A look at the youth programs offered by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater that provide inroads for young men who wish to dance. Dancer Solomon Dumas shares his experience with AileyCamp at the age of 13 and how it inspired him to pursue a dance career.

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♪ ON TONIGHT'S PROGRAM, WE CELEBRATE THE ALVIN AILEY EDUCATION MISSION, FOUNDED MORE THAN 60 YEARS AGO BY THE LEGENDARY DANCER AND CHOREOGRAPHY ALVIN AILEY, THEY OFFER THE UNIQUENESS OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN CULTURE AND IS DEDICATED TO THE PRESERVATION AND ENRICHMENT OF AMERICAN MODERN DAMAGES.

SINCE ITS EARLIEST DAYS, THE COMPANY PROVIDED A SCHOOL WHERE STUDENTS CAN DEVELOP INTO THE BEST DANCERS THEY COULD BE.

THROUGH SPECIAL PROGRAMS BOUNDING BOARDS AND AILEY ATHLETIC BOYS, IT NURTURES YOUNG MEN WHO ARE UNCERTAIN OF THEIR PATH.

BUT IT ALSO PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH ARTS AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS LIKE SUMMER AILEY CAMPS FOR ALL YOUNG PEOPLE TO LEARN AND ENJOY DANCE.

> EDUCATION REALLY FITS INTO THE BROADER MISSION OF THE OMNI AMERICAN DANCE THEATER.

THE COMPANY WAS FOUNDED IN 1958 BY ALVIN AILEY.

HE WAS TRYING TO SPEAK TO THE NEEDS CERTAINLY OF OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR TO BE SEEN ON THE CONCERT DANCE STAGE.

SO IT WAS MISSION DRIVEN FROM THE BEGINNING, THAT IT WASN'T JUST ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT, THAT IT WAS ABOUT EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF BLACK PEOPLE TO THIS COUNTRY.

HE WANTED TO HAVE AN AILEY SCHOOL, BECAUSE HE WANTED TO GIVE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO HAVE ACCESS TO THIS ART FORM.

BUT WHEN I THINK OF A MALE DANCER, THERE IS STILL A CERTAIN STIGMA ATTACHED TO BEING A BOY DANCER AND SO, THAT'S WHY SOME OF OUR PROGRAMS LIKE AILEY ATHLETIC BOYS, FOUNDING BOYS, AILEY CAMP REALLY TRIED TO GIVE THAT INROAD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE AND CERTAINLY FOR YOUNG MEN WHO WANT TO DANCE.

THE AILEY ATHLETIC BOYS PROGRAM IS A PROGRAM DESIGNED TO TRAIN YOUNG MEN IN THE TECHNIQUES THAT WE OFFER HERE AT THE AILEY SCHOOL THE PROGRAM WAS CREATED FOR BOYS TO OVERCOME THE OBSTACLE OF BEING OSTRACIZED OR CHALLENGED WITH ALL OF THIS IS FOR GIRLS, TO REALLY CREATE A SAFE PLACE THAT WOULD ALLOW THEM TO BE FREE AND FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

AILEY ATHLETIC BOYS DANCE PROGRAM, BECAUSE WE WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ARE AN ATHLETE.

AS MUCH AS PEOPLE DON'T SEE DANCERS AS ATHLETES, THEY ARE SUPERIOR ATHLETES.

AILEY CAMP IS A SUMMER DAY PROGRAM FOR AT-RISK YOUTH, WHO ARE UNDER SERVED, I LIKE TO SAY IT THAT WAY.

IT WAS ONE OF THE LAST PROGRAMS THAT ALVIN AILEY IMPLEMENTED BEFORE HE DIED IN 1989 AND WHAT IT REALLY DOES IS GIVE THESE YOUNG PEOPLE A VOICE.

YOU KNOW, SOME OF THEM ARE COMING FROM SITUATIONS THAT THEY SHOULDN'T EVEN BE DEALING WITH AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE AND SO THEY HAVE THESE AFORMATIONS THAT THEY DO.

THEY HAVE DRUMMING, ESPECIALLY FOR THE BOYS, WHO ARE INTO LIKE THE DRUMMING A LOT.

THEY GET TO LEARN DIFFERENT REPERTOIRE.

THEY GET TO SHOW THAT CREATIVE PART OF THEMSELVES THAT GIVE THEM REALLY, TRULY, A VOICE, A SENSE OF OWNERSHIP.

I ATTENDED AILEY CAMP IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS IN 2001 AT THE AGE OF 13.

MY MOTHER FORCED ME TO ATTEND THE CAMP AND AT THE CAMP, I LEARNED ABOUT MR. AILEY'S HISTORY, THE WORKS HE CHOREOGRAPHED AND WE LEARNED DISCIPLINE.

LEARNING ABOUT MR. AILEY'S HISTORY, KNOWING THAT HE WAS RAISED BY A SINGLE MOM.

HE WAS INTRODUCED TO DANCE LATER IN LIFE IN HIGH SCHOOL, LEARNING HOW HE CELEBRATED HIS OWN HISTORY, HIS OWN EXPERIENCES THROUGH DANCE REALLY LEFT AN IMPACT.

I NEVER SEEN ART CREATED IN THE GENRE OF DANCE THAT WAS DEDICATED TO THE HISTORY OF BLACK AMERICANS AND BLACK LIFE AND BLACK EXPERIENCES.

IT MADE ME PROUD AFTER SEEING IT, IT MADE ME PROUD TO BE WHO I AM.

HE SAW HIMSELF AS AN ARTIST AND HE EMBRACED THAT.

HE EMBRACEED THAT LOVE FOR ART AT A YOUNG AGE.

IT GAVE ME PERMISSION TO EXPLORE THAT WITHIN MYSELF.

I NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS PRIOR TO AILEY CAMP THOUGHT I WOULD HAVE HAD THE COURAGE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

AND IT REALLY GAVE ME THE COURAGE TO STEP OUT AND LEARN, EDUCATE MYSELF, PUSH MYSELF, IMMERSE MYSELF.

THE WORK THAT WE DO AS A DANCER IN ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER TAKES A DEDICATION AND A FOCUS AND A DISCIPLINE THAT IS REQUIRED AT ALL TIME.

I WAS INTRODUCED TO THAT DISCIPLINE AT AILEY CAMP.

AILEY CAMP WAS THE CATALYST THAT CHANGED IT ALL FOR ME.

> WE DO UNDERSTAND THAT IF THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE A DANCER, THAT'S OKAY.

THEY'RE GOING TO GET MORE FROM THIS THAT WILL LAST THEM IN THE LONG RUN BESIDES JUST THE DISCIPLINE.

IT'S THE FOCUS, THAT ENGAGEMENT THAT THEY WILL UNDERSTAND THAT WILL TAKE THEM WELL BEYOND DANCE, ANYTHING THEY DO.

THE OUTREACH ASPECT OF THE ORGANIZATION THAT MR. AILEY WAS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT INTRODUCES UNDER SERVED, UNDER PRIVILEGED CHILDREN TO THE HEALING AND DISCIPLINE AND THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING CHANGED THROUGH THE ARTS, THROUGH ARTS EDUCATION.

IT'S SOMETHING THAT WE ALL NEED, AND I DON'T WANT TO SOUND CORNY, BUT THE ARTS ARE HEALING.

THE ARTS ARE HEALING IN MORE WAYS THAN I CAN EVEN COUNT.

IN RETROSPEC, I CAN LOOK BACK AND I CAN UNDERSTAND THAT IT REALLY SAVED MY LIFE IN WAYS THAT I DON'T EVEN WANT TO IMAGINE MY LIFE WITHOUT.

WHAT ALVIN AILEY SAID IS WHAT HE IS REALLY TRYING TO DO IS HOLD UP A MIRROR TO SOCIETY SO PEOPLE CAN SEE HOW BEAUTIFUL THEY ARE.

THAT'S AT THE CORE I THINK OF WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO DO.

THAT WE'RE DOING A SERVICE TO ALVIN AILEY'S LEGACY.

I CAN SEE HIM SMILING.

HE LOVED YOUNG PEOPLE, BECAUSE I THINK HE KNEW WHAT IT FELT TO BE LEFT OUT AS A YOUNG PERSON.

THAT WAS THE REASON THAT HIS ARMS WERE OPENED SO WIDE, ESPECIALLY TO INCLUDE THE YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE UNDER SERVED COMMUNITIES.