DETROIT (WXYZ) - Look out Broadway, fifty-nine talented students with a dream to dance take to the stage at Detroit's famed opera house.
They're all taking part in the Dance Theatre of Harlem's three week summer intensive. They've attended class – ballet, Modern and African, 9 to 5 Monday through Friday and 10 to 2 on Saturday.
“It's so exciting and I've never danced this long in my whole entire life, but I'm hanging in there and it's just been an amazing experience,” says Daji, one of the program’s attendees.
They've also learned life lessons and about their health.
“You have to take care of yourself and make sure that you eat healthy foods and that you always, like … there’s a 5 hour rule that you have to follow if you dance a lot you have to eat every 5 hours,” says another attendee named Anthony.
The majority of these kids are from right here in Michigan and had to go through an audition before they were hand selected to participate. But some had to come from as far away as California, New York, even Miami and stayed in the dorms at Wayne State.
“We auditioned here, nervous but when I got in there it was some of the things that my teacher usually does, so I was familiar with it so I caught on with it pretty fast so I think I did pretty good,” says Daji.
The girls and guys are separated into three class levels - signified by the color of their leotard: amethyst, bronze and onyx for the highest level.
Little Anthony is from Lake Orion and at 9-years-old don't tell him he can't dance.
“I thought it was, like, a girl thing until I saw this boy on America's Got Talent and he said to dance. I thought that was pretty interesting so that's why I started to dance,” he says.
This is the first time the Dance Theatre of Harlem has come here to Detroit for a summer intensive.
“We felt like it was time to branch out there is a summer program in New York but not everybody has access to go to New York,” says Program Director Kareen Camargo.
The Dance Theatre of Harlem was founded by Arthur Mitchel, famous for his own dance ability and choreography. He wanted to launch a black ballet company because African Americans were once told their bodies were not shaped for ballet. That's why Dance Theatre of Harlem has done outreach at local Detroit schools.
“That was often the first time that a lot of students had seen ballet, so Dance Theatre of Harlem is about providing access to ballet to everyone,” says Camargo.
Today the Dance Theatre of Harlem performs all over the world and these kids have dreams and aspirations of one day doing the same.
“When I get older I want to go to New York and I want to dance with them. Then after that I hope it takes me on to different people asking me to dance everywhere,” says Daji.
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