Miami dance camp brings out new confidence in students

AileyCamp helps students bring out true selves

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MIAMI – Campers in Miami are learning a variety of artistic talents this summer that will help them learn about themselves. 

AileyCamp Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County teaches students West African dance to modern dance, as well as poetry and life skills.  

They also have other classes available to the campers, such as creative communication where the students journal and write poetry.

Each year, only 110 students are chosen out of hundreds of Miami-Dade County students, ages 11 to 14, who apply. 

Campers get the entire elite experience, with breakfast and lunch served, transportation, clothes and dance classes free of charge.  

The Arsht Center runs the entire program, raising money throughout the year to fully fund it.

The Arsht Center staff is also very involved. They serve the meals for the campers and provide encouragement throughout the day.

"For them, it's six weeks that is really life changing. It's the power of the arts that transforms them," said Jairo Oliveros, assistant vice president of education and community engagement at The Adrienne Arsht Center.

Former Ailey camper, Deonte Jenkins, is now one of the creative communications instructors. 

"I can say that AileyCamp was the beginning of everything for my artistic side and my personal development," said Jenkins, who is now a theater dance major with a scholarship at the University of Florida. 

The camp gives the children a confidence they never knew they had. 

"Coming from the inner city, you are used to like people being, 'Oh, you gonna be the next football player, the next basketball player.' What about the next dancer, the newest singer, the next actor?" Jenkins said.