A dance camp, motivating kids to learn more than just dance skills

June 11, 2019 - 4:00 am
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Kansas City, MO - AileyCamp is a six week summer dance camp created to give youth an opportunity to learn life skills through dance that wouldn't otherwise get the opportunity. Monica Stoneking with Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey says the youth are learning all different kinds of dance, but they're also learning to be leaders. 

"Hip hop, ballet, jazz, it's really incorporating all different types, of not just dance, but art and ways to express themselves. They learn communication skills," explains Stoneking. 

Everyone that comes through the camp brings a different set of skills and needs, according to Stoneking. "The staff is trained to look for those needs and they're very compassionate. Having the same background as most of the kids attending the camp, they're able to speak to that." 

A number of classes are offered, not just dance, that include goal setting, nutrition, conflict resolution, positive self-image, and career and leadership development.
 
"We have teachers on staff that are experts in their field. The biggest thing that we do is the final performance, where you have these kids that may have been timid or shy at the beginning of camp, that are proud to be on stage and show off their skills," explains Stoneking.

Many former campers have come back to teach at the summer day camp. Each year, 100 boys and girls in Missouri and 100 in Kansas are selected to attend Ailey Camp for free. Each dancer receives breakfast, lunch and daily dance classes, along with dance attire, dance shoes and a dance bag. 

Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey will host open houses for its 2019 AileyCamp program, June 11 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, 4747 Flora Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64110. Also on  June 12 from 10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Eisenhower Middle School, 2901 N. 72nd Street, Kansas City, KS 66109. 

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