AileyCamp tries to dance around budget cuts

Comments:  | Leave A Comment

The sounds of African drums could be heard from outside of the field house at Garfield Park. Inside of the dance studio, nearly 80 kids, with adults sitting in chairs around the room, watch a man in the center of the room dance to the beat of African drum

The sounds of African drums could be heard from outside of the field house at Garfield Park. Inside of the dance studio, nearly 80 kids, with adults sitting in chairs around the room, watch a man in the center of the room dance to the beat of African drums being played by two men. To the side, there is a mother watching him as intently as the student dancers, moving her body the same way the man is. He finishes, and the students are arranged in rows. He snaps his fingers and row after row, line after line, the dance is repeated.

This was the scene at AileyCamp Chicago’s Open House, held on July 15. The extraordinary camp is celebrating 10 years of providing a holistic dance camp to thousands of children across the country. The camp, a program offered by The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, runs in 10 cities: Los Angeles, Kansas City, Mo.; Kansas City, Ks.; Boston, Berkeley, Atlanta, New York City, Staten Island, N.Y. and Chicago.

Ailey_Camp_by_Sheila_Black.jpg

Ailey_Camp2_by_Sheila_Black.jpg

“Art saves lives. I’ve seen dance save lives. I’ve seen kids who, without this program, wouldn’t have graduated from high school,” said Lisa Johnson-Willingham, director of AileyCamp Chicago and a dancer herself. During the Open House, one male camper had trouble getting a particularly complex dance. Johnson-Willingham showed the young dancer the correct moves until they were both able to do the dance in tandem.

Dances like these were almost not going to be learned by the campers this year. The camp was hit by the recent state budget cuts, resulting in the loss of $30,000.

______

To read the rest of this article, subscribe to our digital or paper edition. For previous editions, contact us for details.

Copyright 2009 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tags:

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 316 other followers