking the dinosaur|
|Mission 3: To all fit inside a pre determined space defined by a rope||Mission 4: Learn the art of Jo Kata|
|Mission 5: Create a Haiku||Mission 5: Create a dance|
AileyCamp guidance counselor Ann Wiederhold explains a conflict resolution system she uses called P.O.O.CH, which stands for Problems Options Outcomes CHoice. AileyCampers are encouraged to think of multiple solutions to a problem and then decide which solution would work best. AileyCamper Serenity helps demonstrate (length: 1:50; 2010)
Creative Communications Class
|"Professional artist study and consider their inspirations, so I wanted the campers to watch a story in which a young person feels inspired by her deceased father (Akeela and the Bee, 2006). After watching the film, we had a quick talk about muses and how they inspire creativity. In an artist party atmosphere, we made personal muses out of paper bags and craft supplies. I decorated the room with symbols of earth, wind, water, and fire-- the four elements signifying our limitless creativity. With our muses, we'll continue the creative process to produce films of our own."-Anya Booker, Creative Communications Instructor (pictured left)|
In Creative Communcations class this week, AileyCamp instructor Anya Booker is having the AileyCampers create something that inspires them; a muse. With an assortment of colored papers, stickers, magazines and die cuts to choose from, the AileyCampers use their imagination to express what inspires them.
|Everyone create away||Looking for inspirations|
|Work in progress||Adding the finishing touches|
|Finished muse: Cookie Monster||This AileyCamper's muse is Space||Finished muse: Sports|
Week 3 — July 5-9
AileyCamp makes a splash
Before heading off to the Strawberry Canyon pool for a day of sun shine and swimming, the Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp had its annual fashion show on Zellerbach stage. The event featured costumes accrued from past AileyCamp finale performances and donations from other dance organizations. The fashion show allowed the staff to see what costumes are available for the final performance and it gave the campers a chance to express themselves individually.
|Look at all the costumes||AileyCamp staff helps to pick out outfits for the campers|
|Pose for the camera||Waiting for the show to start|
A few highlights from the fashion show.
"The fashion show was the highlight of today 'cuz I got to be a crazy disco guy with purple sparkly pants." - Josiah McQuinn
"I liked the runway because we got to break out of our shells and show our fashionista side!" - Myah Overstreet
"I loved the fashion show because I like fashion and want to be a fashion designer when I get older. I also liked jumping in the water during swimming!" - Franny Humbert
"The fashion show was great because everyone participated and it was really fun." - Alanna Birden
"The fashion show was fun & weird - we had crazy costumes! We got to be creative with our outfits and act out. The Grand Finale was the weirdest part - all those tutus! And swimming was cold at first, but then the sun came out. Yeah, today was good." - Gianni Pina
At Strawberry Canyon pool, AileyCampers enjoyed pool side activities like hula hooping and sun bathing as well as making a big splash at the pool.
|Hula hoop contest||Taking in some vitamin D|
AileyCamp instructor Priya Shah and pianist Frederick Harris head up the Ballet class this year. Take a peek at what the campers learned during class:
AileyCamp Open House
This week is AileyCamp's open house. Throughout Wednesday, family and friends of campers were taken to the various classes to get a behind-the-scene look at AileyCamp. And for the first time in nine years, the families were asked to participate in classes along with the campers. For many parents and friends, this truly was an eye opening experience.
"Absolutely inspirational. This camp instills responsibility, understanding of personal hygiene and confidence," said Laine Demetria, mother of camper Ariel Demetria. "It's dance but beyond dance."
"Phenomenal. It is truly remarkable to see this," said Tomas Galguera, father of camper Mateo Galguera. "My son is excited about the camp even when he comes home. This is a wonderful experience and I'm surprised I haven't heard about it earlier."
|AileyCampers in ballet class||Friends and families observe the camp|
|Some of the family members joined in on the fun||A team building exercise from Personal Development class|
Week 4 — July 12-16
AileyCampers Got Talents
On Friday, AileyCamper were put through an audition process to get ready for the finale performance on July 29, 2010. The AileyCamp staff served as judges and the campers showed off what they have learned over the past four weeks of camp.
|AileyCampers take auditions seriously|
|AileyCamp instructor shows a piece of choreography||The judges deliberate|
After the audition, the camp held its first annual talent show where campers danced, performed and showed off their skills. Take a look!
Modern Dance Class
AileyCamp instructor Derrick Minter heads up the Modern dance class this year. Take a peek at what the campers learned during class:
Personal Development class
|"I want Personal Development to be all about self-discovery and self-growth, where the students learn about who they are as individuals, how they show up in the world and how their presence may have a positive or negative impact on others. I also want them to learn responsibility, to practice integrity and to be accountable for their actions."- Shawn Nealy, Personal Development Instructor (pictured left)|
We sat down with Shawn Nealy, the Personal Development instructor for AileyCamp, and talked about her approach to teaching and what she hopes the campers will take away from her class.
What kinds of activities are campers doing in Personal Development class?
One activity we do is deconstructing media images and this provides campers with the opportunity to take a look at how the media shapes or decides what beauty is and how women and their bodies are used in negative ways to sell products. Students choose a photo from a magazine and break it down, looking at what is implied in the ad: Is the picture related to the ad at all? Is sexual content used to sell the product? They analyze these ads in a way they've never done before. The purpose of this activity is for these young people to recognize they are beautiful the way they are and they don't need to conform to what society says is beautiful, because that's usually based on one particular standard.
What do you want students to take away from AileyCamp?
I want them to leave with an "I Can" attitude, knowing that anything is possible as long as they have a positive attitude and are able to remove "I can't" from their vocabulary and surround themselves with people who have a positive influence on them.
Can you talk about student growth and development you've seen over the last few weeks?
I've seen girls who were kind of timid in their behavior in the first few weeks of camp, and how AileyCamp has given them confidence in themselves and allowed them to see the skills they carry, to follow through on these skills and to live up to them.
What inspires you as a teacher?
My mother and elders who were very important in my life inspire me. I look to them, because they always took time to sit down with me when I was a young girl and tell me about their history, what shaped them, and who inspired and encouraged them. Along with that, they told me the history of our ancestors, and as a young child it gave me roots and foundation of knowing who I am in this world. And this gave me a thirst for knowledge about the histories of all people and a desire to understand how the past affects our present.
Week 5 — July 19-23
Instead of a field trip on Friday, the AileyCampers were busy rehearsing for the final performance on Thursday, July 29 at 7:00 p.m. The campers are working extra hard and focusing all of their attention for their big day!!
|AileyCamp instructor shows a piece of choreography||Campers are focused!|
|AileyCamp Director David McCauley and Cal Performances Director Matias Tarnopolsky observe the rehearsal||Campers paying attention as the instructors talk|
|5 weeks of training shows!|
Group Leader Reflections
|(Clockwise from top) Guiliana Blassi, Sheila Coleman, Yejede Najee-Ullah, LaKiesha Golden and Malia T. Jones|
AileyCamp group leaders found a moment in their busy schedule to reflect on this year's camp, sharing their observations and memorable moments!
Group Leader Yejede Najee-Ullah (Group C- Courageous Movers)
The 9th year of AileyCamp is turning out to be different from all the years previous to it. I've experienced years where the dancers have been outstanding. The years where I wondered how the shows were going to come together. The years where we laughed, the years where we cried, and the years where I were covered in goose bumps. This year I am filled with astonishment at the increased maturity of my group! The change that I have witnessed from week 1 to now is unbelievable. From having to keep my kids in check every minute to watching them shine as featured dancers has been the highlight of camp for me this year. The show isn't even here yet and I am already proud of my kids-- not only my group, but every single camper.
Group Leader Malia T. Jones (Group A-Amazing Aileys)
"That's what the arts are all about: taking your experience and putting it down." While sharing a piece of Ailey legacy and artistic wisdom, AileyCamp Director David McCauley encouraged fifty fidgeting, curious and excited students that their personal journeys are their most powerful artistic assets. Even more than this, he reassured each camper that there is a space in the world waiting to be inspired and filled by their strengths, struggles, fears and joys. The students already fill so many lives. They fill the lives of the Berkeley community members who smile as they watch the students congregate excitedly down the sidewalk to the dining hall. They fill each other's lives as they ride the AileyCamp bus in the morning, half-asleep, half-ecstatic, creating intermingling conversations about camp choreography and giggling gossip about the "fine" boy they glimpse outside the bus window. They fill the lives of the Zellerbach Hall staff who are so graciously and joyfully subjected to the hallway ruckus and audible choreography which has become the daily soundtrack of their workplace. Finally, each day the students, a sometimes calamitous collage of smiles, frustrations, hard work and hope, fill Zellerbach Hall with the mission to "greet each day with love in [their] hearts"- reminding every staff member and camper that as we pour into the Berkeley campus the spirit and legacy of Alvin Ailey, that the heart is the most important tool of expression and the most crucial vessel to be filled.
Group Leader LaKiesha Golden (Group M-Madaldal Morphin Ailey Rangers)
As a Group Leader I've had the pleasure of witnessing campers in the dance technique classes go from struggling with movements to having a better grasp to feeling more confident about performing. I've also observed them grow in Creative Communication and Personal Development as they express themselves through voice, movement, song and writing. What a joy! This is such a great experience, as it allows me to impress upon the campers my life and dance experiences, including helpful hints or rules of thumb; which often tend to be exactly what they hear again from one of the instructors when they're in class-I love it! It proves that we all have one goal and that is to ensure the campers have the best learning experience possible here at AileyCamp! As an Educator and an Artist, I'm able to relate the classroom to the Arts and to assist with stressing the importance of the Arts in Education, hence a program such as AileyCamp! The campers may not recognize until later just how much they actually received out of their AileyCamp experience, but I'm confident that they will at some point.
Group Leader Sheila Coleman (Group P-Phunky Phresh People)
AileyCamp is a special place where students learn life s skills and how to serve as valuable members of a community. One of my highlights as a group leader is witnessing my students with "tough shells" go from projecting anger to shedding tears to spreading their light. For these students especially, because AileyCamp is a safe environment where every single student is known and cared about, their experience is life changing. It is humbling to consider that AileyCamp survives the passing of its visionary, Mr. Alvin Ailey, and the staff and campers are part of his powerful legacy.
Giuliana Blasi (All Camp group leader)
Focus in...On fifty young people in a tight formation on Zellerbach stage, rehearsing an excerpt from Revelations. "I've been buked and I've been scorned..." Before rows upon rows of seats waiting to be filled, the campers seem to tell a story as they contract and reach their bodies as one larger body. Watching from the side, I am touched by the beauty of their effort and their dancing that in this moment. Rewind... To four weeks ago, while assisting the first few dance classes, my hopes were set on campers' improvement. However, I still saw them as individuals, not yet as a collective unit or company in their own right. With eyes set to the future... Family, friends and community supporters applaud for the campers-turned performers, if only for one night. These are a resilient, confident group of young people, and I hope that their collective experience at AileyCamp will strengthen them as they continue to grow.
|Group leader Sheila Coleman helps campers remember the movements for I Been 'Buked|
African Dance Class
AileyCamp instructor Naomi Johnson Diouf and percussionists Madio Sao Diouf and Darian LaFoucade head up the African dance class this year. Take a peek at what the campers learned during class:
Week 6 — July 26-30
Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp 2010 Graduation
Following a phenomenal performance on Thursday night, the last day of AileyCamp concluded with a graduation ceremony and lunch reception. Zellerbach Hall was packed with friends and family members of this year's graduating class. During graduation, Katie Kruger (Shawl-Anderson Dance Center), Salim Rollins (Destiny Arts), Naomi Diouf (Diamano Coura West African Dance Company) and CK Ladzepko (East Bay Center for the Performing Arts) spoke about different opportunities to remain active in the arts world. Following the panel discussion, campers were given their diplomas and special awards. An AileyCamp graduation would not be complete without a short performance on stage. Modern dance instructor Derrick Minter led the camp for one last dance on stage.
|Friends and family members attends graduation||Campers show appreciation to the AileyCamp staff|
|Camper Awards||More hugs|
|The final dance on stage|
Thank you very much for all of your love and support for this year's AileyCamp!
It's Almost Time...
Without giving too much away, take a sneak peek at the AileyCamp final performance rehearsal!!!
|Rehearsing I Been 'Buked|
|Trying out the costumes for ballet class|