Meet Atlanta Ballet's AileyCamp Leader Kameron Davis


June 07, 2019

Meet Atlanta Ballet's AileyCamp Leader Kameron Davis

Atlanta Ballet's AileyCamp leader Kameron Davis. Photo by Tia Davis.

It is 7:42am at Martha E. Stilwell School of the Arts. As the head custodian unlocks each classroom occupied by Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp, the building remains empty with the exception of one group leader, who starts his day with a morning stretch inside of one of the dance studios. He then quickly revisits choreography for the Level Up Warm Up Dance, before the campers arrive. Like most of the group leaders at Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp, Kameron Davis, 23, was once an AileyCamper prior to Atlanta Ballet’s partnership with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2014. From 2009-2011, he spent the summers of his sixth, seventh, and eighth grade years reciting the 10 morning affirmations, working hard in his ballet and West African dance classes with Roscoe Sales and Sis. Omelika Kuumba, and exploring creative writing and the visual arts in Creative Communication class.

However, unlike most of the nearly 100 campers that Atlanta Ballet’s AileyCamp serves each year, AileyCamp was not his first introduction to formal dance training or Atlanta Ballet. A very young Davis began his journey with Atlanta Ballet in 2008, after auditioning for a role in big and ultimately danced alongside Antwan “Big Boi” Patton in the role of Little Big. Davis’ stage presence during the production of big caught the attention of Sharon Story, the dean of the Centre for Dance Education (CDE), who offered him a full-tuition scholarship to study at the Centre. From there, Kameron enrolled in Level BI, moved on to Level BII and was casted in both The Nutcracker and Jean Christophe Maillot’s Romēo et Juliette. Kameron notes that as a CDE student his classes helped him, “build on my self-discipline, focus, admission, and gave me personal freedom as an outlet to express myself.” He credits the Centre for Dance Education and AileyCamp for opening doors and so many opportunities to experience things other than what he was accustomed to in his East Atlanta neighborhood. “The exposure to different dance genres and different people brought me overall joy,” says Davis.

Kameron Davis with Big Boi in Atlanta Ballet's "big." Photo by Charlie McCullers.

When the Ballet transitioned from its original location downtown to the Michael C. Carlos Dance Centre, Davis did not move on to Level BIII as planned. Although he still wishes that he would have continued his dance education with CDE, the relocation of the studio he grew to love did not keep him away from being involved with Atlanta Ballet in some capacity. In addition to the four years under his belt as a group leader, Davis joined the Community Engagement staff for the Centre for Dance Education’s after-school program. In 2018, he became a dance instructor at The Ron Clark Academy, where he taught jazz during the school year for an hour once a week.

As Davis prepares to walk his group to their final class for the day, he reflects on the overall impact the CDE and its Community Engagement program has had on his life and how everything has come full circle for him at the Atlanta Ballet. “To sum it up, I would say it was a blessing.”