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This summer, three students from The DREAM School, Ja’Kyah Vaughns, Najah Fabio and Clara Nunez,  participated in The Kennedy Center Dance Lab, a two-week long intensive artistically led by Hope Boykin. All three students were awarded full tuition scholarships. Each day, they took technique classes with Khamla Somphanh, Akua Noni Parker and Renee Robinson in ballet, modern and floor barre and were facilitated through developing their own creative process. The lab culminated in a visual showcase where students had the opportunity to present their self-produced work, which sparked a new interest for the students in video recording, editing and using the camera to inspire new forms of artistic expression.

Our students reflected on their experience with a deep sense of gratitude and enthusiasm. They felt pushed out of their comfort zone and spiritually uplifted in the company of so many amazing young artists and professional dancers. The conversations with Alicia Graf Mack, (Director of Dance, The Juilliard School), Jacqueline Green (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater) and Misty Copeland (ABT) stood out as life-defining moments for them and affirmed their own stories and individual capabilities.

We would like to especially thank The Kennedy Center for continuing to inspire and educate students from all communities and Hope Boykin for her creative vision to transform this amazing program into an at-home experience. It is through this communal vision and collaboration that we will be able to lead our students into a new artistic day.