• Dancers on stage


AileyCamp 2023

Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp is a joyful and rigorous six-week program free to selected youth ages 11–14. This summer, camp runs from June 20–July 28, 2023, 8:30am–3:30pm daily.

The application period for AileyCamp 2023 has closed. To apply for AileyCamp 2024, check this site in late January 2024. 

AileyCamp’s talented staff and teaching artists are excited to offer campers classes in African dance, Ballet, Jazz, Modern Dance, Creative Communication, and Personal Development, as well as a variety of field trips, guest workshops, and special events. Camp culminates in a performance that showcases campers’ accomplishments before an audience of hundreds in Zellerbach Hall.

AileyCamp provides a supportive community where young people can connect meaningfully with each other and with caring adults, express themselves creatively, and experience the transformative power of dance. 

“When I go to my new school I’m going to use one of the (AileyCamp) affirmations, ‘I will not use the word can’t to define my possibilities,’ because I’ve gained more confidence dancing with my peers in camp.” – 2022 AileyCamper

Please contact us at aileycamp@calperformances.org, or 510.642.4630 for more information.

Important Dates

Tue, June 20 – First Day of AileyCamp
Tue, July 4 – Closed (in observance of Independence Day)
Thu, July 27, 7pm – Camp Performance (free)

Program Book

Fri, July 28 – End of Camp Ceremony & Celebration

About Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp

Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp is a full scholarship summer program that has transformed the lives of over 1,200 young people from the East Bay and beyond since its first camp in 2002. 

This nationally acclaimed summer program uses the power of dance to support 11–14 year-olds in developing self-esteem, creative expression, and critical thinking skills. Conceived by Alvin Ailey in 1989, and run locally by Cal Performances, Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp combines professional-level dance training with personal development activities. Around 60 campers are chosen from each year’s pool of applicants, enrollment does not require prior dance experience. 

The program’s dedicated staff, instructors, and group leaders provide role models and mentorship, impacting campers’ lives, and by extension, their families and communities, as they move into their high school years and beyond. 

The Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp Experience

AileyCampers receive daily training from experienced teaching artists in four major dance forms (Modern, Ballet, Jazz, and African dance), explore creative writing and the visual arts in Creative Communications classes, and enhance their social and emotional development through the Personal Development course. A cornerstone of the AileyCamp program, Personal Development promotes life skills such as goal-setting, nutrition, conflict management, media literacy, positive self-image, leadership development, and more. Stimulating field trips and guest artist workshops round out the campers’ week.

Held on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp encourages campers to feel that they belong on campus and to envision their own potential college experience. Campers have breakfast and lunch in a university dining hall, participate in a campus scavenger hunt, and perform in a professionally presented final showcase on the Zellerbach Auditorium Stage with full technical and design support, offered free to supportive audiences made up of family and friends. 

AileyCamp 2023 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Parents/Guardians Please Note:

AileyCamp 2023 will take place from Tuesday, June 20 through Friday, July 28, 2023 onsite at Hearst Gymnasium and Zellerbach Hall on the UC Berkeley campus.

In order for us to consider your child’s application they MUST:

  • Submit their application by the due date: FRIDAY, MARCH 17, 2023
  • Attend an online interview session to be scheduled in late March or early April. You will receive advance notice of the date. The applicant’s interview is in lieu of an audition as applicants do not need to have any dance training to apply. 
  • Attend the mandatory parent/guardian/camper orientation on Wednesday, May 10, 2023 if your child is selected or on the waiting list. 
  • NOT APPLY if they have scheduling conflicts, for example, sports practices, games, other performance commitments between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., or you have vacation plans between Tuesday, June 20 and Friday, July 28, 2023
  • Applicants will be notified no later than Friday, April 21, 2023 of their application status. 

Please remember that just as with any sports team, dance company, theater company, job, school or camp, Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp has limited space and for a variety of reasons everyone who applies may not be enrolled into AileyCamp. Students who are not enrolled this year are encouraged to apply again next year.

AileyCamp 2023 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A joyful, rigorous, and fast-paced summer day camp where youths are immersed in dance, and come to respect the discipline of dance as a physical activity that requires athletic ability comparable to skills demanded by any sport. Campers also increase their leadership skills and enjoy a variety of athletic and social activities.

The camp was inspired by the work of legendary dancer and choreographer, Alvin Ailey, who founded his own New York-based dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. When Kansas City, Missouri was selected as the second home for the company in 1984, plans for AileyCamp began. Kansas City, Missouri held the first AileyCamp in the summer of 1989.

64 students (ages 11–14) attending schools in the Berkeley, Oakland, and Richmond area school districts will be selected from the applications received. Prior dance training is not a consideration for admission.

AileyCamp will begin on Tuesday, June 20, 2023 and end on Friday, July 28, 2023. Camp begins at 8:30a.m., and ends at 3:30p.m., Monday through Friday. These are six action-packed weeks! Campers are expected to attend each day unless they are ill. Please do not apply if you cannot commit to attending during the above mentioned dates or times. If you have any vacation plans during this time DO NOT APPLY.

AileyCamp is entirely tuition-free for all participants. Instruction, dance attire, field trips, and meals (breakfast and lunch) are provided. Transportation is provided to Oakland students; Berkeley and Richmond students must provide their own transportation to and from camp. 

AileyCamp will be held at Hearst Gymnasium and Zellerbach Hall on the University of California, Berkeley campus, Telegraph and Bancroft avenues.

AileyCamp is co-sponsored by Cal Performances in association with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation that sponsors the activities of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, and the Ailey School.

Oakland students may take the AileyCamp bus. Morning pick-up and afternoon drop-off  locations include:

  • Elmhurst Middle School, 1800 98th Ave, Oakland, CA 94603
  • West Oakland Middle School, 991 14th St, Oakland, CA 94607
  • United for Success Academy, 2101 35th Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

Several AC Transit bus routes include stops at UC Berkeley, and Downtown Berkeley BART is close to campus.

Campers participate in daily classes in a variety of dance techniques (ballet, jazz, African, modern), as well as creative writing and personal development (including peer discussion groups). Weekly field trips, guest artist workshops, and other special events round out campers’ experience. A finale performance is held at the end of camp for family, friends, and supporters.

All campers will receive appropriate dancewear, ballet shoes, shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and masks. 

All AileyCamp attire will be provided free of charge.

Male and female dancers and instructors, former Ailey Company or Ailey-trained artists, from New York and the Bay Area, and other professionals dedicated to making AileyCamp a great experience.

The application period for AileyCamp 2023 has closed.

To apply for AileyCamp 2024, check the AileyCamp webpage in January 2024. If you have questions or would like more information, email us at aileycamp@cpsma.berkeley.edu or call 510.642.4630. 

Email: aileycamp@cpsma.berkeley.edu 

Phone: 510.642.4630 

Attention: Patricia West, AileyCamp Director

Berkeley/Oakland AILEYCAMP at Cal Performances
101 Zellerbach Hall #4800
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-4800

Monday, March 17, 2023

Applicants will be notified by email no later than Friday, April 21, 2023.

7:00p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023
Zellerbach Hall

March 17, 2023 : Application Deadline
April 7, 2023 : Interview Period Closes
April 21, 2023 : Date by which Applicants receive notification of AileyCamp Status as:

  • Participant 
  • Alternate Waiting List 
  • Not Selected for 2022 

(Please do not call or email about your status unless you have not heard from us by 5:00 p.m. April 21, 2023.)

May 10, 2023 : Mandatory Parent/Guardian/Camper Orientation Meeting
June 20, 2023 : First day of Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp
July 27, 2023 : Finale Performance
July 28, 2023 : Last Day of AileyCamp/End of Camp Celebration

2023 Final Performance

At the end of their six weeks in this life-changing program, the campers will demonstrate their new skills in a final dance performance. Complete with professional staging, lights, costumes, and live music, the showcase performance takes place on Thursday, July 27 at 7pm at Zellerbach Hall.

Watch the 2022 performance video: https://youtu.be/p8Eh3hpT-OI

Support AileyCamp!

AileyCamp is one of our most well-known and respected education programs and—thanks to the generosity of our donors—is operated on a full-scholarship basis for all campers. For many participants, AileyCamp represents their first opportunity to attend a summer camp, to receive rigorous, immersive training from professional artists, and to spend time on a college campus.

Please consider making a gift today to ensure that AileyCamp will continue to provide even more young people with opportunities for personal discovery and growth through the power, beauty, and joy of dance. 

Donate Now

To learn more about financially supporting Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp, please contact donate@calperformances.org or call the Donor Information Line at 510.642.8653

AileyCamp is made possible in part with generous support from the Walter & Elise Haas Fund, the California Arts Council, the Fremont Group Foundation, the Quest Foundation, the Sato Foundation, and individual donors.

Meet our Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp Staff

Patricia West, AileyCamp Director
Patricia West is an educator and performing artist, born in the Bay Area. She aims to create and support spaces that foster self-expression and collaboration. She earned a Bachelor in Arts in English, Education and Dance from U.C. Berkeley and a Master in Arts in Education from San Jose State University. Since 2001, West has had the honor to work as an academic teacher in both public and private schools, from kindergarten to middle school. She has also taught dance to all age and skill levels, from preschoolers to adults. Most recently, West has founded and directed dance programs and served as a middle school advisor/teacher.  West has had the honor of working and performing both nationally and internationally with The Alayo Dance Company, Zaccho Dance Theater, Fog Beast, as well as many others. Since 2006, West has been a company member and Creative Engagement Lead with the San Francisco-based dance theater organization, the Joe Goode Performance Group. West co-founded DAP, a performing arts collective, in 2017. Connect with Patricia West via email at: pwest@berkeley.edu.

Spencer Pulu (SPULU), AileyCamp Associate Director
SPULU is a creative mover, storyteller, dance maker, fashion designer, and performing artist from Chochenyo, Ohlone land (Oakland, California). SPULU is also a former Ailey camper (2005). Years after their experience as a camper, SPULU also served as a volunteer, group leader, group leader supervisor, and now joins AileyCamp as its new Associate Director. Their artistic work has been showcased all over the world in response to the social issues facing Pacific Islanders worldwide, specifically the Tongan community. SPULU uses arts and movement as a form of resistance and protest. His recent work was featured in the 2020 Oakland’s Black Joy Parade, Levi’s Pride 2019 International campaign, they also co-created a NIKE shoe “Nike OAK”; which sold out the first few days of launch. SPULU is currently working as a fashion designer from his home studio while serving as a birth advocate with the Pacific Islander Doula Collective (MANA Pasifika) in the San Francisco Bay Area. SPULU is super excited to join the AileyCamp team this year and hopes to foster the same community and connection he’s encountered these past years.


View these videos to learn more about Berkeley/Oakland AileyCamp, past to present.