Dare to Go Beyond (D2GB) Children’s Performing Arts Camp, an initiative of R.Evolución Latina, successfully ended its run on Friday August 2nd. More than 200 kids, ages 7-17, gathered at the headquarters of Pearl Studio to share their experiences, learn to dance, sing and narrate their stories in creative ways and with a fascinating focus: Cultural Exchange. During the five-day camp participants took classes with some of the most experienced actors, dancers, and choreographers working on Broadway today.
“It always amazes me to witness kids that are shy and self-conscious the first day to step out of their comfort zone to share who they are while they embrace the cultures and views of the other campers, volunteers and teachers so openly and free”, were the happy words of Luis Salgado, Founder and Artistic Director of R.Evolución Latina.
Broadening the cultural exchange, R.Evolución Latina invited 8 children from Cali, Colombia to mingle with kids from New York City, Peru, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic to embody the motto “Dare to Go Beyond” and to make a transformation in their communities. There were also 35 artists who donated their time to teach the campers a wide range of dances including hip-hop, salsa, jazz, bomba and plena (from Puerto Rico), the Afro-Peruvian dance festejo and Mexico’s son jarocho; to show how fun is to read Shakespeare and poetry; to communicate through arts who they are and where they come from.
“I love the camp because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet with kids from so many different countries and learn dances such as the Afro-Peruvian if I’d stayed in my city. I made many friends even though I don’t speak English, but we understand each other”, said Mariana Herrera, a 9-year-old girl from Cali, Colombia.
“I came to the camp because of my mom. I didn’t want to but now I want to come back every year, as camper or volunteer. I learned to dance and sing and I was very happy learning other cultures”, said Keanu, a 10-year-old New Yorker of Peruvian background.
Campers came from schools, community organizations and as individuals from underserved communities from the five boroughs and other parts of the U.S. There were also volunteers traveling from around the country and internationally from Cali, Colombia, and Lima, Peru to serve and empower campers during this exciting week.
“Our goal during the last six years has been to develop skills in leadership, teamwork, self-awareness, while we promote health, environmental awareness, and civic engagement. This year with our Cultural Exchange motto we were able to share, learn and come to respect and admire each other’s culture and traditions”, added Mr. Salgado.
This year’s volunteer teaching artists included: Alexander Hernández (Peter and the Starcatcher); Anika Larsen (Avenue Q, Rent); Antuan Raimone (In The Heights); Carlos González (Fuerza Bruta); Chris Harbur (The Descending); Christophe Caballero (A Christmas Carol); Christina Black (In The Heights – 1st National Tour); Derric Harris (A Free Man Of Color); Dionne Figgins (Motown, Memphis); Doreen Montalvo (Giant, In The Heights); Ian Hersey (The Public Theater); Elasea Douglas (FELA), Grisel Pren (Zapata); James Harkness (CHICAGO); Jerome Harmann-Hardeman (Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Swing!); José Ortiz aka Dr. Drum (Founder of BombaYo); Kat Sherrell (Bring it On, In The Heights); José Restrepo (Peter and the Starcatcher); Luis Salgado (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, In The Heights, Candela); Madison Embrey (Miss Southern New York 2013-Miss America Organization); Marcos Santana (Rocky, The Musical; In The Heights); Michael Fielder (In the Heights); Nate Lombardi (The Groovey Project); Reza Salazar (See Girl Run, Law and Order); Rebecca Larkin (South Pacific at Lincoln Center); Rickey Tripp (Fly, SMASH, In The Heights); Thayne Jasperson (Matilda, Newsies); Valeria Cossu (DC7- The Roberto Clemente Story); Wilson Torres (In The Heights, Lysistrata Jones).
The D2GB Children’s Performing Arts Camp was possible through the generosity of the Herman Goldman Foundation. 2013 camp supporters Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Pearl Studios, Tezoro Productions, NYC Department of Education, Four Seasons Produce, La Pulpería, Growth NYC, BWS students and RL’s team of volunteers.