Week 1 — June 27-July 1
First Field Trip
Check out the first article about 2011 AileyCamp at Cal Performances!
Berkeleyside — July 1 by Tracy Taylor: AileyCamp 2011
Every Friday, AileyCampers go on a field trip. For their first field trip, the 2011 AileyCamp at Cal Performances goes to OCSC Sailing at the Berkeley Marina.
|AileyCampers are ready for their day at the Berkeley Marina||OCSC Sailing owner Rich Jepson helps a camper with a life vest|
|First group of campers are ready to sail!||Skippers give the campers final safety instructions|
|The first group of campers head off on the Bay||The second group of campers play team building games; they will sail next|
|Team building games|
"I liked the food and that we got to sing and sail. I steered the boat! And it was my first time!" - A'maz'jhanai
"It was scary when I was in the place where the captain sleeps and the boat was tipping over and I thought we'd all go over. What was exciting was when the captain was driving the boat faster and faster." - Jahkahn
"It was really fun being on the front part of the boat and kind of scary when the sails would change direction and we'd lean to one side. The teambuilding was cool because we got to get out of our comfort zones." - Nailah
"I thought the boat was fun - the waves were rushing back and forth and some of them were big. When we all got together and sang songs that was fun too. It was kind of difficult working with everyone when we had to touch the things in the circle (teambuilding activity) because everyone had different opinions. But overall it was fun." - Kazhmira
"It was fun because I got to drive the boat. The captain just sat back and let us drive - even the youngest kids. He let us put up the sail and go look downstairs and all over the boat. The teambuilding guy was cool because he was funny - crazy funny. He had us bond - we came together and all worked as one team." - Malik
AileyCamp 2011 African Dance with Mama Naomi
It's only the first week of camp but AileyCampers are working hard. Take a peak at the African Dance class taught by Naomi Diouf.
2011 AileyCamp is up and dancing!
Campers arrived, ate breakfast, had a quick tour and overview of the next 6 weeks, got their dance clothes and AileyCamp T-shirts, named their groups with fabulous names starting with C-A-M-P and had their very first dance class--jazz with Zari Le'on. A very big day!
Announcing the 2011 Groups:
Cali(fornia) Dance Crew
|2011 AileyCampers arriving at Zellerbach Hall for the first time||First order of business, a group meeting on stage to choose group names|
|Getting to know each other with an ice-breaker game of Human Bingo||All campers are responsible for wearing their uniforms each day|
|Dressed and ready to go!||Dance shoes are next, fit is important|
|All camp dance class on stage at Zellerbach Hall||Jazz class for everyone on day one of camp|
Week 2 — July 5-July 8
Field Trip: Scavenger Hunt
The Friday Field Trip for Week 2 was a Scavenger Hunt on the UC Berkeley Campus. Led by faculty and staff, AileyCampers ventured out to solve the riddles and find campus landmarks using a map.
|A tableau exercise led by Rica Anderson|
|A poem writing activity led by Erika Padilla-Morales|
Campers were mixed into new groups, each bearing the identity of a global continent, and took roles: leaders, navigators, time keepers, sociologists, photojournalists, and scribes. The groups then solved riddles and used map reading skills to find their way to campus locations. When they arrived, they were given a 5 minute challenge related to the site. The overall winners of the Scavenger Hunt - the ones who finished soonest - could claim dessert at the dining hall on the following Monday.
Here are the riddles and the challenges.
Location: Graduate Assembly Pelican Building on Eshleman Road
Near a landmark gem on a road that ends with "man"
A unique water-bird laughs, "Catch me if you can!"
Challenge: A team-building activity led by Lina Assad-Cates, AileyCamp Counselor
The campus pride & joy is a tall, slim tower
That chimes its bells musically on the hour.
Challenge: A Drawing Rotation Activity led by David McCauley, AileyCamp Director
Location: Buckeye Tree / Faculty Glade
The "Tree of Wisdom" grows within this peaceful Glade
Near a club for professors, nestled in the shade
Challenge: A teambuilding activity called "Birdie in a Tree" led by Erika Padilla-Morales, Creative Communications instructor
Location: Memorial Pool between C.V. Starr, Doe & Moffitt Libraries
Circled by three libraries, maybe even four
This place that honors those killed in the Second World War
Challenge: A Jo'Kata (Aikido martial arts) activity led by Shawn Nealy, Personal Development Instructor
Location: Life Sciences Building
The Life Science Valley is where my bones reside
I was once a great King Rex, with power and pride
Challenge: A tableau exercise led by Rica Anderson, AileyCamp Administrator and Theater Teaching Artist
Location: Zellerbach Playhouse
After you've taken this brief tour of UCB
Make a piece at the Playhouse and let us all see!
Challenge: Outside Zellerbach Playhouse, Derrick Minter, Modern Dance Instructor, led a Choreography Challenge incorporating movement from each location challenges as well as the character of each groups' Continent identity
Jazz Dance Class with Zari Le'on
Take a peak at the Jazz Dance class taught by instructor Zari Le'on.
AileyCamp Class Spotlight: Modern Dance with Instructor Derrick Minter
|AileyCamp Modern Dance Instructor Derrick Minter|
As a former student, performer, instructor and rehearsal director with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Derrick Minter shares a wealth of knowledge about Mr. Ailey, his choreography and his legacy with the campers.
"I teach the basic elements of the Horton technique in my class - parallel positions and linear work. I've already seen in the campers a hunger to learn more, and I enjoy seeing them take chances. Sometimes they feel uncomfortable, but they face that challenge. They're looking forward to the performance, they know they're going to be a part of something special for our 10th anniversary.
I hope every camper brings their best self to camp and takes away the knowledge and the spirit of sharing. As a teacher, I'm inspired to give back all that was given to me. Alvin Ailey believed you can learn so much from young people. The campers keep me learning, they keep me on my toes, teach me to embrace what's happening in that moment and to think more deeply about what I teach.
At Alvin's funeral Maya Angelou read a poem, "When Great Trees Fall" which shows how his influence lives on - we instructors, and now the students we're teaching - we're all Alvin's branches reaching out into the world."
Week 3 — July 11-July 15
AileyCamp Fashion Show
Ailey camp staff and campers alike let their hair down for the annual camp fashion show, strutting down the white marley runway on Zellerbach Hall stage. Everyone had their moment in the spotlight, as campers assumed characters, showed off dance moves, and modeled some exceptionally original wardrobe combinations, including a few innovative uses of the classic dance tutu!
|On the racks, so many costumes to choose from||Backstage in the green room, volunteers ready their tools to fit campers to costumes|
|Staff and volunteers, transformed||Campers enjoying the staff performance before selecting their own fashion statements|
|A camper being helped into her costume||The buzz backstage|
|Look 1||Look 2||Look 3||Look 4||Look 5|
Look 1: Pretty pose in a top hat, tutu and parasol combo
Look 2: Newsboy assumes a pose at the end of the runway
Look 3: Wearing a formal-casual mix, note the bare feet
Look 4: Working the runway in a tutu-slinky pants combo
Look 5: The umbrella props lent a note of elegance
|Look 6||Look 7||Look 8|
Look 2: AileyCamp candy-cane jesters
Look 3: Two campers enjoying their runway experience
Swimming Field Trip to Strawberry Canyon pool
Though it was chilly on Thursday afternoon, campers enjoyed their field trip to Strawberry Canyon pool.
|Arriving at Strawberry Canyon|
|Hula-hoop exercises to warm up|
|It's too cold to get in the water-AileyCamp staff all in warm clothing on deck|
|AileyCamp has the whole pool to itself-thank you Berkeley fog!|
|Everyone in the pool!|
|Back on shore|
AileyCamp Open House
AileyCamp families and friends were able to get a glimpse of their children in action at the mid-session Open House on Wednesday, July 13. In group rotations, they made their way through morning and afternoon sessions of all four dance disciplines (modern, jazz, African, and ballet), Creative Communications and Personal Development. At the end, the visitors were invited on stage to participate in the class of their choice! Now they all know firsthand how hard the campers are working each and every day!
AileyCamp Class Spotlight: Ballet with Instructor Priya Shaw
"In Ballet class, we work on the three Cs. The first C is to Conform to a group in terms of moving as an ensemble, being in the same line and position and being still for as long as necessary. This is what you'd see in a Corps de Ballet, and working together as a unit is important when dancing together and in life.
The second C is Colors. Like an artist using a range of paints, we're making sure we can adapt to different styles of dance by developing the physical ability to meet challenges posed by different choreography.
Finally, the third C is Creativity. We're looking at the ballet Swan Lake and how a mechanical bird might move. The campers' generation has a lot of mechanical movements in their dance and I think it can overlap with ballet in terms of line, position and fluidity. So, I've asked the dancers to bring in 8-16 counts of their own movements and we're adapting these for our piece. The piece we're working on requires all three Cs. The ability to conform and to show colors is very important, but you're never going to stand out as a dance artist unless your creativity shines." - Priya Shaw, Ballet Instructor
Mask Making Project
This project was a collaboration between Creative Communications and Personal Development classes. Under the camp overall theme of "Transitions," AileyCampers considered:
- What I am
- What I show to the world
- Who I want to be
Creative Communications instructor Erika Padilla-Morales describes the mask making process:
First, Campers talked about how the process would happen:
- What it would be like to make a mask
- Two groups worked together, with each camper partnered with someone from the other group
- Discussed comfort and discomfort levels and trusting each other
- Each camper communicated instructions to their partner about how they wanted their mask to be:
Partial or full face
Mouth open or mouth closed
|A camper placing plaster strips along the outside of her partner's face|
Then, campers learned how to make the masks:
- Materials: plaster strips, water, Vaseline, protective plastic bag.
- One at a time, the person having mask made covered their clothes with the plastic bag and partners helped each other put Vaseline on his or her face.
- Process: Soak a plaster strip in water, squeeze out the excess water, and apply to the face, first along the outside and then filling in.
- 20-25 minutes to make a full mask and 20 minutes to dry on face.
- Each student spent about 40 minutes lying on the ground, trusting their partner to take care of them. Each pair needed to develop a system of communication, especially if the mouth was covered.
|Each team needed to develop a system of communication, especially if the mouth was covered||A student contemplating the results after emerging from her mask|
- There was some hesitation but no one outright refused to do a mask.
- The waiting, drying, emerging process was meditative for some, but others were more than ready to pull the mask off their face.
- Students needed instruction on how to remove the mask, and they had to let go of self consciousness to be successful.
- As they emerged, students played characters with their masks.
- Reflecting on the experience giving and getting the mask, campers were amazed at how cool the masks turned out, their sense of ownership, and how they bonded with each other throughout the process.
|Campers playing characters with their masks||Each camper got their own face mask in the shape they wanted|
Decorating the masks:
- Each camper made a list of personal qualities they show to the world and another list of qualities they are more guarded about.
- "I want the world to see me as..."
- Campers brainstormed colors, shapes, animals, icons to represent themselves.
- They painted the masks.
|Applying color to the masks|
- They decorated the masks with raffia, fur, feathers, extra paper, beads, shells and more to bring their masks to life.
- Campers played theater games with their masks.
"Wall of Me"
- Masks will be displayed with artist statements on the Zellerbach Hall Lobby Mezzanine for friends and family to enjoy at the final performance August 4.
Week 4 — July 18-July 22
AileyCamp auditions and talent show
On Friday, all campers participated in auditions, learning and performing movement from the different dance styles taught at AileyCamp, as well as some of Mr. Ailey's choreography. The goal of auditions is to get a sense of each camper's strengths, and to give them the experience of the audition process that professional dancers regularly undergo. Campers were nervous and excited and rose to the challenges presented to them with focus, energy and grace.
|Campers audition||The AileyCamp instructors serve as judges|
|Learning new steps from Zari Le'on|
|National AileyCamp Director Nasha Thomas Schmitt gives words of advice|
Afterwards, campers showed off other impressive performance skills at the Talent Show where they sang, played instruments and danced their hearts out.
AileyCamp Talent Show
Want to know the impact AileyCamp has on its campers? Read this article from San Francisco Classical Voice.
San Francisco Classical Voice — July 19 by Mark Macnamara: AileyCamp 2011
ASK LINA: Advice from Lina Assad Cates, AileyCamp Guidance Counselor
|Lina Assad Cates|
"How can I make friends in other groups?"
I appreciate that you're trying to branch out and get to know campers in other groups. AileyCamp gives you opportunities to do this on field trips, making masks in Creative Communications and everyday during breakfast and lunch. During these times, you can ask a new friend questions to get to know him or her and find out what you have in common. Remember to be a good listener!
"How can you speak your mind without hurting someone's feelings or creating a problem?"
Great (and tough) question! It is important to be assertive, without being aggressive. Remember to use "I" statements to say how you feel in a calm and direct manner. If you raise your voice and make "you" statements, others are more likely to feel hurt. Even if you do these things, your message may still be misinterpreted. If this happens, remember not to take it personally! You did your best to communicate in a positive way.
"What should you do if you change and your really good friend gets mad at you because you are different?"
Everybody changes, especially during middle school! However, change can be scary for your friends. They may feel left behind as you grow and mature. It is important to remember this when your friend gets mad. It may take them time to adjust. Also, keep in mind that it is okay to have different kinds of friends. Even though you have changed, you can still relate to an old friend.
"How do you deal with someone you don't like?"
The good news is that you do not have to be friends with everybody! But it is important to be courteous and respectful at all times, regardless of who you are interacting with. While you may not like a lot of things about someone else, it is helpful to focus on anything that you do like about them...even if it is something little. If necessary, remember to use the conflict resolution steps!
"How Do I Deal with a Conflict?"
1. Stop and Cool Off
2. Talk and Listen to Each Other. Each person tells their side of the story using "I" statements.
3. Accept Responsibility.
4. Brainstorm solutions. Suggest any idea.
5. Choose the solution you both agree on.
6. Go for it! Also, after you are done, evaluate (Would I choose that solution again?)
Ballet Class with Priya Shah
Take a look at the Ballet class taught by instructor Priya Shah.
AileyCamp Class Spotlight: Creative Communications with Instructor Erika Padilla-Morales
"In Creative Communications I want to give our students access to a macro level of communication. We'll work on how to share what we're seeing and experiencing, how we perceive things and create perceptions and we'll bring that back to our writing. I want campers to overcome fear about writing and feel joyful about it.
The campers began by exploring their identity, first through poems, and now through mask-making. We wanted them to make a mold of themselves and think about their interior - what they know to be true for themselves - and their exterior - what they show or want to show to the world. They'll paint and decorate the masks to express these two sides of ourselves that are always changing.
At first there was anxiety, they had to get over the discomfort of having their faces touched as the masks were created. But they really took care of each other and they pushed through the fear. Soon they were having fun and playing characters with their masks." - Erika Padilla-Morales, Creative Communications Instructor
Week 5 — July 25-July 29
As we are only one week away from the finale performance on August 4, AileyCampers are busy with rehearsals all week long. Take a look at the campers progress and listen to what each of the group leaders have to say about rehearsal week!
AileyCamp Class Spotlight: Personal Development instructor Shawn Nealy
"This year, the campers filled out commitment sheets at the beginning of my class. When they come into class they reaffirm the commitments they've made to do things like, 'Open up', or 'Become the leader I know I can be'. I want them to take ownership of their commitment - they have to say it with pride and strength - both vocally and with their body language. I want to remind them that if you don't fulfill your commitment, you've failed yourself, not anyone else. We're doing activities where the campers see different types of body language and notice what they might be saying with their own body language.
For the past four weeks we've really emphasized working as a collective. I stressed this in the very first week. They have to work together as a whole, not let anything disrupt their village because they're going to need each other more and more, especially during the last two weeks of camp as we prepare for the performance. I want them to understand AileyCamp's values and sense of community. Everything is done as part of a community here - I want them to embrace this and embody it." - Shawn Nealy, Personal Development Instructor
Week 6 — Aug 01-Aug 05
Congrats Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp 2011
You made it!
|Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp 2011 at Cal Performances|
Its almost time!
These last two weeks have been all about rehearsals as the campers fine tune their pieces. Camper excitement is growing each day as they get closer to performing on the Zellerbach stage for friends, family and an enthusiastic audience of 2000 people!
|The dancers' positions on stage need to be just right||The boys prepare to go over the Finale|
|Several dancers consider the deep emotion called for in 'Buked'||Reaching heavenward in 'Buked'|
How are you feeling about the upcoming performance?
"I feel good, excited, happy, proud." - Jahkahn Baysmore- Gulley
"I'm juiced! I'm ready for the performance." - Malik Smith
"I'm confident that I will do ok." - Jordan Johnson
How has your AileyCamp experience been?
"At first I wasn't sure I was going to like AileyCamp or have fun here, but I've learned a lot." - Sancia "Cece" Hamilton
"I've made a lot of new friends. I also trust myself now and know that I can do well." - Jordan Key
"It's been a good experience. Even when I don't get along with everyone, I've learned to make the best of it and put that aside on stage. It's not my focus. I've also liked helping people fix things like their hand positions so we can all look good." - Kiara Eastman
"The highlight has been that I learned different techniques to better myself in dance." - Shakara Hooks
AileyCamp Class Spotlight: Jazz Dance with Instructor Zari Le'on
"In class, we've worked on the building blocks of jazz technique: exercises like the jazz square, pas de bourree, ball change, weight change and rhythmic changes. Jazz is about combining movements from ballet and African, mastering these elements gives you the freedom to use them any way you want, and as with Modern Dance, you can then use your personal expression to work with a piece of music.
The students are learning to recognize the multilayered goal of Jazz, and learning to respect its complexity and freedom. They're learning that diligent practice is the cornerstone for all their dreams. First we have to hone and cultivate this discipline in our bodies in order to see the fruits of our labors. I want students to understand that practice makes perfect. For anything they want to do they have to stick with it - don't talk about it, be about it. Dance inspires me because I appreciate that it's a hard-working art form; that the building blocks for success - hard work, honesty and being present in the moment - are qualities that really take you somewhere." - Zari Le'on, Jazz Dance Instructor