Middle-school participants in the tuition-free six-week dance program demonstrate
their new skills in a free and open-to-the-public performance on the UC, Berkeley Campus
Celebrating its twelfth summer, the Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp at Cal Performances will culminate in a 50-camper strong finale performance titled Listen… on Thursday, August 1 at 7:00 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse. Complete with professional staging, lights, costumes and live music, the 2013 session of the nationally acclaimed program showcases the youths’ training in ballet, jazz, modern and African dance. The camp was conceived by Alvin Ailey, founder of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and is locally produced by Cal Performances under the direction of David McCauley. “AileyCamp is arts education at its very best,” says Cal Performances’ Director Matías Tarnopolsky. “It has a transformative effect on every single participant’s life. They take back to their families, their schools and to their communities the essential values they have learned.” Comprised of 10 boys and 40 girls this summer, campers participate in a curriculum that includes dance instruction in addition to personal development, creative communications classes and field trips. The tuition-free camp admits underserved middle-school students from the Berkeley, Oakland, Richmond and Albany Unified School districts. Subject to availability, tickets for the performance of Listen… are free and available to the public at the Zellerbach Playhouse ticket office.
David McCauley, who has served as Director of the camp since its beginning in the 2001-2002 season, has titled this year’s end-of-camp performance Listen…. “As AileyCampers begin to create art this summer, we want to hear the their voices, to listen to stories about life from their perspective.” He continues, “I’m also thinking of all the ways we use the word listen. Parents admonishing their child, “You’ve got to listen to what I tell you!” Or the command, “Listen!” The warning, “Hey, Listen….” And the start of a story, “Listen to the tale I have to tell you.” So many ways to listen, and so many things to listen to.”
The Thursday, August 1 performance is free and open to the public. Tickets may be obtained in person at Cal Performances’ Ticket Office at Zellerbach Playhouse on the UC Berkeley campus starting Tuesday, July 23; remaining tickets may be available at the door, depending on demand.
BERKELEY/OAKLAND AILEYCAMP AT CAL PERFORMANCES
The first AileyCamp was founded in 1989 by Alvin Ailey and the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey; there are now ten camps throughout the country. Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp at Cal Performances opened its doors in June 2002; it is the only AileyCamp on the West Coast and on a major university campus. The campers receive two meals each day, a camp uniform and dance clothes. They participate in a curriculum that includes daily technique classes in ballet, Horton-based modern dance, jazz and West African dance. Dance and creative communications classes deepen the students’ awareness of their potential for self-expression; personal development classes provide counseling in nutrition, conflict resolution, drug abuse prevention, personal hygiene, decision-making and goal-setting. “I will not use the word can’t to define my possibilities,” is just one of the affirmations repeated daily to reinforce their goals, build self-confidence, and guide them on a path to becoming a productive and motivated individual. AileyCamp is not a training ground for professional dancers but instead uses dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem and critical thinking skills in underserved 6th, 7th and 8thgrade students. An important aspect of the program’s success is providing positive adult and peer role models. “When camp is finished, students will leave with valuable life skills and a sense of accomplishment that will help them navigate through the challenging years ahead,” McCauley says.
David W. McCauley began his dance training while a student, first at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and later at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has trained in ballet, modern, jazz, and ethnic dancing. As a dancer based in New York City, McCauley spent 15 years with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as student, instructor and performer. He also performed with the Pearl Primus Dance Company and Omega Liturgical Dance Company. Since 1990, he has been a resident of San Francisco, and has performed with Wing It! Performance Ensemble and Omega West Dance Company. Recently, McCauley became an adjunct faculty member of the Center for Art, Religion, and Education, an affiliated center of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and was awarded the AileyCamp Award of Excellence from the AileyCamp Foundation in recognition of his exemplary leadership and commitment, 2002-2011. The AileyCamp Award of Excellence was the first award of its kind from the AileyCamp Foundation and McCauley was the first one to receive it. A full time staff member at Cal Performances who also serves as a teaching artist, he has directed Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp at Cal Performances since its inauguration.
Rica Anderson is the Education and Programs Manager and a Teaching Artist for Cal Performances and the AileyCamp Administrator. Prior to Cal Performances, she worked for Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theater programs; was School Liaison and a Teaching Artist at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts; created educator guides for KQED’s Spark program; and participated in Harvard’s Project Zero Classroom.
Kenny Wang, a UC Berkeley junior double majoring in Theater and Performance Studies and Media Studies joins AileyCamp as the Administrative Assistant.
The whole teaching staff from last Summer is returning: Naomi Johnson Diouf (African dance), West African dance and culture teacher at Berkeley High School and Artistic Director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company in Oakland; Derrick Minter (modern dance), longtime AileyCamp teacher and dance professor at the University of Oklahoma; Priya Shah (ballet), a former faculty member of Ballet Pacifica Academy with a MFA in Dance and a BA in Psychology; Zari Le’on (jazz dance), dance instructor at Grand Canyon University, Middlebury College, Mills College and Scripps College and founder and creative director of Zari Le’on Dance Theater; Shawn Nealy (personal development), a percussionist with a Masters of Education from UCLA and a teacher with multiple years in the classroom in the Los Angeles, Oakland and Fremont Unified School Districts and Erika Padilla-Morales (creative communications), MFAs in Screenwriting and Creative Writing, previously a Media Arts Coach with Streetside Stories supporting educators and young people through video. Bronwyn Wrobel (guidance counselor), is a new member to the team, earned her Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies and has counseled children and their families for three years with a focus on art, play, and movement therapy. Returning musicians include pianist Frederick Harris and percussionists Madiou Sao Diouf and Darian LaFoucade.
Returning AileyCamp group leaders include LaKiesha Golden and former AileyCampers Tamara McCree (2002 alum) and Spencer Pulu (2005 alum). Newcomers Beth Ellis Dickson and Christine Velez join the AileyCamp team this year. Providing strong leadership, consistent support and guidance to each camper within their group, AileyCamp group leaders oversee AileyCampers throughout their camp day.
AileyCamp Diary, a webpage on Cal Performances’ website, will feature writings and images by staff and campers updated throughout the six-week camp. Go to www.calperformances.org/aileycampdiary.