Education & Community Programs > AileyCamp

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STG AileyCamp students in matching yellow shirts.

Photo by Christopher Nelson

About AileyCamp

Seattle Theatre Group AileyCamp launched in the summer of 2016, establishing a deeper partnership with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. STG AileyCamp, in memory of longtime Ailey Production Director, STG friend and Tacoma native Calvin Hunt, offers a free six-week camp for youth ages 11 - 14, using the power of dance and personal development to support middle school youth in developing a heightened awareness of their full potential, self-confidence, critical thinking skills and decision making skills to navigate difficult challenges. Created by Alvin Ailey and brought to the Seattle Area by Seattle Theatre Group, AileyCamp combines disciplined dance training, personal development, creative writing, visual art instruction, and percussion classes to support youth in developing respect for themselves and others that meaningfully impact their lives.

During this six-week program, campers take daily dance classes from experienced teaching artists in popular styles such as West African, jazz, ballet, percussion and the Lester Horton technique (which is the basis of Alvin Ailey's works). The campers also participate in daily Personal Development and Creative Communication courses focusing on: how to empower young people to direct their own lives; how to prevent drug abuse; improve nutrition; and using visual art as an effective means of expressing thoughts and feelings.

Conceived in 1989, this vital program has reached thousands of youth across the country, providing direction and hope to youth who are most in need of knowing there can be a bright future. The Seattle Theatre Group® AileyCamp is the 10th AileyCamp site in the United States, bringing to Seattle, South King County and Tacoma, a program that stimulates, presents positive themes, and provides role models and mentors - impacting their lives now, as they move into their high school years and beyond.

 

Click here to read Seattle Refined's piece on Seattle Theatre Group AileyCamp.

image of young dancers talking Click here to see the NBC News story on AileyCamp.

Apply For AileyCamp

Applications for the 2019 program are now closed. Stay tuned for 2020!

 

WHEN (new start date!): The 2019 Seattle Theatre Group AileyCamp begins July 1, 2019 and ends August 2, 2019. Camp begins at 8:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm and runs Monday – Friday.

WHERE IS THE CAMP LOCATED?:Seattle Theatre Group AileyCamp will be held at: Beach Park Event Center, 22030 Cliff Avenue South in Des Moines, WA.

Please click here for more AileyCamp Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)

 

Please join us: STG AILEYCAMP FINAL PERFORMANCE
August 1, 2019 at 7:00 pm
The Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Avenue in Seattle, WA
FREE

The STG AileyCamp Final Performance is a celebration of the growth and accomplishment of the campers ages 11-14. Come enjoy dance, spoken word, and visual art from their six-weeks of hard work!

image of students dancing at AileyCamp

Click above to watch the STGtv episode about AileyCamp.

Donate Today!

Your support is needed to make AileyCamp available to middle school-aged youth in need of increased access to confidence building arts experiences.

Meet Our STG AileyCamp Staff

CAMP DIRECTOR

Shawn Roberts serves as the Seattle Theatre Group AileyCamp, Dance for PD®, and Dance with Life Director. She is the founding School and Education Director of Spectrum Dance Theater, under the Artistic Direction of Donald Byrd, where she directed, taught, and produced youth and pre-professional performances for over 18 years. She is applauded for her profound work in transforming Spectrum’s community dance classes into a successful curriculum-based school with over 500 students for beginning through pre-professional dancers. In 2008, Ms. Roberts completed the Mark Morris Dance Group, Dance for PD® teacher training and has been teaching classes, developing, and directing the program in Seattle for the past ten years - helping to bring the STG program from one class in 2009 to a thriving program with seven class sites that serve hundreds of students per year with Parkinson’s disease. In 2015, Ms. Roberts completed the pilot for Dance for PD® Teacher Certification Program, making her one of the first certified Dance for PD® teaching artist in the nation, outside of the founding teachers David Leventhal and John Higginbotham. Also, in 2015 Ms. Roberts helped STG and Ailey launch STG AileyCamp, the 10th AileyCamp in the Nation. Ms. Roberts knows the impact that dance can have on the quality of people’s lives and is grateful to be serving the Puget Sound Area through the dance programs she directs.

CAMP ADMINISTRATOR

Michaelin Andrea Thomas is an actress, teaching artist, and media specialist from Connecticut. Ever since her first involvement with the stage, she’s believed that theatre has the power to transform lives. Before she officially moved to Seattle she graduated from Eastern Nazarene College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts and Writing. During her years at ENC she immersed herself in the theater arts program. She has been a children’s teaching artist for the CRJ: Center of Responsibility and Justice stationed in Bronxville, NY. Her recent productions include For Colored Girls, Honk!, Medea, Bye Bye Birdie, and A Raisin in the Sun. Last year she was invited to act in the New York Fringe Festival as the role of “5” in The Bible Woman’s Project. Michaelin has spent the past 2 years working with STG on the Disney Musicals in Schools productions of 101 Dalmations for Kids, The Lion King for kids and Aladdin for kids. She wants to continue working with youth to help them find comfort in the arts and their own creativity. She is very excit- ed to continue her journey working with STG.

GUIDANCE COUNSELORS

Lashon Watson, LMHC, MHP, CMHS, NCC - This is Lashon’s third year, working as a guidance counselor with Seattle Theater Group AileyCamp. Throughout the year, Lashon provides support to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, AileyCamp site directors and staff, presenting lectures on adolescent psychological and social growth & development, and comprehensive and clinical mental health support to teaching artists. Lashon serves the community of Seattle as owner of Watson Therapeutic & Wellness Center, PLLC. His credentialing consists of Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Mental Health Practitioner, Child Mental Health Specialist, and board certified counselor with the NBCC. Lashon works as an adjunct faculty member at Antioch University Seattle, teaching graduate level coursework in Mul- ticultural Perspectives to students who aspire in becoming clinical therapist. As well, providing behavioral health Employee Assistance Program (EAP) interventions that are designed to identify and assist employees in resolving personal, social, and psychological problems within company and organization. Prior to becoming a therapist, Lashon took on projects as a stage and independent film actor, performing arts educator, and teaching artist within various theater and production companies, throughout greater King County and Seattle, WA. During times of relaxation, Lashon enjoys: traveling, listening to favorite music, watching movies, eating vegetarian/vegan foods, and investing time with friends and family.

L. Allen Crosby, MA, LMHC is a native Washingtonian (from DC, the other Washington). She graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in African-American Studies. L went on to earn her master’s degree from Trinity Washington University in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. To further broaden her work, she is pursuing her PhD in Counselor Education & Supervision an emphasis on Trauma and Crisis at Walden University. Outside of her practice as a psychotherapist, she brings a wealth of professional and real-world expertise to AileyCamp. She has worked on Capitol Hill (Women’s Issues), in the non-profit sector (Program Development & Management), for DC Government (Child and Family Services Agency) and for DC Public Schools (Early Stages). Her additional clinical experience includes working with those who are justice involved, living with HIV/AIDS and with communities plagued by homelessness. As a mental health professional, social justice advocate, educator and mentor, she is passion- ate about promoting clinicians of color and creating clinical visibility and access to mental health treatment within black and brown communities. In her spare time she enjoys the theater (especially Ailey), traveling abroad, interior design, antique shopping and spending time with family and friends.


MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS AND MUSICIANS

STG AileyCamp is privileged to have a staff of outstanding teachers and musicians. Each instructor is a person recognized in his or her field (dance, writing, human relations, music, visual arts) and has a special interest in working with young people.

CREATIVE COMMUNICATION

Maria Guillen-Valdovinos (www.poesiamariarte.com) is a Visual Creative Artist, Visual Arts Educator, & Indigenous Human Rights Observer based in Occupied Coast Salish Territory. Born in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero and raised in the Pacific Northwest; she graduated from the University of Washington in 2010 and was a Per- former at BBC’s 100 Women-Mexico City Festival 2016; A Published Writer featured in “Chapter 9: Travels of a Diaspora Community: From La Sierra Madre Y Tierra Caliente to the Pacific Northwest” MEXICAN-OR- IGIN FOODS, FOODWAYS, AND SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: A DECOLONIAL PRESPECTIVES, The Uni- versity of Arkansas Press 2017; a Journal Publication “Xin Fronteras”, Seattle Journal for Social Justice: Vol.10: Iss.1, Article 28. 2011, Seattle University School of Law. She loves fluffy things, flowers and oceans. (Pronouns: She/Her/They)

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Halisha Anderson is a licensed marriage and family therapist associate (LMFTA). Earning a graduate degree in Master of Arts in Counseling; and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis in youth and adolescent services from City University of Seattle. Halisha believes in the importance of a healthy mind, body, and soul. The journey of personal development is one that requires movement such as goal setting, self-awareness, self-confidence, vulnerability, courage, and bravery despite the outcome and recognizing the power of adaptation and self-respect. As personal strengths are being gained so is the clarity to problem solve that leads to critical thinking and making informed choices. By focusing on the holistic individual, it allows for a homogenous learning environment that is free from judgement and guilt. Halisha believes in order for a student to achieve success they need the proper tools and basic needs to focus and gain autonomy in the learning environment. With experience that is well-rounded, Halisha has identified the importance of learning as it relates to the vital role it provides to society. The purpose of education is to help society to improve and to maintain opportunities with an equitable and inclusive focus.

BALLET

Heather Harris was born in Seattle, Washington and began her training at the Cornish School of the Arts. She furthered her studies at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York. She has studied with Joffrey, Complexions and Spectrum Dance Theater. Heather has performed with the Joffrey Concert Group, Ballet El Paso, Aluja Brazilian Dance and Spectrum Dance Theater. She currently teaches in the Spectrum Dance Theater School under the direction of Donald Byrd. She is the proud mother of two daughters and continues to teach and do dance outreach at several Seattle schools. This is Heather's 4th year as the AileyCamp ballet instructor.

JAZZ

Nia-Amina Minor is a movement-based artist and dance educator from South Central Los Angeles. She began dancing at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and received her BA from Stanford University. Nia-Amina holds her MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine. Her work has many disciplinary points of interest focusing on the body in social, political, and digital contexts. Using dance and film, Nia-Aminaconverses with black realities and investigates the intersections of physical movement, memory, and rhythm. As an arts educa- tor she focuses on empowering students to find their capacity to express themselves through improvisation and choreography. Nia-Amina has taught Jazz and Hip Hop at Saddleback College and Cypress College and is a former arts administrator with San Francisco Ballet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre. She is also a co-founder of No)one Art House, a multi-disciplinary collective that creates artistic experiences throughout Los Angeles under the guiding philosophy: “Not the Efforts of One.” Nia-Amina is currently in her third season with Spectrum Dance Theater under the direction of Donald Byrd, where she holds the position of Company Dancer as well as Community Engagement Artist Liaison.

MODERN

Youthen Joseph (Brooklyn, NY) a Teaching Artist for the Alvin Ailey Arts In Education and Community Pro- grams and STG AileyCamp, received his training in dance as a scholarship recipient at The Ailey School. He has also studied dance at Alonzo King Lines Ballet, The Martha Graham School training programs, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theater summer intensive. Youthen has performed with the Graham Ensemble, Renegade Performance Group, Dance Africa, and TU Dance. He has also taught for AileyCamp, USDAN Center for the Performing Arts, Eglevsky Ballet, and The School at TU Dance. Youthen has performed domestically as well as internationally in Europe, and has studied under Graziela Kozak, and Freddie Moore. Youthen is also a Licensed Massage Therapist, and holds a degree in Massage Therapy from The Swedish Institute.

WEST AFRICAN

Awal Alhassan is a master dancer and musician from West Africa. Born in Tamale, Ghana and raised by a traditional drumming and dancing family, Awal has worked throughout Africa both independently, and with some of Ghana's most revered performance groups, such as: the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the National Theatre of Ghana, and the Center for National Culture Dance Troupe. Awal specializes in several percussive instruments, including Djembe, the Kpanlogo drum, the "talking drum" called Luna, and bass drums called GunGon. He began studying the music and dance of his native Ghana, West Africa at the age of five. His primary music education was with with Center for National Culture of Ghana and the National Theatre of Ghana. He now resides in the Seattle and is the founder of Sohoyini Music & Dance Company, which performs locally and internationally. Awal teaches ongoing classes, workshops, and residencies regularly across Europe, Canada, and the United States. This is Awal's 4th year teaching at AileyCamp.

PERCUSSION INSTRUCTOR

Mashud Neindow - Born in Tamale, Ghana, Mashud arrived in the United States through the Homowo African Arts and Culture from Accra. A drummer since the age of six, Neindow was a member of the National Dance Company of Ghana for 13 years. He started building drums at the age of ten, learning from his father and continues this tradition today when he is not performing. He has toured all over the world. Highlights include Africa Contemporary Festival in Nigeria, Expo 2000 in Germany, the 1996 US Olympic Games, and the Harare International Festival in Zimbabwe as well as performances for President Bill Clinton, Dr. Maya Angelou and The Queen of England. Neindow now resides in Portland, Oregon with his wife and children, where he continues his family tradition of Lunga (Talking Drum) drumming music. This is Mashud's 4th year teaching at AileyCamp.

PIANIST

Art Koshi is a pianist with over 20 years of experience accompanying ballet and modern dance classes. Born in Taiwan and raised in Honolulu, Art now works as an accompanist at Cornish College of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Seattle Theatre Group's Dance for Parkinson's, All That Dance and Jet City Improv. Before moving to Seattle, he played for the University of Hawaii, Ballet Hawaii, and North Shore Modern Dance. He has performed in improvisational theater festivals such as Honolulu’s Improvaganza, Austin’s Out of Bounds Festival, the Phoenix Improv Festival, the Chicago Improv Festival, and the Seattle Improv Festival. Art is excited to play for his 4th year at AileyCamp.


MEET OUR GROUP LEADERS

Samantha Faletogo just finished her third year at Central Washington University. She is majoring in sociology and minoring in safety and health management. But dancing has always been a passion of hers! A passion that began at the age of seven, dancing for family events. Upon entering high school, she danced for a Polynesian group called NIU Roots. While being a part of NIU Roots, Samantha and her group were proud to be able to help inspire the Samoan Arts and Academic Competition. Which turned into an annual competition for other Pacific Islander kids to showcase their culture. She has also performed in other events such as More Music at the Moore and Global Party in Seattle. In addition, Samantha had the privilege of working with Sheila E for More Music at the Moore – an experience she will never forget. And now, she is looking forward to supporting AileyCamp students experience the fun and opportunities she had from dancing!

Sydnii Hodge started dancing when she was 4 years old and has maintained a love of the arts ever since. In her youth she participated in the productions of MAAFA put on by the Sankofa Theater and Macbeth put on by the UW Actors Group. She has been working with kids younger than her since she was in high school; mentoring middle school students to do better in school and extra curricular activities. All while staying active in the arts by participating in Honor Choir as well as school plays. After graduating she worked in the educational field as an after school program assistant through Puget Sound Educational Service District. She has found her passion being a camp counselor and helping to inspire a love of dance and the arts in our youth. She is excited to rejoin the AileyCamp team for a second year and make 2019's summer wonderful and exciting!

Adriana Hernandez - Born in Southern California Adriana grew up in Tijuana, Mexico. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornish College of the Arts with a BFA in Dance in 2013. She has worked with Maya Soto/ Nico Tower, Iyun Ashani Harrison, Mary Sheldon Scott, Anna Conner, Lauren Linder, Alyza DelPan-Monley, Alicia Mullikin, and other artists in Seattle, San Diego, and Mexico.Her choreographic work has been present- ed through On the Boards NorthWest New Works 2015, Velocity Dance Center's Bridge Project 2015, Cornish College of the Arts and Southwestern Community College where she also received the Outstanding Dancer/ Choreographer Scholarship as well as around Seattle. Adriana works as a Teaching Artist for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Community Education Programs where she teaches creative movement in public schools. She research- es and experiments with movement through choreography and teaching creative movement.

Fausto Rivera is a Chicano dance artist from the Pacific Northwest. He graduated with a BA in Dance and a minor in Anthropology from the University of Washington, where he was awarded the Evelyn H. Green Endowed Scholarship for artistic merit and promise. He grew up training in Mexican Folk Dance, and trained in ballet and modern dance in college. While at the UW, he danced with the Chamber Dance Company, performing work by Lar Lubovitch, Danny Shapiro/Joanie Smith, Bill T. Jones, and Doug Varone. He is a founding member of Seattle’s Au Collective, a collective of dance artists highlighting the work of artists from marginalized communities. Fausto is in his fifth season at Spectrum Dance Theater as a company artist, and has just taken on the role of Community Engagement Artist Liaison. He teaches workshops on how dance and social/racial equity can intersect and positively impact our world.

Moeifaga “Lorna” Sailiai is an original member of the dance group NIU Roots. NIU Roots consisted of middle and high school Polynesian students from both Seattle and Highline school districts who performed cultural dances from the islands of Samoa and Tonga.Lorna participated in several events sponsored by STG such as performing in More Music at the Moore and Dance This for 2 consecutive years and had the honor of being on stage with the legendary Sheila E.As a new group leader, Lorna is excited and eager to be working with and learning from the other AileyCamp staff, and inspiring and empowering the youth who will be attending AileyCamp this year!

Contact Us

For more information, please contact:
Shawn Roberts, Director of Seattle Theatre Group® AileyCamp
206.518.5232 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.